Oct. 11, 2017

Eyes Up

I know it is easy for me to get frustrated with the current state of affairs across the globe. It seems many of us look for ways to make God’s point bluntly and profoundly. I’m seeing more and more Christians filling up social media with God’s Old Testament message of anger and wrath. Pastors’ proclamations from the pulpit teaching we’ve made God mad and He isn’t going to take it anymore seems to be on the rise.

While I understand the importance of the Old Testament and cherish its foundational teachings, I’m not sure we can apply Old Testament Law to the New Covenant life that Christ offers. What I find in the New Testament is more of God relaying the message that our world will continue a downward spiral, but His encouragement to us is to look up! Literally, look up!

I do not see where quoting Old Testament Law draws others to Christ or truly represents Christ’s offering of grace. I do find the New Testament talking about Christ being the Word made flesh. I also see Christ urging us to remember that the lessons learned in the Law are very important, but if we focus on the Law we are missing the point.

In Revelation, there are warnings to churches. These churches were actual bodies during the writer John’s time. The messages seem to describe today’s church culture. I still do not see Christ teaching us to go back and depend on the Law. He continually asks us to rely on Him and to steer others into a Christ-reliant relationship. Am I missing something?

Look, for example, in Galatians 3. Paul addresses misled believers who were reverting to old teachings instead of embracing a new life in Christ:

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” Galatians 3:1-5

Christ’s commands to His followers were to go, teach, baptize and be His witnesses (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). Do we really understand our call is to share Him; not to spread fear or declare condemnation on His behalf? I realize I struggle with sticking to His plan as the world grows more and more corrupt. I must focus. Know the plan. Work the plan.

When in doubt, I go back to the basics: “For God so loved this world that He gave His one and only Son. Whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.” John 3:16

When we preach, pray and share mankind’s need for salvation and Christ’s generous solution saturated in grace, I suspect we’ll see better results.

I know how easy it is to focus on everything that is wrong in our world. I suspect that’s why we are taught to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.