Breaking The Rules

Leviticus 14; Psalm 17; Proverbs 28; 2 Thessalonians 2

Don’t tell me what to think or do!

Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.-Proverbs 28:14

I was never one that could follow instructions very well. If I had to read them, forget it, I never did. From my earliest memories the way I went through life was to do as I pleased. If I had to figure something out, I just jumped in usually failing. One thing I was really good at was taking things apart. The putting back together part, not so much.

“How did that all work out?” You might ask. Honestly, in some ways very well. I learned self reliance, how to adapt and innovate. I was a creative type and received some attention for that too. But that’s where the story turns. You see for me, and perhaps all of us, despite my independent spirit, I needed something more. I was searching for truth. Within my heart was the need to worship God, but even in the absence of God I was still made to worship something.

Without God, my purposes were self directed. Born to be a rule breaker, the idea of law to me was more like a game or a puzzle than something to take seriously. Discipline was a disruption to the freedom of my rebellious spirit.

Since I didn’t really know God, I was missing the point of it all. Surprisingly life really wasn’t about me, it was about God and other people. When I came to this understanding I wanted to know who God really was, and in that exploration, I came to know that God was Holy. Everything about God was above us. He was set apart and pure — flawless in goodness and righteousness.

To have fellowship with a holy God I needed purification because of my unholiness. For the Israelites this sanctification came from ritual sacrifice. And all the ritual sacrifice prescribed in the law of the Old Testament demonstrated how far from God even His chosen people were. There was intentional and unintentional sin. Even the the need for purification from contact with anything or anyone that was “unclean.” God’s ways were above ours and it was impossible to earn the right to have fellowship with God. Stay with me now.

When I was introduced to the idea of grace through faith, things started to change. I came to see God’s law as a representation of who He was compared to who I was. It wasn’t possible to earn my way back to God. If I was to be restored to fellowship with God that existed before sin came into the world, I needed grace — the grace that God poured out on the world through the blood of Jesus. Reconciliation with God was offered to everyone by grace, through faith. The righteousness through faith that Abraham received (Romans 4:13) was the same thing offered to me and all creation through Jesus. This was the freedom I was looking for and it came from love, not from following rules.

Eventually I understood the law for what it was which wasn’t just following a bunch of rules (important as they are). We are called to pursue holiness in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. We are called to follow the righteous path which turned out to be the path back to the God who had already restored me in fellowship. It was the path of love. As God loved me I was supposed to love others as I loved myself. I was supposed to seek God first in all things. This was the actual path to God that I could walk in freedom and in truth.

The Bible is the story of how God in the flesh reconciled the judgement of the law with the power of grace. It was in His sacrifice that God demonstrated His love of the world and by which he perfected His creation. In this transaction, God for man, he allowed us to be united with God, by Jesus, through the Holy Spirit.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16

God please make me whole. Restore me to your perfect will in the knowledge of your love and grace, by faith and through the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.