>Perverting "Gospel" into Law

>This is very good, thought provoking stuff from MICHAEL KELLEY

TODAY’S GOSPEL IS TOMORROW’S LAW
I have a friend who is fond of saying, “Today’s gospel is tomorrow’s law.” I’ve heard him say it in a variety of contexts.

– When Christians believe that public school is the only appropriate way to be missional with your family.

– When Christians say that home schooling is the only good and proper way to educate your child.

– When the mark of your spirituality becomes whether or not you have adopted a child (or how many).

– When those believers who feel the liberty to consume alcohol turn up their noses at those who refrain.

Do you see it? We have an immense propensity to take the gospel and turn it into law. We love to take good and turn it into chains. Why do we do that?

The reasons are many, but I think a large part is that we love the measuring stick of the law. We love to compare ourselves to others, and to gauge our own spirituality based on performance. We love to take the law of God and make it into a ladder. Up, up, up we climb, and the more people below us the better we feel. For though we might not be close to the top, we’re sure doing better than those people below us.
So much do we love the law that we can form and fashion anything – even those wonderful examples of freedom or grace – into law. Our potential to distort the gifts of God to our own ends is limitless.

How is that the gospel remains the gospel – that those things in which there is liberty remain those things in which there is liberty? How can we be saved from our tendency toward distortion?

Surely not through our own power.

But herein lies again the wonder of the gospel, and here again is where we can be brought to awe because of its far-reaching power. For the gospel is the only answer for those, like me, who distort the gospel. There is grace for us, too. When we preach the gospel to ourselves daily, we will find that God will tear down the rungs of our carefully constructed ladders. And when those ladders are broken into shards and splinters, what will be left towering over the piles of rubble is the wooden beams of the cross.
And we’ll stand there at the base on perfectly level ground.

>Lewis on Dropping Our Stuff on Others

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A still-contemporary commentary from Mere Christianity (and if you’ve not read it…or read the book in a while…you should):

“One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up.

“That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons—marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.”  C. S. Lewishttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0060652888&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>Don’t Make Me Do Your Time

>As most know, I was converted in jail enroute to prison. One of the wisdom-rules of prison life is “do your own time.” In other words, don’t do a races time, a gangs time, anothers time…do your own time…

And though we are to esteem others as better than ourselves, and strive to out-serve them; I don’t think we need to “do their time.”

Huh?

Let me explain..one of the things often done at camps at which I speak is “Mission Impossible.” Briefly it is a great game that is played in the dark of night with searchlights and so forth…campers must sneak to a certain point without being captured/seen. There are usually staff members hiding, camoflaged, the whole deal.

I do not play; never have, never will. Neither do I do paint ball. I served a tour in Vietnam and such things can open memories I’d rather leave shut. I have no problem with others enjoying the activity; I just don’t participate. But I don’t ask anyone else to do my time.

Some have a real problem with what they describe as “rock music,” because it brings back memories and/or emotions from the past.

I respect that. It is not an issue for me.

So don’t ask me to do your time. I’ll continue to listen to the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and other groups from way back in the day…you know, when musicians were musicians and not computer programmers!

>Lunacy of Legalism

>Great re-post from ED STETZER

Today, The Resurgence blog provides a clear path to legalism:

How to Become a Legalist:
1. Make rules outside the Bible.
2. Push yourself to try and keep your rules.
3. Castigate yourself when you don’t keep your rules.
4. Become proud when you do keep your rules.
5. Appoint yourself as judge over other people.
6. Get angry with people who break your rules or have different rules.
7. “Beat” the losers.

In interview with Howard Hendricks, Chuck Swindoll defined the legalism problem as:

…when we get into areas that are not set forth in Scripture, either in precept or even in principle. These may be such things as length of hair, tattoos and other body piercings, skirts or pants for women, makeup or no makeup. Those are not scriptural issues. Sometimes these issues are cultural, and you do have to address them when you are in that particular culture. But I think legalism begins when you do or refrain from doing what I want you to do or not do because it’s on my list and it’s something that I am uncomfortable with.


Then, Chuck gives his blunt advice:

The problem with legalists is that not enough people have confronted them and told them to get lost. Those are strong words, but I don’t mess with legalism anymore. I’m 72 years old; what have I got to lose? Seriously, I used to kowtow to legalists, but they’re dangerous. They are grace-killers. They’ll drive off every new Christian you bring to church. They are enemies of the faith. Other than that, I don’t have any opinion!
So, if I am trying to force my personal list of no-no’s on you and make you feel guilty if you don’t join me, then I’m out of line and I need to be told that.

Download that interview here.http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0736911812&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>Comfort and Challenge

>To whet your appetite…to first comfort, then challenge you…I offer these quotes from Jerry Bridges “Discipline of Grace” Just a reminder, if you order from the link below a portion…of whatever you order…as long as you start from here…goes to help this home missionary stay in the work!

“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace.

And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.”

and this:

“Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they have earned God’s blessing through their behavior.

Guilt-laden believers are quite sure they have forfeited God’s blessing through their lack of discipline or their disobedience.

Both have forgotten the meaning of grace because they have moved away from the gospel and have slipped into a performance relationship with God.”
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1576839893&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr