Friday, January 04, 2008

The Legalist Within

I'm preaching on Exodus 12:1-29 on sunday, something which i'm very excited about. it's not often one can exhort people to have a 'blood soaked year' and hope to be well received. One of the most shocking and gracious things that i've come up against when studying this passage has been the total lack of requirements God made of Israel. All they were to do was to kill a lamb, and trust in it's blood. They were to have faith that God would see that blood on the door frame and 'pass over' them the night before they left Egypt. And He did.

This really struck me today when i was writing my conclusion. i was keen, desperate even to write some sort of command, to get people to do something as a response to what we'd been looking at. But there were none. Search high and low through Exodus 12 and the closest thing you'll get to a response command it seven verses on remembering the Passover by having a feast. Not exactly the burdensome 'go and make your life better' type of thing that i was after. It's just not there, it's all about the blood. Which should be good news, and in reality of course, is the best news.

But why does my heart seem to hate grace so much? I so desperately want to be given something to do, something to validate me. Pathetically i want to have something i can hold up in front of the Almighty and say 'look at me, aren't i good?' But in fact i'm not, there's nothing good in me that the Lord hasn't put there. But my proud heart doesn't want to be confronted with that, and certainly doesn't want to present it well. And i want to be well thought of after i've spoken. And for whatever reason i think that polluting the Gospel and giving people things to do is the best way to do that. A few days before he died Jim Elliot wrote in his diary 'confession of pride, as suggested by David Brainerd, must become an hourly pursuit'. As it is with me.

Grace is a funny sort of upside down thing. Ask the diligent Muslim how his relationship with God is and he might say something like 'great, i prayed twenty-one last week'. Ask the Christian and he might say 'well...i don't know, i seem to keep on sinning'. Yes! You keep on sinning because you are a person, and thats what people do. But you are under the blood of the ultimate passover lamb...and in on that great and terrible day God will pass over you, because as He killed the first born in the darkness of Egypt, so He killed His firstborn in the darkness at Calvery.

This is grace, hard to grasp, wonderful, upside down, counter cultural. And wholly, infinitely necessary...

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