There are many wonderful things in life that begin well and then become dead weight. Buying a house is one of those. We are now in an era when people buy houses and pay against a large debt for 15–30 years. It doesn’t take too long for the joy of home “owning” to be faced with the frustrations of maintenance, flaws, age, vision changes, life changes, and so on. It doesn’t have to be a house. It could be a car. It could be student loans. It could be your job.
The Law wasn’t intended to be life-giving. It was intended as God-oriented living protection. If you followed the law, there was a framework that guided one into a righteous life.
Somehow this became twisted, and the Law became life.
“Whoever does not put this law into practice is cursed.” (Deuteronomy 27:26)
This does not say that the Law is life. It says that not following the Law results in bad consequences. Within the Law there were “resets” built in. Sins, errors in judgment could be dealt with. Life could move on.
However, there is a difference when it is a lifestyle. This is not about ignorance. This is not about an unbeliever. This is about those who declare God their God and live in such a way that they have not put God first in their lives.
What becomes the struggle is “proving” that God is first in our lives. Often, we “prove” it by living a more “holy” life. The Church of the Nazarene, for example, was long known for its stances against alcohol, smoking, and dancing. Not doing these things was the mark of “holiness” but is what the areas of broken relationships where these things occurred that was the real issue.
When holiness (or the appearance thereof) become chains rather than freedom, then holiness has become the Law. If that is the case, then that might make a lie out of, “who the Son sets free is free indeed,” because then, it seems, we want to find new chains to live in.
1) What are some Christian “rules” that you can think of? How do you think they became rules?
2) What rules can you think of that were intended to “give” or “preserve” life, but ended up chaining it? Does that make the rule bad?
3) What is a family rule that you wish wasn’t a family rule? Why?
Jesus, you called us to a life of following you. Help up discern freedom from chains as we try to follow your way. Amen.