I'm home alone at my parents while they are at church and dinner is all on the go. With everything under control I prowled around a bit bored and saw a book by Jerry Bridges called; "Transforming Grace - Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love". I must admit rather shamefully I have steered clear of Jerry Bridges in past years being rather suspicious of his close proximity to S.G.M. But having nothing else to read I skimmed through it and found an interesting comparison that he did between; "The Old Way of the Law" and the "New Way of the Spirit".
I think it's very helpful for clarity. Here's what he said;
Old Way of Law - External Code:
The moral precepts of God are only an external code of conduct. The law commands obedience but provides no inclination or desire to obey.
New Way of Spirit - Internal Desire:
The moral precepts of God are written on our hearts as well as being an external code. The Spirit inclines our hearts and gives us a desire to obey.
Old Way of Law - Commanding:
The law commands but gives no enabling power for obedience.
New Way of Spirit - Enabling:
The Spirit enables us to obey the law's commands.
Old Way of Law - Hostility:
Because of our hostility to God's law before our conversion, the commands of the law actually provoked and incited us to sin.
New Way of Spirit - Delight:
The Spirit by removing our hostility and writing the law on our hearts, actually causes us to delight in God's law.
Old Way of Law - Fear:
The law produces a legalistic response to God. We try to obey because of a fear of punishment for disobedience or in order to win favour with God.
New Way of Spirit - Gratitude:
The Spirit, by showing us God's grace, produces a response of love and gratitude. We obey not out of fear or to earn favour but out of gratitude for favour ALREADY given!
Old Way of Law - Working:
Under the Law we perform in order to be accepted by God. Since our performance is always imperfect, we never feel completely accepted by Him. Thus in our Christian life, we always work from a position of weakness. We work to be accepted, but feel we never quite make it.
New Way of Spirit - Relying:
The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are accepted by God through the merit of Christ. By relying solely on His perfect righteousness we feel accepted by Him. Thus in our Christian life, we work from a position of strength because we have been accepted through Jesus and through Him, we have "made it".
In reading this I see absolutely no place where there would be much conflict between what Bridges is saying and what Rob Rufus is teaching. It's all there! But again and again over the past week I've read blogs by Christians, I've heard teaching by Christians that persistantly mixes law with grace. What particularly bothers me is the "sin conciousness" that is so present and so dangerous. Christians are testifying as to what a failure they feel before God and it is often applauded as "humility" when in reality it is pride and indeed somewhat blasphemous to the Cross. We need to stop talking and focusing on "us" and start talking and focusing on "Him" and what He has done for us and what that qualifies us to do for Him!