12.08.20— Legalism!--Matthew 12:10
My friend, may I ask you a question? Have you served in the military? Remember how wonderful it was to go into the office of the company commander?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
I’m M. Clifford Brunner
What is the nature of God? Recently the Barna Group, a Christian polling and marking firm, did a survey. In that survey they asked this question: “What is the nature of God?” Participants were given a number of choices; but the response most often given was that “God is a god of rules.”
Many Christians don’t have much of a different image of God than did their forefathers centuries ago. A millennium ago, most Christians saw God as cruel, unbending, even forbidding. He was a God who could only be approached with great fear and trembling. If they slipped up, even once, there’s would be an unforgiving lot.
Despite the fact that the church today has come through a reformation and an epiphany of grace nearly 500 years ago, many Christians still hold a similar view of God.
Chuck Swindoll writes: “Have you served in the military? Remember how wonderful it was to go into the office of the company commander? I remember doing that one time. He did not say, ‘Oh, Chuck, how nice of you to drop by. Come in, son. Have a seat. what’s on your heart?’ First words I heard that I can repeat here were ‘What do you want?’ Now that’s a wonderful greeting for a guy who’s standing there with his knees knocking against each other. You know what? I couldn’t even remember, which made it worse.
When I was a little boy, I had that feeling about God. I’d got it from a Lil’ Abner cartoon. This little guy is walking around with a club. Had a nail in it, more like a spike. He was lookin’ for people. And when I was a little kid I used to think, ‘That’s God! Just lookin’ for folks and saying, ‘There he is!’ Then whomp.” (Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations& Quotes, pg. 233)
Is that your picture of God? If it is, it’s one that should be abandoned. God is not a god of rules and retribution. God is a god of people and grace. He has given us rules to follow not because He is just waiting for us to screw up just once and, whomp! God’s rules were given out of love because He knew from the beginning that without them, we would be lost and unable to find the right direction in our lives. Because He had mercy on us He gave us His law. Because He is a God of grace, He gave us His Son to fulfill the law because we could not. There is no ‘whomp’ with our God. Our God is all about people, not rules. Yes, we still approach Him out of fear and trembling. But that fear is awe and that trembling is our sorrowful heart waiting to be touched by His amazing grace. There’s no ‘whomp’ with our God; only a loving touch.
We pray. Heavenly Father. We know that Your rules were given out of love because You knew from the beginning that without them, we would be lost and unable to find the right direction in our lives. Out of mercy for us You gave us the law. Because You are a God of grace, You gave us Your Son to fulfill the law because we could not. There is no ‘whomp’ with You You are all about people, not rules. Forgive us when we forget how merciful and full of grace You are. May we still approach You out of fear and trembling. But that fear be awe and that trembling our sorrowful heart waiting to be touched by Your amazing grace. There’s no ‘whomp’ with You God; only a loving touch. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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