Using the Law

Image result for the bible and blind spotsBlind spots. I hate them in my cars. They cause accidents. They scare the livin’ daylights out of my. I hate them even more in my life. The problem of blind spots in life are two-fold – 1) I resist what it takes to remove them because 2) I create them!

Jeremiah 17:9  “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

No one really likes talking about sin. It makes everyone squirm. As a pastor, I squirm because I really don’t enjoy heaping guilt on others. I also hate feeling like I have put myself above others. It makes the people in the pew squirm. They squirm because they wonder if I am talking about them, or they squirm because they think others will believe I am talking about them. Yet, the Bible reveals that there is an important reason it talks about sin – we are masters of self-justification. God warns in Jeremiah that we have a deep problem with good and evil: our hearts lie to us. In today’s world we call the lying of our heart self-justification.

Do we really practice self-justification? If you (like me) have ever held onto your anger and said that you had a right to be mean to someone because they were mean to you, you have practiced self-justification. Why? That is self-justification because we all would say that if everyone lived like that life would be unbearable. We justify it because we say we are entitled or we say that our anger is not that big of a deal. The problem with that perspective is everyone could justify themselves in the same way. Suddenly, we have everyone holding onto their anger because that is just what we do. Thus, Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” instead of “Do to others before they do to you.”

What does the Bible do for us? The Bible fully applied takes apart our self-justification. It is objective. It doesn’t change. It is honest about who and what we are. When we read Jesus’ application of the Old Testament law, all our justifications of anger, lust, coveting, gossip, and selfishness are challenged. Jesus points out how even sins of our heart destroy what God has designed for us.

So, what should we do? Should we run from the Bible so we can’t see our sin? That sounds like the emperor in the parable The Emperor’s New Clothes. He didn’t want to admit that he couldn’t see the clothes, and so everyone saw his mistake (his nakedness). Should we (as some do) explain away what the Bible says? Well, if the Bible is true it becomes a bit like denying gravity. It doesn’t matter how much you deny it, sin (like gravity) is still there.

No, we shouldn’t avoid what the Bible says. We also shouldn’t try to explain away what the Bible says. Instead we should let the Bible speak to our lives. We should (even when it makes us squirm) let it shine light on our motives and teach us. Then we should look at Jesus to discover who we should be like. Paul says that is what the Old Testament law is for. (See Galatians 3:19-28) It is to show us our need for Jesus. It’s purpose is to point to Jesus as the example and source of righteousness. It urges us to trust Him, follow Him, and embrace His heart as our own. If we ignore it or attempt to talk ourselves out of it, we subvert its purpose.

The next time you and I feel conviction when reading or hearing the Scripture, let’s not run from it. Let’s instead run to the Jesus that it points us to. Let’s accept its evaluation of our attitudes and motives. Then, let’s chase after the Savior’s heart.

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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