Making Up the Rules
Because he made up the rules, my eldest son always won the games he played with his brothers. And so was illustrated life's basic rule: He who makes the rules, wins.
Unbelieving science does this. It does not claim to have absolute truth: it is just a little game that pretends to say nothing about God. Any idea of creation is rejected out of hand because it cannot be evaluated under the "rules of science." It's a cozy little game that any tyrant would be proud of. If something is inconvenient, just define it out of existence.
We do well in the game that is governed by our own rules, but under the rules of reality, we all stand condemned. Those who boast in rules and pretend superiority to "mere Christians" should consider carefully the nature of the law. It can do nothing more than bring forth a fleshly religion made after a "carnal commandment" (Heb. 7:16).
True Christianity does not stand in the power of a carnal commandment. The Christian's relationship to God is not defined by rules, but by his relationship to Christ. We are warned not to be spoiled by the traditions of men and the rudiments of the world, for in Christ dwells "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him" (Col. 2:8-10).
In attempting to find God's blessing by the law, we end in self-righteous arrogance, for no one truly keeps the law. We resort to subterfuges like "I mean well," "At least I am trying," or "I love God in my heart," as if we could settle a million dollar debt with a five-dollar bill.
Remember Huck Finn? With Jim he decided to give up something for Lent. After much soul-searching, they decided to give up watermelon and persimmons. As Huck put it, "Watermelon is out of season, and persimmons ain't never any good." [Actually, my memory of Huck was bad when I wrote this. Huck and Jim were trying to rationalize their stealing, and wrestled with the idea that it was ok if you meant to pay it back. They couldn’t really settle the issue, so decided that they would just steal some stuff, and give up stealing persimmons and crabapples, because crabapples never tasted good and persimmons were out of season. I had the spirit right, but the details wrong. Cwp 2012-07]
All of this has a show of wisdom and wears well before men and may gain us a reputation for zeal and holiness, especially if we are "politically correct" in our choices, or if watermelons are out of season.
Christianity stands in the power of the endless life of Jesus Christ (Heb. 7:16), who lives forever. The relationship is personal and living, not in the deadness of the letter. When a man is connected by faith to the living Christ, new life flows to him, and the law is put into his mind and into his heart (Heb. 8:10). What is written in the heart is not the letter, for the letter kills, but love for Jesus Christ who is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (I Cor. 1:30). He now lives by faith, even the faith of the Son of God, who loved him and gave himself for him. He is finally free, for he knows and loves the Lawgiver, the Judge, and the Purifier, who now stands revealed as his Heavenly Father, His God, who loves Him and forgives him all his sins. Because God is his Forgiving Father, no one shall ever be able to lay anything to his charge. Amen and Amen!!
Pastor C. W. Powell
Trinity Covenant Church
Colorado Springs, Co.