Monday, November 5, 2012
Welcome to Day 309 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Job 28:28, “And he said to the human race, ‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'”
Job 29:21, “People listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. 22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more; my words fell gently on their ears. 23 They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain. 24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.”
Galatians 1:7, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Galatians 2:14, “I said to Peter in front of them all, ‘You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? ‘We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.'”
It’s easy to fall into hypocrisy…
Even Peter, who had a personal vision from the Lord about going to the Gentiles fell back into legalism and ultimately, hypocrisy. (The sheet with all manner of animals, the Lord spoke to him and said, “Peter, kill and eat.” indicating that all foods were “clean,” and ultimately to prepare him that the Gentiles would also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. See Acts 10).
It’s easy to abuse whatever personal freedoms we may have (see Romans 14) and live one way and to put things on other people.
Paul said even Barnabas was “led astray,” and had begun teaching one thing, but living differently.
Keep in mind, they had 1,500 years of tradition, beginning with circumcision and observing the Sabbath, observing all the festivals, offering sacrifices at the temple and living according to the Law of Moses.
Initially Peter had fellowship with the Gentiles (remember Cornelius and his family?) but over time, began to draw back from fellowship with them… Perhaps even suggesting that they needed to be circumcised in order to be saved.
Sitting here on my couch 2,000 years later, it’s easy to criticize and shake my head and ask, “What happened to Peter?? How could he do that??” as though it has never happened to me, or could ever happen…
We have our traditions and struggles… they are just different.
For instance, any real Christian will or won’t do these certain things… You know the list of modern-day Christian dos and don’ts… Don’t eat or drink this or that, don’t watch these types of movies or listen to this type of music. Don’t frequent these types of places.
Do this list of Christian activities… Go to church every week. Maybe twice. Read five chapters of the Bible every day. (We’ve got that one down pretty good!) Tithe. Serve the poor. Be in a small group. Etc, etc, etc…
What about movies and music? The rating, style or content that is found to be “acceptable.”
And all things on both lists are good and important characteristics of being a Christian, right up to where we begin to believe it makes us a better “Christian.” Or, that if you don’t do all the things on that list that your Christianity may be in question. Or your character…
Here’s the thing, all the items on those lists are good…
Unless we begin to believe that they somehow add something to our salvation, which is only by grace, through faith.
It’s not Grace through faith + Anything = Salvation.
It’s Grace through faith = Salvation.
Obviously lifestyle issues come into play at some point. Paul wrote in Philippians that we should “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”
As we will see in the upcoming chapters in Galatians, Paul talked about the works of the flesh and living by the Spirit.
It’s funny, it hit me like a ton of bricks when I read that “even Barnabas was led astray.” And he was the one, who some 14 years prior, had mentored Paul, when no one else would.
I’m sure he did that with the best of intentions, too. Perhaps Barnabas, in his efforts to reach out to others put himself into compromised situations with new believers?
I wonder in what areas of my life I may have been “led astray?”
I had a steak the other day… a ribeye… I ate it, and enjoyed it… to a point… right up to the point where in my heart I find myself wondering if it’s… “ok?”
Wondering if this is from the Lord? Or just another item to add to my own personal list of dos and don’ts?
But when I read in Leviticus 10 “Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood—I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, ‘None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood.'” it makes me seriously search my heart and soul.
That’s pretty strong language. And that principle hasn’t changed… the life still is in the blood… even though we no longer sacrifice animals, since Christ paid that price.
I know all that… but still, I get a check in my gut (in my spirit?) when I eat a medium rare steak. I no longer enjoy it like I used to.
But I haven’t figured out why…
I just hear in my head that verse in Leviticus about the life is in the blood… and none of you may eat blood… and I don’t enjoy it.
Let me make this perfectly clear… this is my issue. I am not suggesting this is a doctrine for anyone and everyone. I’m just trying to be transparent about how that verse has impacted me this year. I know that eating a steak doesn’t impact my salvation… I don’t think it’s a matter of “right and wrong” either. I just know that principle of the life being in the blood hasn’t changed. I see that as an eternal truth and am trying to see if and how it fits into my life today.
I am writing this journal entry two days later than the date on this blog suggests, as I was out of town at my daughter’s wedding, and travel made it difficult to keep up. (Not with the reading, just the html journalling…) What I am saying is that hopefully fewer people will see this, as I don’t want to put my personal ponderings on anyone else… None of us needs anyone adding to our list of dos and don’ts.
I know I don’t.
Lord help us as we sort through these types of issues as we are working out our salvation with fear and trembling…