Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21

2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11; Romans 7:1-13; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 19:22-23

Today in our Old Testament reading, we see the fulfillment of many promises – one, that David’s son would build God’s house; two, that it would be in the chosen city of Jerusalem; and three, that the ark of the covenant would be in the temple. We’ve read of this dedication before, in 1 Kings 9, but as recounting history was so important to the Jews, to keep them aligned with God’s covenant, it makes sense that they would record this historic event in multiple places. And I love the song that is raised to God: “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (2 Ch. 5:13); simple, yet so true.

And then we read our New Testament reading, which is anything but simple. There have been countless theologians writing countless articles and books and journals on Paul’s theology of the Law (or if he even had one, according to some). I can’t, in a blog post like this, begin to bring a consensus to this very complex issue. And maybe you’ve been confused in the past before, too, about what exactly Paul means when he talks about the law, or being under the law, or dying to the law, all of which are mentioned in our passage today. But let’s not let the complexity of some of these upcoming passages keep us from continuing to engage in God’s word and what he has for us.

Look at these beautiful words from our Romans reading: “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6). For the Jew, being released from the law would have meant giving up the Jewish markers (like circumcision, food laws, etc.) and welcoming the Gentiles into the fold. It would have meant realizing it’s Jesus alone who saves and that racial heritage doesn’t matter. For us, being released from the law probably looks different – it means freedom from our past habits and our way of life before being a Christian. It means letting go of the things that defined us before we surrendered ourselves to Jesus. We have died to that former way of life, to the old things that tied us down. We have new life in the Spirit – praise God!

All of that ties in so beautifully with our Proverbs: “The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm” (Pr. 19:23). LIFE. That’s what this Christian journey is about – not slavery, not a set of rules, not drudgery or boredom but LIFE. Jesus came to give us abundant life now, not just in eternity. Let’s live that way!!

- Esther McCurry

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