Two kinds of People

I have a theory that there are basically two kinds of people. Those that want freedom and those that want security.  FREEDOM

When the Israelites were taken out of Egypt, many wanted to go back. They wanted what they were used to, certain foods, certain housing, a certain routine. With freedom there is a lack of certainty. It’s a bit scary at times. The outcome is not guaranteed. But you are free to make your own decisions. You are not subject to the decisions of another.

This seems to be a choice that many will make in the upcoming election. More security, less decisions, less freedom.  More food, more healthcare, more housing, less choice, less freedom. You can’t have it all. If you want security, someone has to provide it. That someone will call the shots…not you. If you want more freedom, then you are on your own to a greater extent. The old safety net system, family, friends, church, will still be there, but not so much the State. A bit more risky, but more freedom is retained.

In the Church, there are similar choices. One can choose freedom or one can choose the security of the law.

If you are not quite comfortable with what Christ Jesus has promised for you, if that seems just a bit too much to chance without adding to it a little bit of your effort, then gravitate towards the law. The law will inform you, demand from you, everything that you need be doing to be righteous before a Holy and just God. It’s all there. Just add your performance.

If you are willing to take a chance, and trust the promises of Christ Jesus, in what He has done for you on the cross and what He has promised you in your baptism, then you don’t need the law to prove how righteous you are. Someone (Christ Jesus) has already declared you to be free and righteous already…just because.  Just because He said so.

Is it easy to be free? No it’s not. There are responsibilities, there is accountability. And we often fail. The difference is that in society..we pay a price for that failure. With faith in Jesus…He has already paid the price for our failure. He forgives us our sins.

For me, since I have tasted the true freedom that Christ Jesus has won for me, there will never be any going back to the security of the law…to what ‘I do’.  Never.  Oh, I might be tempted to. The old Adam in me (the State…the state of sinfulness!) wants me to go back to Egypt (the law) everyday! The old Adam is constantly telling me that Christ Jesus couldn’t possibly forgive me all my sins. I must get busy and show God just how serious I am about this righteousness project.

The fact of the matter is that I am not serious about showing God how much I love Him, or how much I can be faithful to Him. The fact of the matter is that I don’t want Him (very much). The fact of the matter is that He knows this and that He has done something about it… in the person of His Son, Christ Jesus.

So, I’ll take the freedom that Christ Jesus has won for me, and I’ll leave the trip back to Egypt (the law) for those that ‘can’t handle the truth’ ( please don’t try and force me to go back with you ). And I’ll pray that someday the law will finish it’s job and kill the slave to sin, that out of the sweet, forgiving sound of the gospel, the new man or woman might be born anew to a life of trust and freedom…in our Lord Christ Jesus.

Vote for whom you will. But never give up the freedom won for you on the cross and promised you in your baptism.

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13 Responses

  1. Great post Steve…..

    “Is it easy to be free? No it’s not. There are responsibilities, there is accountability. And we often fail. The difference is that in society..we pay a price for that failure. With faith in Jesus…He has already paid the price for our failure. He forgives us our sins.”

    Bondage can seem so satisfying until we realize that the comfort we imagined ourselves to be in is actually sufficating and killing us.

    We have been set free through Christ…..don’t look back to the plow!

  2. Thanks Wayne.

    It isn’t easy. But where else do we turn? He IS the Word of eternal life.

    Grace and Peace to you, Wayne!

    – Steve

  3. Wow. Excellent thoughts Steve. Thanks for this post.

  4. Thank you, Timm!

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    – Steve

  5. Steve,

    You’ve hit upon something I think that is important that I myself have/still try to ferret out. Take this first one why do we do it? Great post by the way.

    “You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid I have labored over you in vain” (4:10-11). We too observe all these things in our liturgical calendars. He says to the Colossians:

    To a Baptist or an ex-baptist like myself this does seem to be going back to the observation of seasons and months. However, there are a few things at play here to juggle around mentally. Upon closer examination I don’t believe it is, or at least meant to be. I think originally the liturgical calendar (NT post second advent) was a way to capture and protect the doctrine, namely the Gospel. The observation of days and months and seasons and years as to the OT were (are) no longer necessary to the Galatians because the OT signs and shadows pointing forward to the reality they projected (Christ) had come and where fulfilled through Him. E.g. the Sabbath, ultimately the eternal rest day, was no longer necessary to observe because the very Lord of the Sabbath and indeed the Sabbath rest Himself had come. The OT signs, seasons and such differ in that pre-first advent where necessary pointing forward to the long prophesied Christ yet too come in the fullness of time. These differ from the NT liturgical calendars, the NT liturgical calendar does not or at least should not serve as shadows and types pointing forward to the Reality and Archtype. Rather they, the NT calendar things serve to capture the doctrine and present it forth (keep in mind the cannon didn’t exist for the first 1500 years of the church, as we know it today, so how was the doctrine to be passed down?). Now keeping that in mind both the OT types and shadows where abused (Pharisee/Judiazers) and the church things (Rome). If we might in simplicity put it this way:

    Item Purpose Timeframe of use Abuse
    OT days, month, seasons and years Served as types and shadows pointing forward to the Archtype and Reality which was Christ. Required of Scripture. OT, pre first advent The Jews lost sight of what the types and shadows pointed to and turned these things into things DONE to please/appease God (like pagans), rather than the types and shadows pointing forward to the work Christ WOULD DO FOR US. E.g. Stephens sermon in Acts points this out.
    NT liturgical calendar To capture the doctrine and carry it forward to the next generation. Not required of scripture, but done out of necessity. NT, post first advent Rome and the church like the Jews turn these things into “works to do”, which we always do.

    We find a similar abuse say even in a sacrament like baptism in which the Baptist make it a work pleasing to God under the guise of post conversion faith and grace thus they call it an ordinance. They have taken a GIFT FROM God TO us FOR faith and made it a work FOR us TO DO to prove one’s faith and that is ultimately against faith and grace when all is said and done.

    We always have this penchant ability to even turn the gifts from heaven into works going back up the ladder, e.g. Rome’s Mass and Baptist’s Believers Baptism. The issue is we always reverse the direction of worship from receiving from God from heaven to giving UP to God from earth.

    So there’s two main issues going on there linked to the same problem, the reversal of worship from receiving from heaven as a gift to ‘offering up’ to God as a work, even if we subtly deny doing this under a cloak of “by the power of grace I do this so its not works”. Which is false, it’s always works, we simply refuse to “get it”, FREE GIFT means FREE GIFT.

    This brings us to what you are saying, I think, that we do indeed love the security, so we think, of the Law in all its forms – even those we have invented ourselves. Either distilled from the bible or derivatives there of we implement later on. But this is utter deception since the Law doesn’t secure but should unravel us so that we may flee to Christ alone.

    License is not due to the freeness of the Gospel, which is the way most hidden Pharisees blindly portray Paul’s warning about the flesh. This they do usually ignorantly and blinded by original sin in order to reinsert some law for the flesh to do and thus get back to the business of doing religion. License is due to the same problem that legalism brings forth, they are the same thing just named differently. Legalism disobeys the heart of the REAL Law because it thinks it earns favor somewhere and as such even murder is committed in the name of righteousness, god and religion (e.g. Islam being an extreme example). We find this in pietistic churches and denominations that fool themselves into they are “pulling it off” religiously with their bibles in hand. However, license, is EXACTLY the same thing. If you listen long enough to a rank atheist/pagan and a religious southern Baptist or other pietistic person talk, you will note well that both are justifying themselves for what they DO.

    A license is a permit or allowance granted to someone to do something, an allowance due to a ‘right’ given to perform it. In our time and country we “pay” for a license to drive for example. That is an earned or merited right that is due to our age (16+) and a fee within the state that authorizes the action. So we begin to see the similarity of ‘meritorious earnings’ in play with the concept of ‘license’ to do X. However in grace we’ve not earned a damn thing, to sin or not to sin either way. Which leads us to consider what sin really is and not what it is often portrayed as in pietistic churches.

    Most often, especially in churches, sin is portrayed as the open immoral and negative sins that even pagans recognize. E.g. murder, theft, adultery and so forth. But this is a very very very low view of sin and God’s Law; one might even rightly say not a real knowledge of sin nor the Law at all. Sin is not singularly nor even primarily the “gross immoral” negative sins, like theft or adultery but rather primarily “inward turning” to gain for the self. The “fall” was not a fall downward into debauchery, but a usurpation (a violent raping or taking for the purpose of using) upward to be more pious than God Himself. The “fall” was a “fall upward”, not downward. The more ‘religious’ a man is, the less likely he is to see this. However, both the Genesis narrative and Paul in Romans make this crystal clear. So that adultery is a sin and so would be marriage if we think it earns us God’s favor. At the end of the day both the open adulterer and the loyal religious married person are doing the same thing, attempting to gain life for themselves by their “doing”, the usurpation. The only difference is that the adulterer at least openly reveals him/herself at the heart level as a usurper of God while the religious pretend righteous person is greatly deceived about him/herself under his cloak of good works.

    The ONLY time “grace” seems to cause sin is when it is in fact not really grace, even though called by name as “grace”, but is in reality an earned thing or merit, and thus ultimately a “law”. The difference in the pagan thief and the post conversion “I don’t steal person” is zero, both are unrighteous and thieves in and of themselves. I.e. even law is surreptitiously hidden under the cloak and name of “grace”, a Trojan Horse, which is really not true grace, whereby a “license” is derived from the merit. That kind of false grace is simply legalism dressed up, a pig in lipstick. It says, “I’ve served my time some how and now I can do x, y and z”. In opposition of this is PURE and TRUE grace and NOT a reassertion of the Law, law, morals, moralism, third use law or some other “finally the law gets its due and we are back to the game of religion” (the way of Cain).

    The best example of this I can come up with is that first scene in Les Miserables. If you want to see this operating in reality, check that movie out. In brief it goes like this:

    Jean Valjean, after spending nineteen years in jail and in the galleys for stealing a loaf of bread and for several attempts to escape, is finally released. He has served his time. Here is the idea of meritorious grace hidden under legalism. So he still is who he was, he thinks he has a license, his earned or rather served his time. That’s were the license comes in, its really another form of legalism not true unmerited grace – to the chagrin of the modern hidden religious Pharisee within the Christian church that turns James 2 and parts of Galatians against grace with plausibly deniable caveats that they are not denying grace. But the are! The next scene Valjean ends up stealing from a kindly bishop (Monseigneur Myriel) and his wife, even hitting the bishop on the head when he is awaken discovering what Valjean is doing in the night. Later on Valjean is captured by the police with booty in hand having attempted to hock it all for cash, and brought back to the pastor’s house claiming that the pastor had given it to him. HERE IS where unmerited favor, true grace comes in; the bishop says, “Yes that is right. I gave all these silver plates to Valjean to sell.” He looks at Valjean and says, “Valjean, and you forgot these…” and starts putting more silver items into his bag. Valjean is stunned and so are the police, the law. From THIS true grace, Valjean himself becomes a dispenser of Grace and mercy always in conflict with the Law caricature, Inspector Javert, incessantly pursuing him. In the end Javert cannot understand this grace as Valjean himself does to him in the story (without going into details) and kills himself because he cannot ‘square the books.’

    I think you are spot on that men are comfortable (falsely so) with Law and true freedom scares the hell out of us. We are fearful that God actually has forgiven us in Christ. I believe, for example, that scares the hell out of most Baptist concerning baptism, that it is actually a gift of grace period. The scandal of the Cross really does trip us up because we all have some “law point” of no return whereby we begin to play the elder son concerning grace, “If GRACE means THAT, I’m staying outside here in hell”. As C. S. Lewis once said rightly that hell is first a door that is locked from the inside before the outside is locked forever.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  6. This mess:

    “Item Purpose Timeframe of use Abuse
    OT days, month, seasons and years Served as types and shadows pointing forward to the Archtype and Reality which was Christ. Required of Scripture. OT, pre first advent The Jews lost sight of what the types and shadows pointed to and turned these things into things DONE to please/appease God (like pagans), rather than the types and shadows pointing forward to the work Christ WOULD DO FOR US. E.g. Stephens sermon in Acts points this out.
    NT liturgical calendar To capture the doctrine and carry it forward to the next generation. Not required of scripture, but done out of necessity. NT, post first advent Rome and the church like the Jews turn these things into “works to do”, which we always do.”

    Was suppose to be a nice neat table showing the Item, time frame/use and abuse. But it didn’t work.

    My apologies!

    Larry

  7. Larry,

    No apology neccessary! You did a nice job of pointing out the differences in using scripture for our own justification and using scripture and liturgy and tradition to point to the work of Christ for our sakes.

    Asolutely a comparison that we ought always keep in the front of our minds, lest we fall back into “religion” for the sake of our own progression.

    Thanks very much, Larry…and a happy Reformation Day to you!

    – Steve

  8. Personally I have never found any of the law which I am equipped to obey. That is true even if it is soft peddled.

    Another spot on post St Steven!

    God’s peace. †

  9. St, David,

    You and me, both!

    Thanks for the encouragement, Brother!

    May the Lord bless you and keep you!

    – Stephen
    (I am fortuanate to have my Grandfather’s name who was fortunate to be named after the First Martyr)

  10. Although I am not fit to loose his sandal, I am very pleased to have his name.

  11. Great post. I like to slice and dice things between religious and irreligous sin because many religious sinners are out trying to convert irreligious sinners to become just like them. The religious sinners often dont recognize how much they need a savior and dont rest on the Gospel message as a result.

    This freedom has major ramifications in our relationship with God and our relationship with other people. It means we don’t have repress the truth about ourselves and we start being honest with our real selves. It gives us the ability to have real intimacy with Christ and each other — in absolute freedom.

    The Gospel message of Jesus Christ is something I want,, something I need, and something I want to give away.

    Jon

  12. “It means we don’t have repress the truth about ourselves and we start being honest with our real selves. It gives us the ability to have real intimacy with Christ and each other — in absolute freedom.”

    Right on, Jon!

    It’s all about freedom. God’s freedom to forgive real sinners. And our freedom to live, to admit who and what we are, and to live for the neighbor freely without fear and with the freedom to speak of the great things He has done for us.

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