Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I just read Acts 5.  For those of you not familiar with this chapter, the apostles (Jesus' closest followers) appeared before the religious leaders of first century Jerusalem.  The leaders told the apostles not to talk about Jesus.  Peter and the other apostles replied by saying that they must obey God, rather than man.  The leaders had the apostles flogged, and sent them on their way.

I noticed something interesting as I read this passage.  The motives of the religious leaders are jealousy, and fear of appearing guilty.  These are pretty petty reasons to punish someone, but then again these leaders were apparently pretty petty men with no confidence in their position of authority.  If they really thought they were God's teachers, why were they so afraid of Jesus?  True teachers don't fear the truth even when it is uncomfortable, and they don't fear falsehood because the truth shows it for what it is.  Their fear came from a realization that Jesus presents a truth they didn't want to embrace.

Then I went back to the apostles, and thought about Peter's response to their orders.  Why obey these petty pathetic cowards over God?  Even though they had the power to flog or kill the apostles, Peter saw them for who they were.  Cowards afraid to stand up for the truth.  Peter and his friends chose to obey God rather than man.  Given the quality of the men who wanted their obedience, the choice seems simple.

We who follow Christ must neither fear, nor answer to cowardly petty people.  Answer to God.  Be brave in proclaiming the truth.

Be brave!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Paul and Covey

This evening, our Bible study read chapters 2 and 3 of Romans.  We discussed the Jewish Law  (the first five books of the Bible) and how it does a great job of showing us our sin, but it is useless in removing sin.  Only Jesus saving work through His death and resurrection can save us.

Later tonight I was reading Stephen Covey's book The Speed of Trust.  For those of you not familiar with Covey's book, it's about trust and ethics.  It is not written from a Christian perspective.  For all I know Stephen Covey could be an atheist, Christian, or Hindu.  His spiritual beliefs have not come into the discussion in the book yet (and likely never will).  Yet he unintentionally hit on a point very similar to what we read in Romans. 

Covey quotes Alan Greenspan (former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve), "Rules cannot take the place of character."

This is a good summary of our Roman's discussion tonight.  At the time of Paul's writing, the rules of the Old Testament had been around for centuries.  Yet there was very little difference between a culture that had access to The Law and those that did not.  Rules can't change a person's heart.  Each of us is fallen and sinful.  That's why we need Jesus.

Of course, Jesus did not come to institute a new set of rules.  The Law needs no revision.  It does its job with the perfection God intended.  Measuring tape can show you if a piece of wood is the right shape, but it can't cut it for you.  This does not mean it is bad.  It does what it was intended to do.  The Law is a measuring tape.  Jesus is the carpenter.  He came to change hearts.  He came to free us from the rules.

Covey hit on this point as well when he quoted Albert Camus, "Integrity has no need for rules."

Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death.  His work on the cross not only saves us from Hell and grants us access to Heaven.  It cleans our hearts and makes us a new creation.  Jesus frees us by making us people of integrity.  I wish the process would happen faster.  I tire of seeing flaws in my life, and I look forward to my final liberation from sin on the day of His return.  Yet there is undoubtedly a change happening in my life.  I am not the man I once was, and I am not the boy I was before that.  The medicine has been given.  The cure is taking effect.  Jesus has freed me from my sinful life, and He continues to free me.

He can free you too if you believe.