Friday, November 28, 2008

"Yeah but" you have been Forgiven

Galatians 6:11-18 (ESV)
See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. [12] It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. [13] For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. [14] But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. [15] For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. [16] And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
[17] From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
[18] The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
A new creation. That is what we Christians are, a new creation. Paul ends the letter on a Gospel note. He shows the hypocrisy of those who emphasize circumcision, they break the law. This tends to be true of all who emphasize some point of the law, and neglect the Gospel. Those who preach works, don’t do the works they need to. Those who preach the law don’t do the law. And I’ll be honest here neither do I. I don’t follow the law like I should. I don’t do as many good turns as I could. I walk around in a cloud of thought completely oblivious to those around me. And I’ll be honest again. I enjoin my parishioners to do good works, works I often fail to do myself. I preach the law to my congregation, the law I tend to break. But I don’t leave it there. Or I try not to. Actually once I tried to. I felt to guilty. I had to throw a “yeah but” in after the law. “Yeah but” you’ve been forgiven. And that is the best way to use a “yeah but” after the law, not after the Gospel. Yeah but you have been forgiven, me too.

5 comments:

steve martin said...

"Yeah but"

I love it! After the Law...it is great..."you are forgiven!"

That's the only 'yeah but' that is worth a darn...and a whole lot more!

Anonymous said...

I love that turn around on the "yeah but", after Law and not Gospel. Most of the time the "yeah but" comes after the Gospel to reassert or re-engage the law. That fear of just being plain forgiven which actually produces the fruit to which the law alludes.

Those who repreach the law even as a way to engage "good works" don't realize how bad it makes things. It starts out innocent, just want people loving each other or some moral issue. Then slowly over time the Christian comparing comes out and it begets itself in hidden gossiping about "so and so" over there. How they need to get up to "my law" or "the law" that "I've achieved". We don't, as Christians, call it Law or works salvation but its manifestation or fruits begin revealing its barbs. Slow creeping gossip for so and so over there not so accomplished as group A, then some "humble prayer about so and so or that less spiritual group within the congregation", then or rather already divisions begin forming. These are not rankly obvious divisions but just "nice divisions". It's usually not rank Pharisism. But similar to down here in the south as opposed to the north. In the north people usually speak frank with you about something, down here we tend to smile, and shake hands, all the while putting the knife in the back. It's very subtle and sugar coated, these divisions. And it all starts with some reassertion of law or "something to do". We forget that the Gospel alone is the power, that release that it brings as opposed to the tightening you see with the Pharisees.

Luther was right that we cannot help but to use the law wrongly. If a certain moral or law issue happens to be something I'm outwardly stronger at, I will not be able help myself but to think or prayer (even if I don't formerly do so) with false humility, "I thank you God that I am not like so and so and only by your grace..."

Great stuff,

Larry

steve martin said...

Larry,

"I am glad I am not like other men."

Yep. That's what happens when we try and put the Law to use for our justification.

Bror Erickson said...

Glad you liked the post Larry,

Rudi said...

Larry
Did I read Right?
"_______It's usually not rank Pharisism. But similar to down here in the south as opposed to the north. In the north people usually speak frank with you about something, down here we tend to smile, and shake hands, all the while putting the knife in the back."______