Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Performance Oriented

My reading for today was from Luke 24:44-53.

As of late, my journaling has shown me where my concerns are:
I want to live for Christ.
I want to leave behind a good reputation
My love for my wife.

The one thing that is really central to my thinking of two of the above listed concerns is death. I have had to think about this recently. Not that I am sick or my wife, she is fine. But there are three people whom my wife and I interact with and one other person at church who are dealing with very serious illness. So, maybe it is natural for me to put myself in their shoes. I can’t really. But, I have tried to imagine.

Does any Christian stop to consider what life was like for a Jew prior to Christ having removed the burden of The Law?

As men grew consciously aware of getting close to their last days, did they think, “I wonder, did I live life well?” The Old Testament Jew had a different focus from what I am about to say. And here it is: Somehow, we live performance oriented.

Under the Law of The Old Testament, performance was futile. However, I have no doubt the overwhelming majority competed fiercely with themselves if not with one another. But still, performance meant nothing, only observance of the law mattered, and one would wonder, ‘for what’?

That would be answered by what imagery David set up for us when he called God his Shepherd.

A shepherd is the path finder and protector of the flock. And that is what God did. In His goodness, He provided a way for man to follow, that their relationship with God would be secure.

The Law pointed to something significant; The Christ and God’s redemption. The Old Testament Jew may have looked at The Law as a basis for a superficial relationship with God. The Jew's eternal future was in the hope of a savior who would visit men of the past and rescue them from the sleeping bed of the grave. Even with this hope, would they strive before death? Could the Old Testament Jew, steeped in the traditions set up to prevent them from breaking God’s commands do enough to be deserving of this hope? “Will I be left in the grave for not having done enough?”

Romans 8:3 tells us that the Law was powerless to save a man because of our sinful nature.
Romans 5:6 says Christ died for the ungodly man.

Man could only strive so desperately prior to Christ providing a way.

Man’s experience in attempting to find a relationship with God prior to the redemption Christ provided must have been inconceivably difficult. It must have been like having to make up for hurting a close friend or relative so badly and spending the rest of your life offering gifts and sheepish smiles. One would go heavy distances to be a source of happiness to that person, because you truly wanted forgiveness. But the pain of the one you love but hurt will never go away for either of you. The more you present yourself to that beloved person, the more you serve as a reminder of the pain.

It is just hopeless! You are expected to perform even though it gets you nowhere. If you do not perform for reconciliation that will get you nowhere, you are penalized for not trying. Hopeless! But, then, the afflicted does something that is completely humbling. The afflicted elevates His pain to an insurmountable anguish and offers His Son as a sacrifice in order to reconcile the hurt that caused damage to the relationship. But this time around we observe only one law. We humble ourselves and say ‘thank you’.

Unlike the passion one had to observe the Law, we still perform, only, the motive changes. We demonstrate our appreciation by doing what is asked; and this is so odd.
We find favor with our fellow man. Love one another. Do kindness and pass through this world knowing we will have achieved fulfillment of the command, “love one another” by the memory we will leave behind.

Forget that we’ve long offended God. He has!
Accept that the standard was met. God took off his robe and stepped onto the Earth as a man to fulfill the standard that was intended for us.


Vicki said...

I can see your pain for our friends and your deep desire to say thank you to Our Lord by your actions.
Yes, the Jews, perhaps even today,find the path to heaven by obeying the Law. We Accept the Atonement offered by Jesus the Christ, Only Begotten Son of the Father. Praise God!

jeleasure said...

Thanks Hun,
I'll see you downstairs. It is time for bed.

thekingpin68 said...

Man’s experience in attempting to find a relationship with God prior to the redemption Christ provided must have been inconceivably difficult.

Thankfully the gospel message and new covenant clarify many issues in regard to how a person can be in fellowship with God. Grace through faith is of course a key.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Russ,
I appreciate your comments. It is odd to think of something intangible, (the Grace of God) bringing people around the world to a point of kinship. However, very much the reality.
It may be possible for yourself to meet my wife and I in the future. My father's side of the family (his dad) have their roots in Canada. I want to do some research to see if I can pinpoint the area and possibly visit one day. God willing.

thekingpin68 said...

Sounds good, and hopefully I will end up teaching all over at times. There is much of the US I would like to see.

jeleasure said...

One of the best things I can think of for a travling minister/teacher is to know people around the world. Then you go to visit, have a church to go to, maybe a guest speaker gig, then a guided tour.
So, if you can ever come to Richmond, Virginia, you come prepared to speak and get a tour.
If I come to Canada, I'll be prepared to teach one of your classes "everything" I know about what ever it is you are teaching. Then, I'll allow your students to take us to lunch, as it would be their honor, of course. And, maybe you would not have to guide the tour. If lunch goes o.k., we'll allow your students to hang out with us! Sounds exciting. I can't wait.
I hope you were laughing and not cringing.
My name is James Leasure and I do not approve of this message!

Truth4thejourney said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I am in the process of changing the name to "truth 4 the journey", but my up to date posts are under the name (or blessed with 6 from my profile page).

I have often wondered how the jews ever felt redeemed. I suppose that after the priests would sacrifice it would give them a sense of temporary peace, but what do they do today? Their own laws say that their must be a blood sacrifice, so how do they have atonement for their sins today?

Hopefully, they will turn to Jesus as their savior! We can never do enough or be good enough to enter heaven, Romans 5:8 says, "But God has shown us how much he loves us---it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!"

The most amazing thing to me is that God chose me while I was still a sinner!! (Yes I realize that I am not perfect and still sin today, but I have the blood of Jesus now!)

Have a blessed week! Keep studying.