Thursday, January 9, 2014

Always Aspire to Comply with the Full Counsel of God

A minister I hold in high regard recently said “Good News! –There is even “grace” for those who are attacking the “grace message!”  I say in response, “More Good News!—There is even “law” for those who are attacking the “law message!”  Grace and Law are obverse ideas, two sides of one coin; attack one, you attack both.

We all know the new covenant is all of grace (especially the mature); we also know that the law is holy and eternal, never to be done away with (along the ideas of discarding it away like trash anyways).  Rather, it was (and is) fulfilled and transfigured and internalized from an external fiat to an internal nature.

In pictorial form it looks something like a barb-wired fence guarding and defining with parameters a spacious but still technically limited pasture plot; a place where the freedom of man and the sovereignty of God coexist in harmony.

Sheep are supposed to be in the center foot-hills on designated paths following their Shepherd, but they technically have the freedom to roam about wherever they desire.  Instead of an onerous external restraint of law to keep them in order and safe, however, is a kind internal constraint of grace infused into their new nature.

Nonetheless, they do not always obey either their Shepherd or their new nature perfectly.  Thankfully the law is a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ; the barb-wired parameter is that law in our picture.  The Lord leaves the ninety-nine and seeks the one when he comes up missing.

Law IS grace in that when the sheep goes astray from keeping close to Jesus and the inner paths, he entangles himself in its barb-wired outer-limit fence and is thereby graciously kept from falling over the cliff into a premature death.  It is hoped that while thus captured no wolf will come to eat him; Jesus is of course diligent and caring beyond any, and never fails to hear the bleat of his fallen and rebellious sheep.

These words of G. Campbell Morgan might help shed some more light on the subject: “We do not believe He is the slave of His own laws.  At the same time we do not believe in a God who is lawless, but law-abiding.  His knowledge of all law is, however, such as to enable Him in the overruling of one law by another so to perform what to our limited vision appears to be miraculous.  Our doctrine of God makes us believe that it is possible for Him to do in answer to prayer that which appears to be contrary to law, but which is in reality wrought by the operation of a law of which we know nothing in relation to another law of which we know something.”

Grace is simply the out-working of the inner-working of Law written on the heart.  Grace is Law fulfilled; an attack on grace is therefore also an attack on law, and vice versa.  But a paradox to us is a panorama to God; the junction of two ends or opposite poles is only irreconcilable to the linear-thinking human mind.  But to the multi-dimensional mind of God, who knows and experiences all things as possible, that which appears to us as attacks and collisions are hardly more than the processes which are designed to lead us to deeper and more dimensional truth.  Laws, attacks and collisions are made into grace, love-taps and reconciliations, not so much in substance or by circumstance, as in attitude and by surrender to God’s will to do anything He desires irrespective of our agreement with it.

An article just posted today (1/9/14) on the Elijah List, by Bob Hartley with Michael Sullivant, said: “He (God) told me that we presently know 1% of the 100% of the knowledge of God that He wants to reveal to us in this life, not to even mention what the future age will reveal about Him. It's not that the divine attributes revealed in Scripture will be contradicted by what we learn, but it's that WE SO EASILY MISUNDERSTAND AND MISJUDGE HIS GREAT HEART AND HIS MANIFOLD WISDOM AND THOUGHTS REGARDING THE PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS IN OUR WORLD” (I capitalized what he bolded so it would remain accentuated in this FB format).  I agree; we are too blind to see the entire landscape, a panoramic landscape which is inclusive of both law fences, grace lands, and many other things of which our imagination has yet to grasp. 

We that see more than others are always both more free and more restrained; we are like a parent who is free to do anything he wants on one hand, but is not free to do anything he wants on the other hand (because of children).  Because of love, we must place ourselves under law for the sake of those who cannot live without law: children.  Likewise, the mature in Christ, who are free to do anything they want (being set free for freedom’s sake), who indeed have grace unlimited, for the sake of love, relinquish their freedom of their own free-will to express it through the constraint of law to babes in understanding who are not yet ready to live unencumbered by external force.  Sight and maturity comes with more freedom to make more choices, but also more responsibility for which choices we eventually make.

Love demands that we become all things to all men, not by arbitrary fiat, but by its humble nature.  Indeed, I agree with Apostle Paul: “Although I am free in every way from anyone’s control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ]. To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to men under the Law, [I became] as one under the Law, though not myself being under the Law, that I might win those under the Law. To those without (outside) law I became as one without law, not that I am without the law of God and lawless toward Him, but that I am [especially keeping] within and committed to the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law.  To the weak (wanting in discernment) I have become weak (wanting in discernment) that I might win the weak and overscrupulous. I have [in short] become all things to all men, that I might by all means (at all costs and in any and every way) save some [by winning them to faith in Jesus Christ]” (1 Corinthians 9:18-22 Amp.).