I was driving home this morning listening to Rob Rufus's session at the first "Glory and Grace Conference" in Hong Kong (still waiting for my CD's of this years!) and it was his penultimate session. He had decided to postpone the awesome fire-tunnel to the following day because everyone was tired and he spoke on "Staying sane in revival". The second half of that message was an awesome treatment of the law and grace. Although I've heard so much now on the law - this morning it was really like seeing this truth again from another level up the spiral staircase.
Here was the quote that I actually had to stop and pull over to copy down;
"The law does not die, the law must stay in the earth thundering out judgements as a school-master to lead the self-righteous to a place of revelation that they are going to hell if they try to keep the law and they will not gain inheritance through the law so they must repent and turn to Jesus Christ!".
So the question is this - which husband would you prefer?
1. A Husband who will make it his life's work to point out every area of wrong in your life - and the more that you proudly conquer an area of wrong - the faster he will find another to point out. (Romans 2:23)
2. A Husband who when he speaks does not expect or a require a response from you and when you do try and speak, you will be told to "shut up" - other than have you obeyed him TOTALLY and 100% PERFECTLY? If you have not - then you are condemned. (Romans 3:19 - "so that every mouth may be closed").
3. A Husband who will only speak to you to tell you that you are a sinner and you have fallen short. Again and again for all time. He will never commend you for a small act of "righteousness" - rather he will condemn you that your "righteousness" is putrid to him. Or rather is like a dirty sanitary cloth to him. (Romans 3:23 and Isaiah 64:6).
4. A Husband who does not require you to have any faith whatsoever and offers no promises to you. Only when you keep that requirement of having no faith - he will again condemn you and find fault with you for that. (Romans 4:14 and Hebrews 11:6)
5. A Husband who will delight in telling you that his only mission in your life is to bring about wrath - but will emotionally taunt you that if he were not around there would be no pointing out of the wrong in your life. (Romans 4:15).
6. A Husband will tell you that you will never be free from him until he dies (and he will never die) but if he did die (and be assured - he never will) then your faults would not be held to your account and you would be truly free. (Romans 5:13 and Romans 7:2).
7. A Husband who simply makes it his life's ambition again and again to point out every area of fault in your life and drives you into such a frenzy of frustration and despair and exhaustion that you end up cheating on him and finding your behaviour is getting worse and worse. And your husband will find out and punish you for those acts of defiance also. (Romans 5:20).
8. A Husband who will face you when you are guilt-ridden after a sin such as lying or pride and will tell you you may as well commit murder or adultery or lust as well - seeing as you have failed totally his requirements of you. And he will even sketch out a graphic description of how good those said sins may feel. But then if you do do them will point out your failures again. (Romans 7:5)
9. A Husband who is irritatingly perfect in every way - and never falls or fails. And never fails to point out that fact either. (Romans 7:7 and Romans 7:12).
10. A Husband who will remind you that before you married him, you were a vibrant, alive, free individual. But when your marriage was secured - you died inside and became an emotional ice-cube. (Romans 7:9).
11. A Husband who you know is 100% accurate about your flaws and failings. He never lies but is only truthful. You can't even claim he is unjust. He isn't. (Romans 7:16).
What a man! I don't know about anyone else but if I was married to someone like that I would be seriously considering suicide. This man is an emotional rapist. He will never, ever make you feel good about yourself. So whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ..... would any Christian want to still have anything to do with this Law?!?! Why?! Are we mad?!?! Especially when you consider how good the alternative is! Rob said;
"When you came to Christ you died to Christ and God cancelled for you the writing of the 10 Commandments. You DIED to the Law! The Law doesn't die - it is still around for the lost! If you are dead to something then you are dead! But you are alive to a different Husband who has sympathy with your infirmities and He mediates a covenant depending on HIS performance! This Husband doesn't point your faults out!
The Gospel isn't a revelation of what's wrong with you but how right you are with the Father in Jesus Christ!!".
Of course as Christians we can choose to stay under Law - but there are consequences. Rob said;
"They will go to heaven but they will never recieve their inheritance. A person under law has an ideal self that they are trying to live upto and fall so short that they feel they deserve the abuse of the law. God will never punish you again because all punishment was poured out on Jesus.
But God cannot allow you to inherit New Covenant life under law. If you commit adultery - stay under grace! God knows how to restore adulterers! He knows how to love adulterers! He wants heart transformation not behaviour modification".
This isn't just theology for me anymore. Another friend of mine has just been diagnosed with HIV. He's only in his mid-20's. And I can't express how it feels to sit across from him and see the pain and the regret in his eyes. The agony as he tries to decide whether to tell anyone. And you know what? I can't recommend any church around here to take him to ... yet. Because he needs signs and wonders and power accompanying the gospel of truth. So I am finding it hard to celebrate so-called unity that is specifically leaving aside "secondary" issues - of which the movement of the Holy Spirit is one. That's not to say my friend doesn't need the gospel which addresses the Cross. He does. But Jesus Christ didn't stop there. He went on.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. To set free those who are oppressed and to proclaim the favourable year of the Lord".
My friend needs a Jesus Christ (and a church) who will do this;
"If Jesus was here today and so many thousands of people had HIV or further advanced AIDS - He wouldn't say; "Your sin got you into this". Jesus would heal them ALL".