You might think that these three little words have a lot in common with yesterday’s top of Leave Me Alone. Well, they do and they don’t.
Most people hate to have their concentration interrupted. You know, just when you get to the good part of the movie, or you have a break through on something you have been working on, that telephone marketer calls and they ruin everything.
While I have spent a number of posts going over laws and the reasons for such, today’s topic has to do with legalism. Legalism in religion can be a real problem.
Yes, God gave us laws to follow…but far too many people seem to be focusing on the law when it applies to others rather than to themselves.
2 Corninthians 3:6-14-Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that bthe children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.
Seems complicated, yes?
Pauls is trying to show that this ‘new testament’ way of life in Christ comes from being SPIRITUALLY filled…not focused solely on the ‘letter of the law’ found in the Old Testament.
Does this then negate Old Testament laws? The laws that set up God’s moral code?
What it does is illustrate that while God is ALWAYS going to judge us according to HIS righteousness, the focus on the legality of the law has now become changed because the believer in Jesus has received His grace by which the Old Testament law is granted mercy.
Christ actually quoted from Deuteronomy more than an other book during His three years ministering to us. I think that shows he felt the Old Testament was important. And why wouldn’t He? He knew the law. He’d been taught the law from childhood. Now He brings his love of the law given to Israel a ‘final’ chapter to fulfill it.
We see that Moses had to wear a veil to mask the glory of God from the people of Israel.
There are many reasons but the most logical (in my opinion) is that God wanted them to focus on the words of the tablets that he was carrying rather than his face. Perhaps, he was so ‘changed’ from his communion with God that God’s glory shining through him would have been all that the people would see and discuss–not this new moral code that was given to them?
Whatever the case, 2 Corinthians 3: 17&18 tells us: Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Focusing on the ‘legalism’ of the law enslaves us so that we concentrate only in obeying from the standpoint of ‘punishment’. Jesus came to offer us the grace of the Spirit so that we become free through his mercy.
We are to obey God’s law…but we are to obey from understanding that His love should engage us so that we become clear as glass in our desire to do so in thankfulness and humility for his grace and mercy.
Don’t get ‘bugged’ into believing legalism is the answer. Work on fine-tuning our flaws to become a clearer glass so illustrate Jesus in our life.