WHAT ABOUT THE COMMAND TO LOVE OTHERS?

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THE X-RAY OF GOD’S LAW

  So many people don’t understand why God gave us his law. Most tend to think he gave it to us so we could keep it but the truth is he gave it to us in order to show us we couldn’t. This may sound strange for those that haven’t been enlightened yet but let me explain.

   The Bible tells us the Law was given not to justify us but to bring us to the knowledge of sin.[1] So the Law is really there to point out sin in our lives not fix it or remove it.

   Upon further investigation we discover in fact the Law was given so sin might increase. What? You’re crazy Louie! Are you telling me God wants us to sin? No. That isn’t exactly what I’m saying, but I am saying the Law makes sin more and more visible in your life. The Bible says, “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase…”[2] You see “Until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”[3] Without the Law we would never know there was sin in our lives.

   The Apostle Paul wrestled with this in quite an amazing fashion in Romans 6-8. He said the Law was what revealed to him that coveting was sin. Of course our first reaction is “The Law is bad then.” Paul concluded the Law wasn’t the problem though in fact the Law is holy and good but it was sin in him that was the problem. So you see the Law was pointing out things in Paul’s life he didn’t want to see; things that he didn’t want to admit to but in the end coming to the knowledge of the problem is essential before it can be fixed.

   Today I went to the doctor to have X-Rays done of my chest. The doctor needed to see if my lung had returned to full capacity after having been partially collapsed. The X-Ray showed my lung to be back to normal and that’s good news but what if it didn’t? What if it showed something I didn’t want to see would it be the X-Rays fault? Of course it wouldn’t. The Law of God works in a similar fashion. We look into the Law and it points out sin in our inner man. It shows us things we may not want to see but the Law or X-Ray is an essential part of the process.

   Just as the X-Ray is meant to direct us to the doctor or treatment to heal us, the Law of God is meant to direct us to Christ. The Law (X-Ray) was never given to heal us, nor can it even do so, but it is meant to show us what’s wrong. Paul put it this way “The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.”[4] Once we see the diagnosis as found in the Law we go to Jesus and he does the healing.  

   I thank God for the X-Ray of his Law because without it we would ignorant of our need for Jesus Christ and without him we are without hope. But with Christ in us he is our hope of glory!  

Written by Louie

  

 


[1] Romans 3:20

[2] Romans 5:20a

[3] Romans 5:13

[4] Galatians 3:24

GOD USES THE LAW TO DRIVE OUT THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT

Most of us have the idea we can do things on our own. Have you ever tried to help a child do something only to have them say to you “I can do it!?” Even though as the adult you could overpower the child and just do it for them; the only way they ever really see they can’t is by letting them try. Some children will try and try while others give in pretty quickly. The funny thing is some of us still behave this way even as we grow older. Jesus told us apart from him we can do nothing, but for some reason we continue to attempt doing things on our own.

The problem God has with man isn’t so much sin as it is our being so hard headed and not wanting to admit the truth. From the time Adam disobeyed in the Garden He’s been working on getting us back to the truth. The truth is we are hopelessly unable to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God. The reason is because we have a spirit of independence living within us and it has to be exposed. The question is how does God get our attention and show us our real problem?

God is so wise in the manner in which he deals with us. Rather than just force his way into our lives He plays along with us, at least for a while. He knows we are powerless without him, but we don’t yet know it. How will he bring this news to our attention?

You see the devil is the one that brought this whole independent spirit into being. He started this whole deception that we can be like God. He somehow has gotten the idea that he can make himself like God and has since infected the whole human race with the same deception. God understands clearly what our problem is so he set out to expose the lie and reveal the truth to us.

When God gave us his commandments the independent spirit within us had us believing we could keep them. God, knowing we can’t, says, okay give it your best shot then. Rather than just scrap the whole human race idea again, he came up with the plan of letting the law do what only it can do. While the law was always meant to reveal sin and lead us to Christ we, in our deceived state, started to believe we could actually obey it. Paul told us in Romans 5 “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase…” It wasn’t given to keep us from sinning but on the contrary it was given so sin would increase. This sounds kind of nutty at first but once God shows you, it will make all the sense in the world.

The Law wasn’t meant to be a list of dos and don’ts, it was given to show us what God is like. It’s as if God said, “You think you can be like me? Okay, here’s what I’m like give it a good try. When you discover you can’t do it you can come to me and receive the provision I offer you in my Son Jesus Christ.” The letter to the Galatians tells us “The Law is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ” rather than something we can do. The truth is it’s a mirror so we might see we can’t.

You see, from God’s perspective we’re not good and bad people, rather we’re dead in our trespasses and sins. God wants to solve our real problem and give us life not just make us better people. The Law can’t make us good people but it can lead us to the one that can give us life. Galatians puts it like this, “If a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

So, just like that little stubborn child, God knew all along we couldn’t meet the requirements, but seeing how hardheaded we were, he devised the perfect plan. Rather than berate us, He essentially said, “Okay, if you think you can do this I’ll tell you what it’s going to take and when you’ve finally gotten tired of trying and failing I’ll be right here waiting for you.” We give this thing called life a good go for a while only to find ourselves in a mess that only God can clean up; so when all our resources have been exhausted we fall at his feet in a pile and cry out “Who will deliver me?” Oh yeah, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Louie

THE WAY OF THE MASTER

Witnessing door to door
Photo by Tracey Lewis

Do you think about life and death? Why are we alive? What is man’s purpose on earth? Are you afraid of dying? Do you think you are a good person? These are the questions I asked the ladies in jail tonight. I used Tammy Strader, a friend of mine, to help me demonstrate what the law is really for and why it was given. The law I am talking about is the Ten Commandments.

We need to understand that Jesus was born under the law to bring us out from under it. Romans 3:19 & 20 says, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” An example I used was a seemingly clear glass of water is displayed for all to see. We all agreed it was drinkable until I used a stick to stir it which caused the unseen dirt that had settled on the bottom to become visible. The glass of course represents what we think we are….a good person. The stick is used to represent the law that stirs up the gunk on the bottom so we could see it. That is the purpose of the law. God gave us his law so we could see the sin he knew was there all along. God is a holy and just God, if He were to judge us on our ability to keep the Ten Commandments, how well would you do?

Have you ever stolen anything; in your whole life? Have you ever told a lie, even if it was just so someone wouldn’t have their feelings hurt? What about lust, have you ever lusted in your heart after a man or women? Jesus said if you look with lust in your heart, you have committed adultery already. One more, have you ever said God’s name in vain? That is called blasphemy. If you’re like me and honestly answered these questions you are a thieving, lying, adulterous, blasphemer at heart. With God using this method of judgment, would you go to heaven or hell?

The Way of the Master bypasses the intellect and goes straight for the conscience. The law was never given to us so that we could obey them or that it could make us righteous. Just as a mirror shows us where we are messed up, but we don’t take the mirror off the wall to fix the mess. Nor does the law fix our messes. The law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Once Christ came we were set free from the law. We always want to make a new rule for everyone to follow. Let’s make a sign and tell everyone to do what the sign says. But what happens to us when we see, “don’t do such and such?” Shoulda, woulda, coulda never fixed anything. The answer is Jesus plus nothing. Just allow Christ to be Christ in you while you rest in Him. There might be a storm raging all around you, but you have rest for your soul because Jesus Christ is keeping you.

I learned a lot tonight, but one thing Tammy said to the ladies that stuck with me is, “God craves a relationship with you. You are so unique and genuine to Him because there are only one you. Nobody else can be you to God with your special ness. He would miss out on you if you are not willing to give your life to Him.” I pray every ear in the room heard with their heart when she said that.

We take going to the jail a very serious matter and are humbled God includes us so that He will continue to be glorified.

Written by Tracey

BE AS GOD–THE BIG LIE

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Turning our eyes on Jesus is the way we are transformed. As we lock our spiritual eyes on him we are changed from glory to glory into the same image. It isn’t by us trying to obey laws, straightening our act up or making resolutions to stop some bad behavior; no it is learning to keep focused on Christ.

What if God designed humans in this manner? What if our whole role is to fix our eyes on Christ and let him do all the changing as he sees fit? My theory is we are made to keep our eyes on Jesus but something distracted us. In the Garden of Eden Adam disobeyed God’s direct command about not eating from the Tree of Knowledge. The Serpent told him “The day you eat of this you will be as God.” When he ate it he immediately saw that he was naked because his eyes left God and went toward himself. I think this is because in his deceived mind he truly thought he was now god of his life. Since us humans were designed to keep our eyes on God and he now thought he was god he started to look at himself. Since he believed the lie his gaze went inward and he became self conscious. He started to be self critical, fearful and probably depressed.

What happens when we are self conscious? We do one of two things. We either start to think too highly of ourselves or we get into condemning ourselves. Either way it is a wrong estimation of ourselves all because we are thinking of ourselves as god. Who wouldn’t either pat themselves on the back or beat themselves up? We are completely self absorbed either good or bad. Wow! What a sneaky little deceptive so and so the enemy is. The devil always wanted to be God. I think he wanted it so bad he was willing to receive worship even if it was second hand. When Adam sinned, the enemy, the “spirit of error” took up residence in man. Man started thinking he could run his own life, but in reality it was the enemy feeding him a bunch of bunk.

The enemies plan only continues to work if we remain deceived. I thank God he refused to leave us in the situation we put ourselves in. He gave us his law. His law wasn’t something we could keep and he knew it. It was given so we might see for ourselves we, in fact, aren’t God. God knew the lie had to be exposed and the only way to do that is with the truth. He essentially told us “You think you can be like me! Go ahead and give it a shot then.” Here are my laws and when you obey all of them perfectly we’ll talk. Of course that never happened and never could, but it is only through repeated trying and failing we come to see this. It is then and only then we will look to Christ again.

The Bible tells us “The Law is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.” Once we are fully convinced of our inability we will take our eyes off of ourselves and return them to their proper place, on Christ. We then discover “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ.” No longer looking at ourselves and whether our performance is good or evil we find the rest, peace, joy, love and etc. that God intended all along. I guess we just had to take the long way around, and truly feel the deep effects of our sin and God’s unmerited favor, before we would ever really start to understand how much God loves us.

Written by Louie