The Law and Grace. Day fifty-four
When living in Chicago, I had a musician friend with whom I shared three different apartments—since at the time we were both struggling to make ends meet.
The first place we rented was furnished—a second‐story apartment so close to the CTA's elevated train … I could practically touch the passing trains with a broom handle through my bedroom window.
Needless to say, we moved as soon as we could find a better deal. But our second apartment had no furniture. And we had no money—being starving artists and all.
Whether we paid her a little something for it or she just gave it to us, I can't remember. But we got a single mattress and box spring set from a neighborhood lady, whose kids were now grown and gone.
We had to decide how we were going to split up the set. The mattress was obviously the better sleeping choice—but there was the issue of the big urine stain. So I had no trouble in settling for the box spring, while my roommate chose the mattress.
I suppose I slept on that box spring for a couple of years—long enough to forget what a real bed was like.
My frame of reference for sleeping had become the surface of a bunch of springs tied together and covered with a thin blanket.
Our frame of reference for living as Christians can be equally dysfunctional.
Some of us sleep on the box spring of what we think is grace, but what is really a life of disregard for the commandments of God. And others of us sleep on the box spring of what we think is grace, but what is really a life of trying to honor the commandments of God without His grace to do so.
To ever get any real rest physically, a mattress and a box spring must be put together as intended. To ever get any real rest spiritually, the intent of God's law and the wonder of His grace must also be put together as intended.
Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 5:17–48, makes demands of us that are humanly impossible to carry out.
As an example on one side of the issue:
No matter how performance oriented “Joe” is as a Christian, he can't even come close to never entertaining a moment of lust or anger or any other violation of God's commandments in his head. Maybe he can avoid the bad behavior most of the time. But avoid the thought—no way!
As an example on the other side of the issue:
No matter how determined “Sally” is to live free from performance as a Christian, she simply can't ignore what Jesus says in His sermon on the mountain about obedience. But she doesn't want to go back to a life of trying to perform in order to please God.
So what's the answer?
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch
bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already
because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in
the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine,
can you, unless you abide in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:1‐8 (NKJV)
“Without Me,” Jesus says, “You can do nothing.”
It's time to put two and two together, and get some rest by allowing Jesus to immerse your life in His.
Have a good day,