Monday, 7 March 2011

Wipe that mirror all over your face!

Ok, I started this post ready to discuss an area in my life that is affected by the basics of LAW and GOSPEL... by the time I finished defining Law and Gospel, I realised it was a post of its own, and probably not a bad basic to cover as it will probably pop up in many of my future posts... so my post I intended to write will have to wait another day!

So.. the LAW... basically the bible has two purposes for the law....
1. A set of rules to live by, like the 10 commandments are referred to as 'the law'. There are many laws throughout the bible and also in society today.
If only Bear Grylls had a mirror....
2. A mirror through which one can see if they are meeting the law. For example, if you had a dirty face, you would not know unless you looked in the mirror. It is the same with the law, if it didnt exist, you would have no standard by which you would know that you werent meeting the law.

So why is it that people try to use the law to fix the problem of not keeping the law? Confused? Let me put it another way... in many christian circles, people are told they have to have 'daily bible readings, and regular quiet times'. This is a good thing to do, and very beneficial for you, but how many of us have missed our daily bible reading and quiet time and had thought 'oh no, I didnt read my bible today- I didnt have time! Why didnt I make time for God? Does that mean He isnt as important to me as I say He is? I'm never going to learn anything about God if I dont read my bible.. I should have read it before I went to bed... but I was so tired...arghhh... what am I going to do? I know, I WILL READ TWICE AS MUCH TOMORROW!'

Thats right, wipe your face ALL OVER that mirror! Oooh.. I think you missed a spot- just there, next to your nose... try again!

When you try to fix the law with more law... (e.g. I will try harder, do more- I can meet this law), you will never be free from the law.

This is where the GOSPEL comes in. The good news that Jesus Christ took the punishment for our sins on himself, so that we might go to heaven. In our mirror analogy,  Jesus is running water. Instead of trying to remove the dirt on our face with the mirror we see it in, we can wash our face with running water and be truly clean.
When Jesus died on the cross, he took our sin on him, leaving us spotless and clean. In the example of reading your bible, instead of being crushed by the law and trying desperately to do better tomorrow, we can acknowledge that it is not how often we read our bible, or how deep and intense our quiet time is that brings us close to God- it is Jesus, our simple trust in what He did on the cross that removes our sin, and therefore removes the barrier between us and God. There is nothing we can do to get ourselves to heaven, as Jesus did it all.  We are washed clean by what Jesus did on the cross, and are no longer under the law... what glorious news!

So to sum up:
LAW: Rules for living. The law is also a mirror for us to see if we are keeping the law.
GOSPEL: The knowledge that Jesus Christ died on the cross, taking the punishment for all the laws we fail to keep. Christ's sinlessness is attributed to us, and our sinfulness is attributed to Him. We are therefore clean, sinless in the sight of God (although we continue to sin, our sinfulness is continually attributed to Christ), and therefore no longer crushed under the law- no longer trying to keep the law to make ourselves good enough to get to heaven!

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