The Law and Grace. Day forty-three...
After I rejected the Christianity of my youth, I began searching for something that would save me. At first I thought it was music.
When I moved to Chicago to study with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I buried myself not only in practice time on my trombone—I also buried myself in the music of Gustav Mahler and other late‐romantic composers.
Somehow, I assumed these great composers had achieved a sort of salvation from their humanness. Otherwise, how could they have composed works of art that seemed to transcend human frailty?
This was but one of many unsuccessful attempts I made to reconcile my human nature with the idealism that kept reminding me of something better than what I was experiencing.
Although probably quite different from mine, you have had your own journey in trying to reconcile the part of you that is always decent with the part of you that can do nothing but fail.
Picture yourself, as you are on this journey, coming upon a very large crowd of people listening to a man speak with an authority you had never before experienced:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3–12 (NKJV)
This man is reading your mail. He is directly addressing that conflict within you:
- The weakness of your spirit in fulfilling your ideals
- The sorrow of your losses over the years
- The condescension of others who view you as weak
- The desire to do the right thing but the inability to do so
- The compassion you have toward others that constantly pulls on your heart strings
- The cleanness of your heart that's surrounded by filth
- The desire to bring reconciliation between people, even where it's not welcome
- The heat you take for trying to be the kind of person who is devoted to God
You've never heard anything like this before (and neither has anyone else). You wonder, “Can this man actually reconcile my human nature with the part of me that wants to be decent and noble?”
Yes, He can—and then some.
Jesus did the impossible—what no one or nothing had ever been able to do. Jesus reconciled us to God. Or, better stated, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17–19 NKJV)
Please, please do not assume that your acceptance of this reconciliation is a contract to be fulfilled only when you die. And that you must suffer through this life in a constant struggle of trying to do what is right in the midst of all that is wrong. Oh, there is a struggle, but not in the way you've been experiencing.
Yes, Jesus will ultimately make all things new with the new heaven and the new earth:
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold,
tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they
His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will
away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor
crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:3–5a NKJV)
But Jesus has already made it possible for us to change the infrastructure of our lives at any moment we wish. “All things have become new” right now—maybe in a way much more limited than in heaven, but in a far greater way, in this life here on this earth, than we can ever think or imagine.
Have a good weekend,