The Law and Grace. Day twenty-three...
During the late 1990s about a dozen friends and I all packed into my Suburban and another vehicle to make a trip to Pensacola Florida. A revival service had started about a year earlier that was drawing considerable national attention.
I hadn't yet experienced, in my early Christian life, anything that I considered to be a manifestation of the supernatural power of God. And I wanted to go where there appeared to be some spiritual action!
I didn't know what to expect. At that point in time I still thought I was supposed to cry out to God and hope He would somehow hear me, and honor me with His presence. At that point in time I still thought my relationship with God was all about my performance.
It was my hope that if I went to a place where God's presence was manifesting, I might have some type of a breakthrough to help me make some progress.
I was obsessed with what I thought were the performance standards of the Lord—and also my lack of measuring up to those standards. I had hoped that something good would rub off on me if I could just get to these meetings (known as the Brownsville Revival).
Talk about a conscience of my sins!
As we discussed yesterday, I had a conscience of my sins—such a conscience of my sins that before we left for Florida I sat down and completely filled one page of a yellow legal pad with all my failings. I suppose I thought that if I could beat God to the punch it might go easier for me.
I had prepared myself ahead of time for what I thought would be the Lord's discipline—surely an inevitability at some point during the meetings. And I was ready to take my medicine.
Do you recognize yourself in my story?
If you can't relate to what I was going through at that time, I am thankful. You have a lot less baggage to get rid of. If you do understand, however, you know what the pain of never measuring up feels like.
Whether or not you understand my perspective, I believe this was similar to the perspective of those old‐covenant worshipers of God who had no way to get right with Him except by following the law. And who—since they couldn't follow the law—tried to make up for it with the offering of sacrifices to cover their sins.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (Hebrews 10:1–4 KJV)
It was not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take away their sins back then. And it is not possible for any of the modern‐day sacrificial contortions we go through to take away our sins either.
Only Jesus takes away sins.
First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. (Hebrews 10:8–10 NLT)
That is reason for celebration, but only if we give up the old and take up the new.
This is our challenge: To properly understand the intent of the law, yes—but to also fully immerse ourselves in God's grace so that we get our focus off of our sins and on to living a life in His grace.
I'll finish my story about the revival next time.
Have a good day,