Friday, July 16, 2010

Time to erase the chalkboard

.....of pretty much everything I knew, or thought I knew about what God expects from me. In the religious walk of my past, I've heard bits and pieces of truth and/or error from several well meaning people. Time to erase it all: The good, the bad, the ugly.
From the Baptist brothers, I've heard that once saved always saved--simply based on the fact that my sin isn't stronger than God's grace. Then, when that church went through a painful split, my family and I found ourselves in a New Congregational Methodist church that arrogantly spouted the doctrine of "you can't get saved today, then live like the devil and expect to go to heaven! God can't look upon sin--He's a righteous God!" Then, back to the Baptist Brothers who huffed, 'How dare you think you're stronger than God??" Both had good points--we AREN'T stronger than God, yet God doesn't want us to live like the devil--does He? However, both the Baptists and New Congregational Brothers passed the offering plate each Sunday, demanding that we pay 10% tithes (anything above 10% was considered an offering) as to not rob God. Or, to put it a bit nicer, "Give, and watch God give back" of course, the size of my blessing was in direct proportion to the size of $$ I put in the offering plate. Then, in comes a Church of Christ Brother who didn't pay tithes at all--everything he gave, be it 10%, less than or more than, he considered an offering to God. Why? Because he lived in the New Covenant. This of course, ticked off the New Congregational Brother who insisted that we should obey ALL the Bible, and not just pick and choose. If this is true, I have yet to figure out why they don't make the sacrifices for sin that's in the Old Testament? Why don't we still stone those caught in adultery? Why don't we still kill the entire families of unruly children? After all, those are in the scripture too. One thing all the brothers seemed to agree on was yes, God does love us. That part was true. So... in and among all of the conflicting doctrine written on the chalkboard of my mind,--the fact that God loves us was also written somewhere in the fine print of the chalkboard.

I was so confused. I didn't understand any of it. Apparently, I wasn't alone. The Apostle Paul found himself writing to some confused folks as well. With Corinthians, he reminds them that Jesus Christ is our foundation. If the foundation has been laid (and it has, by the apostles) then others build on that foundation.

It dawned on me that I might've not been building on the true foundation of Jesus Christ. At the most, I had a good imitation of Jesus. I wanted to find out about Jesus. Who was he, really? I'd heard of the Jesus of history--born in a manger, died on a cross; I'd heard of the Jesus to come--that would call us all home for eternity. But what about the Jesus of now? What did I really know about Him?

Learning, I realized that there indeed was an old covenant and new covenant. Not just a timeline for biblical stories, but a reality for us today. Why is there a new covenant? Was there something wrong with the old covenant? If we have a new covenant, what should we do with the old covenant? If we were supposed to live/obey both covenants, why wasn't the new covenant tacked on as an extension to the old? Why a brand new one? The book of Hebrews sheds light on the fact that the New Covenant took place at the crucifixion of Jesus. So before the cross, people lived and responded to God in one way; after the cross, a whole new way of living came into effect. Why?

The chalkboard is erased. Teach me Lord, what you would have me know.

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