Saturday, September 10, 2011
The End Of Pretending
God’s purpose in giving the law (and it’s exacting requirements) was to prove our inability to keep rules as a way of life, in order to give us Jesus, who is life itself. Knowing and trusting Jesus, and all that He is for us, is the new covenant existence. When any of us make the attempt at life by rules, we’ve traded true life (Jesus) for fake life—the illusion of life by success.
And when that happens, all who make the trade will eventually begin dumbing-down the law. Without God’s permission(!), they will arbitrarily begin decreasing the law’s exact requirements upon themselves because no one can ever keep all of the requirements. And if you fail at one single point, you have failed altogether. (James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.)
If anyone then accepts a less-than-perfect, law-keeping standard, not only does that person miss out on knowing and enjoying Jesus as life, but he must then become a pretender. He must pretend he is “okay” with God, even as he fails to keep and do what God has said he must.
Tragically, there are many who insist on pretending. Ask them, “What percentage of God’s requirements did you keep this week?” They will likely glance downward and say something like, “Well, I did okay. Maybe 70%. But nobody’s perfect, right? There’s always room for improvement.” Then say, “Well, I suppose that means you failed. But tell me, what did you enjoy about God this week? What did He do with you that simply thrilled you?” Their answer should reveal that they missed Him because they were busy doing (and failing at) something else. Presumed failure with God will become the dominant assessment of their relationship with Him, so they won’t check in with Him, they won’t want to know and enjoy Him because they believe He is already unhappy. Until they can make Him happy (100% law-keeping success on their report card), they will choose distance. They will choose the illusion of life by success. And that’s hideous, especially when Jesus has ended that life-by-rule-keeping existence altogether.
Life by grace means that you have rejected life by pretending in favor of life by Jesus. Think of the benefits.