Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ok, so this is dangerous but...

I love politics and I love religion. I love studying the two topics and digging into the histories, the "whys" and the "hows". I love finding peoples' motivations. I love discussing the two topics in face to face, civilized conversation. I typically do not love writing about the topics in my blog. It is entirely too easy for people to misconstrue what I say because the blog lacks tone and inflection. It is also much easier for someone to say something hurtful because not having a face in front of you allows greater boldness. That said, I do sometimes tread into these topics. This is one of those weeks. I can't help it. This topic has been on my mind since Saturday and since my blog is mostly for my own therapy...

So, this particular blog entry will be dealing with Christianity. Specifically it will be dealing with the "old law" and how it relates to my faith. If this is offensive to you, please stop reading now. If you plan on commenting about how all Christians are hypocrites and stupid to believe in some man in the sky, please refrain. If you plan to say that I am some kind of hate mongering, whatever "-ist", please don't speak to me anymore. I think that covers it. If you choose to disagree with me and would like to comment on why you disagree, that is great. I will read and respond lovingly and civilly. Just keep it on topic.

Thanks and enjoy.

How the "old law" relates to my faith.

On Sunday morning I taught the high school group at church. For the past several weeks we have been looking at 1 Timothy. This week I was assigned to teach on chapter 1, verse 8-whatever I wanted. I stopped with verse 8, "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly." That was the basis of my lesson. I have always wondered about this--If we are Christians, we are under the new covenant created by Jesus and we are no longer bound by the law. If that is the case, why is it still in the Bible? I did some research online and found a really great lesson outline on this topic. In this outline, the author said that the old law serves as a "mirror of perfection" ( and that its sole purpose in New Testament Christianity is to remind us of how much we fall short. In other words, it is there to go right against the mindset of "I am a good person and God is love anyway." God is love, but he is also perfect and his laws are perfect and unchanging. What changed is the opportunity we have for atonement.

Basically, the old law (as found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are there to remind us that we are nowhere near perfect and thus need a savior. In other words, the law leads us to Christ. A person cannot know they need directions unless they know they are lost. A person cannot desire to escape unless they know they are trapped. You can't ask for a pardon unless you know you are guilty. You can't need a savior until you know you have sin.

This mindset has massive implications in pop culture. One of popular things to do is to use the "absurdity" of the old testament law to justify modern pet sins. The beauty is that we are NOT under that law. It is still perfect and so is God but since Christ fulfilled it, he is sufficient and we are free from it. That said, it still convicts us. It still is the perfect plan that we fall short of, thus the reason we NEED Christ. The next popular thing to do is to present Christianity in an "incomplete" light. So many Christians present Christianity as "a better way to live" and that the Christian life is just plain better. I am here to say that sometimes that is 100% false. Sometimes it is harder. Sometimes it flat out stinks. If we evangelize just based on Christianity being easier or better, we have fallen short and we will lose new Christians. We have to use some of the old tactics. In other words, "here is God's standard of perfection. You fall short (and I do to) because you are a sinner. All sinners go to Hell unless they are forgiven by Christ." In the meantime, I believe that the Christian life may not be easier or more fun, but it is more fulfilling and it does provide comfort in ways that no other "way of life" can. It also gives purpose to events that are otherwise meaningless. AND I have a huge family that loves me because I am me and He is God. That is the power of the old testament law. It completes the purpose of Christianity--better way to live, best way to exit the world.

My point is simple. Christians, do not discredit the old law. It serves a powerful purpose for us NOW. It is God's standard of perfection. It is what convicts us. It does show us just how profoundly lost we are and how much we NEED Christ.

Other verses to check out:
Galatians 3:24-25
Romans 3:20
Romans 7:7
Psalm 19:7

Since I am on the subject anyway, I want to vent another religious pet peeve of mine. It bugs me to no end when people say "don't judge me" because of the way they act. They say this in such a way as to insinuate that God does not want people on Earth to make judgement calls as to what appropriate behavior is. This is so not true. God's command on not judging is for us not to look at someone and say to them that the act they committed is sending them to Hell. He absolutely wants us to use judgement and to judge people. He wants us to warn our fellow humans that the body of acts they commit are contrary to his law. He wants us to recognize sin in ourselves and in others and warn them to repent and to repent ourselves. We cannot make the "final call" so to speak but we sure can, and have been commanded to, tell others that they are sinners and need a savior. That said, there is a tactful and loving way to do this and, though I don't think we are commanded to be tactful about it, it makes sense to approach the subject when we are in a position to do it lovingly. I'm just tired of people putting earthly filters on God's commands.

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