Jesus’ death and resurrection marked the beginning of the new covenant of grace, pointing towards the heavenly Mount Zion. Living by faith in Jesus meant rejecting the old life, and it also meant being rejected by the people who still lived the ways of the old life.
Not all the guilt we feel is ours. Often enough, we feel guilt because it gives us some sense of control over something that seems terrible to us. Then, if can only atone in some way....
Families handled grief in all kinds of ways, but fragile irritability was often the first stop. That is, after numb shock.
Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
Yesterday was about grace, but the results of grace returned in unexpected, and seemingly disastrous ways. Grace restores what is good, but the process can be so disruptive it may feel more like a tearing down than a building up, more like a taking away than a restoring.
You would think we would embrace grace wholeheartedly, we would be mad in love with grace. But, we are not. We have made a life that works in the world we know. Grace disrupts all that, and we can be just as prone to resist and reject as to revel and receive.
The scribes and Pharisees condoned and rationalized their own sin while at the same time were eager to see sin punished in other people’s lives, even to the death, rather than to see them forgiven and restored. Who might you and I want to see punished, instead of repent? How willing are we to let that go and pray for Jesus to restore them instead?
Anytime you or I try to relate to God through performance, we have forgotten the Gospel. But you and I are to do everything out of love, out of compassion, out of a humble desire to sacrifice our own comforts in order to build each other up. If you and I believe in Jesus Christ and love the brethren, we will try not do things that offend.
God knows life is filled with tragedy. Sin is ugly, but God is the God of beauty, and in Him you and I can overcome these things. At the end of the Bible, in Revelation, God is sitting on His throne and all around is a perfect rainbow, not half an arc, but a whole circle, heaven and earth finally made one.
Some warm to the largely comforting and hopeful philosophy that babies are born pure and innocent, and it’s the morally unhealthy culture, surrounding society, that inclines us to sin. Others argue that to believe such a theory takes a person off the hook—my sin is always someone else’s fault, rather than owning we are born sinful.