Pastoral Pondering by Rene Milner
But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. Gal 3:22-26
For many years now God has been leading me on a Journey into understanding of this passage. This year of turmoil in our times has continued to deepen this. Should we get vaccinated? Should we wear a mask? Who is the right political party? Which news station is correct? Who is the right leader? Left and right, black and white, wrong and right seem to be the center of every discussion. We have seen brother pitted against brother and fathers against children and children against parents in an unprecedented manner. Sound like a different Bible passage? It is, but if you look closely it is when Jesus is sending out His disciples to the lost sheep of Israel. He describes the situation with “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matt 10:21-22 Has all this fighting and arguing been truly for His name? Sadly, mostly not. So, should we be saddened by all the arguing and fighting that has happened over the last year? Absolutely, but not because the right arguments are not being won. We should be saddened because we are all so distracted from proclaiming the Name that is above all names. We are distracted from doing what we can to bring people to an understanding of the Name of Jesus. (and I would say we have weakened our case with anger) I can hear people in the Church agreeing, but I am thinking about His body mostly. The world should do what it does. They should sin and go on sinning blindly because that is what a world without Jesus looks like. They should go to war over their opinions, they should bite and devour each other. Not the Body. The Body of Christ should become all that it can to win whomever it can to the Name of Jesus. Everyone should know we are His disciples by the way we love one another. Is there no right and wrong you may ask? Yes, but that is not the point of the Name of Jesus. Jesus came to draw all men unto Himself. That our relationship with Him would be restored. Not that a country or a town or church would know more about Him and assent to Him as God. But that you and I would individually come back into relationship with Him. Think about it. What fractured our relationship with the God of the universe? The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yes, we disobeyed God there. But if it was only the disobedience that mattered then why did the type of fruit matter? Why is it so specific about the fruit? This is the center of the journey that God has been bringing me on. We as people called by His Name (Christians) are some of the worst. We fight and divide over the smallest things. Each of us claiming he is right and the other wrong. We quote scripture and verse trying to be right and to prove our point. We imply and outright accuse, all supposedly in His Name. And I have seen the worst of this in myself.
In previous ponderings I have spoken of some very dark days our family has had with one of our children. To the point of life and death. During this time, I questioned “should I go and serve Him in another land or stay and really be able to do nothing for my child?” I was face to face with God on a street corner trying to hear what was the “right” move? He showed me both were “right” moves. Then He worked what I thought was an impossible either/or situation into a both/and as well as saving my daughter for His glory at the same time. But that is a story for another time. While He was working, He began to reveal to me that right and wrong are not our goal. He does not save us so we can be better humans. He saves us to bring us back to Him and thus bring Glory to His Name! In fact, better than before. Adam and Eve could walk with Him in the cool of the day, but we can walk with Him every moment of every day. Yesterday in the sermon and surrounding discussion I learned how. The missing peace. Yes, all His word is inspired. We should learn of Him in various ways through all His scriptures, but I had never thought of the Psalms as a guidebook to the use and understanding of my very human nature and emotions. Suddenly a whole new world is opened as I recall Psalms and begin to think of them in that paradigm.
He started with a tree in the garden. There we encountered the problem of right and wrong and our eternal inability as humans to deal with it. He ends it with the Tree of Life. “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Rev 22:1-2
In between He lovingly draws us to Him and shows us who He is and how we deal with ourselves until we are together physically with Him. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
The right and wrong is there to teach us how much we need Him. To draw us unto Him. When we have given over our right to be right and have taken on His Name, He will create in us a new being in His time. In the midst of our struggle, let us meditate on His law and do everything that we can to show the world the glory of the Name that, “so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”