Monday, March 09, 2009

Double Jeopordy

I've been thinking and thinking through this whole concept of the imputed righteousness that we receive from Jesus Christ freely and totally by grace. It's incredible that despite the amount of sermons of Rob's that I've transcribed and the hours I've spent listening to the message of grace there is still some twisted part of me that baulks at the glory of this message! I guess it's due to the 30 years of religious tradition and the 2 legalistic churches I went to preaching a mixed gospel of grace and works. So I've been trying to think and re-think through how to get this understanding into my thick head - that the wonder and glory of this is TRUE!

Here's a few thoughts that occured to me. Some quotes and some Scriptures!

1. A Legal Precident.

There is a legal term called; "Double Jeopardy". It means this;

"Double jeopardy (ne bis in idem) is a procedural defense (and, in many countries such as the United States, Canada, Mexico and India, a constitutional right) that forbids a defendant from being tried twice for the same crime on the same set of facts".

Now I know that this is an earthly legal principle but doesn't it demonstrate what's happened in the High Court of heaven? If Jesus Christ has been tried for the sins of the whole world (which includes every sin that you and I have committed past, present and future) then WE cannot be tried again! We cannot be found guilty again! We cannot be held to account again because Calvary satisfied the wrath and justice of God! God cannot and will not bring our sins out and hold them to our account because His Son paid the penalty already!

2. A Quote to Ponder.

This quote is certainly going to make some blood pressures rise! I think Rob Rufus knew it would! He promised that this Sunday he would preach and explain it further. Here's the quote;

Missing the target. Not keeping the law.


Now before fuses get blown - let's go to Scripture;

3. The Word of God!

What is the devil's main source of attack against Christians? He is called the "Accuser of the brethren". So what does the main content of his accusations tend to centre around? That we have fallen short of the glory of God and His law. We really wouldn't be very bothered (I hope) if the devil came to us and told us how disappointed that he was with us. No the devil tells us frequently how angry God is with us and how disappointed with us. And uses what? The LAW!

Colossians 2:14 and 15 specifically mentions the two aspects to Christ's triumph at the Cross and the Law and the demonic are mentioned in the same breath;

" ... having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him".

That is breath-taking! How did He disarm the rulers and authorities? By cancelling the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us (the Law) which was HOSTILE to us! I'm beginning to see why Rob Rufus gets so angry against legalists! The law is HOSTILE to us! Why on earth would we spend so much time trying to mix it in with grace?!

Furthermore the book of Romans has a great deal to say about the law! Romans 5:13;

" ... but sin is not imputed when there is no law".

Weymouth translates that verse;

"For prior to the Law sin was already in the world; only it is not entered in the account against us when no Law exists".

Now I already can prophesy the responses to what I am reflecting on. Am I saying or implying that the law is bad? How can I when the Word of God says it is not?

"What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law".

But there is the clue. We would not have come to know sin except through the Law. So the object of the Law is to make us aware of sin and even more of our need of a Saviour. So back to the title of this blog post and my initial musings. DOUBLE JEPORDY. Once judgement has been passed on a particular crime then it cannot be judged again! So while our legalistic backgrounds may wince and gasp at Rob's quote that sin under the Old Covenant is falling short of law but under the New Covenant it isn't - suddenly it starts to make sense! The law isn't a factor anymore in our dealings with God!

Now THAT'S a reason to smile on a cold Monday morning! :)


Peter Day said...

It's very interesting that the British Government passed a law back in 2003 which overturns the double jeopardy law in certain cases "if there is fresh and compelling evidence".

That seems like a perfect illustration of how grace-hating spirits assault us; our minds get attacked with "fresh and compelling evidence" - either memories of sins we have committed (both long in the past and recently), or accusations of others, or the twisting of scripture (you "get" grace and then suddenly you find a scripture that appears to contradict).

So this post is very important. There has been a trial once and for all, and judgement has been passed and punishment given, once and for all upon the cross.

So, in the light of that, there can never be any "fresh and compelling evidence." All of our sins were obliterated upon the cross - forever. The evidence is gone... God has chosen to remember it no more.

So, we walk free!!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Let's run the bike illustration again. Being a non-Christian is like being a walker. There is no possible way that we will ever walk fast enough to achieve what we have to do. Let's say deliver newspapers!!! So God gives us a bike. We are born again.

Every time we attempt to use this new form of getting around, Satan yells and yells at us and the shock is so great we keep falling off. This is like temptation to sin. Having fallen off he then ccondemns and condemns us about how rubbish we are and how we will never get all the newspapers delivered. Which represents our instructions. The Law. So shocked are we...that we fall for the devil's pressure and decide it is far safer to push the bike on foot. Maybe we can at least carry the newspaper load on our saddle. But that doesn't solve the problem about our time limit. It was bad enough walking. Now we're pushing our bike as well.

Now put on your Holy Spirit specs. Look at virtually any church anywhere in the world. That's is what you've got. People pushing their bikes everywhere.
This goes on and on...with more and more pressure, more and more condemnation cycle... until the inner pressure to give up and actually do what God says is stronger than our outer pressures of being yelled at by the devil and the fears that get us pushing the bike in the first place.

So in total failure we find a bit of a hill, get on our bike, take our feet off the ground and....

heeeeyyy!!!! weeeeeee! I'm beginning to balance....this thing works....this bike riding stuff actually works....feels odd to begin with cos I've spent my whole life going around on foot. ifeel much more secure walking ...because I am used to it...only trouble is...I miss every deadline set me for delivering newspapers.

Lo and behold...after wobbling a bit...perhaps falling off a bit....wooooooo! I then realise ....flipping eck...I can easily complete the delivery schedule. Why didn't I do this before? I must have been mad. This is so easy!!!

So what is bike riding in this illustration? it's a good illustration because in a sense it is not doing anything. You just sit there...and pedal a bit. You're not even carrying the newspapares, they are on the bike!!!

"Bike riding" begins when we ask Jesus into our hearts by faith. it's an alien form of life. it works entirely by faith!! later on we learn it is "obedience" to that faith...but isn't really works!!! It has no correlation with walking. Or fulfilling deadlines by our own efforts. If you like it's obedience to the Laws of balance...balancing on 2 wheels.
Or in the is believing who we are now on our insides...Jesus Christ in our form - Dan-shaped, Chris-shaped, Peter Day-shaped. This is the effect of grace gets us to switch systems of transport. The act of believing kicks into being the principle of life, where like climbing on a bike for the first time to learn balance,so now we begin to discern how the life of Christ operates in us...and we just follow along. Before we obey the Lord by believing what His word says about us...we can never learn this new balance on 2 wheels...this life of walking in the Spirit. The Lord needs us to begin this act of believing for Him to be free to live His life through us. Just as we will never learn about balancing on our bikes while we are walking alongside our bikes, pushing them.

But this is sadly true among the majority of Christians. They don't believe that the Life of God within them actually works!!!So they are all walking alongside their bikes.

Anonymous said...

You make persistant reference to your belief that your past two churches were "legalistic" yet you seem to maintain some sort of "hero-worship" for Stanley Jebb (obviously not having the same respect or affection for your previous two pastors in Sovereign Grace) - I wonder why he seems to still hold a place in your affections if he was so legalistic - something you are so vehemently against thanks to your current "influences"?

Dan Bowen said...

Well Anonymous ...

You are quite correct, Stanley Jebb is one of my heroes. He was my pastor for almost 18 years and cared for my soul throughout by faithfully preaching the Word of God. He had a brilliant mind and a passion for God.

I've never made any secret of the fact that there were elements of his ministry that I didn't agree with - the Holy Spirit being the main factor.

But that doesn't take away from my profound respect for him. I never said HE was legalistic. I said there was legalism in the church and yes I am indeed vehemently against legalism and intend to only get worse!

I don't think comparing Stanley Jebb with the two SGM pastors (one of whom was not actually in position while I was in membership as you are well aware) is even in the same league. I was only a member of that church for 2 years.

I don't think you have to throw the entire baby out with the bathwater. Yes legalism was a problem in my home church but there were wonderful elements too that I will always be grateful to God for.