Practical Theology

Bible reading is both an art and a science. The Holy Scriptures are meant to pierce all of our heart and all of our mind. We cannot neglect the expressive, emotional aspect the Bible carries into our lives. These things are important as we draw nearer in our relationship to Christ. However, we cannot neglect the intellectual and rational minds our God has given us; Christianity is a thinking-man’s religion.

I’m not sure if there isn’t one person who doesn’t struggle with giving either their heart or their mind more weight than it is due. I know this is something I regularly struggle with. On the one hand, we can turn Christianity into a feel-good self-improvement program that is all about positive feelings. With no backbone and having never been encouraged to actually think about the text, people misrepresent or leave the faith in countless numbers.

On the other hand, it is entirely possible to academize and intellectualize the faith. Pursuing only knowledge, people lord their education over others while failing to magnify our great God and apply it to their lives. These are two extremes that we must take care to avoid at all costs.

It is my intention in this post to provide some insight as to how I attempt to avoid either extreme. The things I list in these posts will inform future articles and I will likely reference them often.

1) Everything Must Point to the Gospel

I am so thankful for gospel-centered preaching. It is the food that nourishes, supplies and helps further Christ’s church today. Living in a time post-Christ, we have been gifted and blessed with God’s full revelation in Jesus. Because of this, when we read the Biblical text it is essential we read it in light of the life, death and resurrection of Christ. There is no aspect of the Scriptures that shouldn’t inform our view of Christ in some way.

This is easy for most of the New Testament. The gospels all tell of the life and redemptive work of Christ, and the remaining epistles all continually point back to Christ. The area we struggle with this the most is in the Old Testament. Since this is pre-Christ and often appears to be a series of unrelated stories, we so easily fall into the trap of forgetting the text is all about God-man.

A helpful text for this is Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” The key words here are all the Scriptures. There isn’t one text in the Old Testament that doesn’t inform us to Christ’s work on the cross, and we must therefore engage all of our faculties in understanding the Old Testament in light of the gospel.

Instead of figuring out what the Old Testament stories tell us about Jesus, our first inclination is to instead read ourselves into the story. So we ask questions like “What does this mean to me today?”or “What does this tell me about God working in my life?” These are healthy questions to ask, and can bear good fruit in our lives. These questions however should not be our starting point.

It is instead necessary for us to first ask Christ-centered questions such as “What does this passage tell me about Christ?” or “Where is Christ in this Old Testament account?” Starting with such questions will diminish our desires to read ourselves into the text, and will instead elevate Christ’s position to its proper place.

Bah-ble study

Courtesy of adam4d.com

There are two examples of this that will be helpful for this discussion. The first of these is the story of Joseph and his brothers. Having been completely abandoned and betrayed by his brothers, Joseph is sold into slavery. The great climax of this story is when Joseph says “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20). We like this text, and we use it in hard times as reassurance that God will bring us out of whatever hole we are in (pun intended). But is this really the meaning of the text? Is this text about how God will be faithful to us and do good things for us?

On the contrary, this text is centrally and entirely about Christ. It is a shadow of the life and sufferings Jesus will endure on our behalf. Like Joseph, Christ would also come and declare his rightful place among the nations – and be rejected for it. Like Joseph, Christ would be betrayed and abandoned by those closest to him – Judas and the other disciples. Like Joseph, Christ would be restored and elevated amongst the people.

Another common example in the Old Testament would be the account of David and Goliath. We all know how the story goes, the little shepherd boy kills the great Goliath with nothing but a slingshot and a sword (after Goliath is knocked unconscious, of course). Today the temptation is to understand this story as allegory. We read ourselves as David and Goliath as all of our life’s problems! If we are as faithful as David, God will help us overcome our difficulties.

Again, this is not the meaning of the text. Arriving at this conclusion is the result of asking the wrong questions. What does this text tell us about Christ? Where is Christ in this story? Similar to Joseph, David is a shadow of Christ in the Old Testament. We are not David – Christ is. Like David, Christ is the unlikely hero who will fight the battle that we could not fight. Christ takes our place, as did David for the Israelite army. It is crucial that this is our starting point for this story. We no longer read it as what God will do for us, but instead we read it as what God has already done for us through Christ.

Before I wrap this thing up, I must briefly mention our understanding of the New Testament. While it is easier for us to see Christ in the New Testament – especially the gospels – we still often start with me-centered questions. The same Christ-centered and gospel-centered approach must apply to the New Testament.

Helpful for our understanding is a passage again from the book of Luke. Luke records the following comment in his gospel from early on in Jesus’ ministry, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9: 51). In the Gospel of Luke, this is only 9 of 24 chapters into the gospel letter. From the beginning Jesus had a mission, and his mission was to come to this earth to take our place and pay a punishment we deserved in our place. Known as the Fathers “Great Commission” to the Son, the prophet Isaiah records a similar idea centuries before Christ walked the earth: “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). When we read the New Testament, even in the accounts in the gospel letters prior to the crucifixion, we must read and understand the text in light of the gospel.

That’s all for today. I quickly realized while writing this that what I intended to be one post must be broken up into four or five posts. Come back tomorrow for more thoughts on how I (try to) read my Bible.

paul

The paper writing is coming to an end, the books are closing and exams are being graded. Seminary: Year One is officially coming to a close. As I look back on my experience over the past 9 months, I can’t help but reflect on the things I’ve learned and grown from in my time so far. Some of these things were expected, many were not.

I’ve taken some time to list out a quick list of my reflections. In no particular order, here are the things I’ve learned in my first year of seminary:

  1. Completing classwork with excellence is very time-consuming and requires an incredible amount of sacrifice.
  2. Knowing that you’ve put your best effort into what you’re called to is genuinely rewarding.
  3. I am eternally grateful for the support and encouragement of friends and family.
  4. The local church is a beautiful thing.
  5. Prayer for the global, visible Church of Christ is necessary.
  6. I did not know everything because I owned an ESV Study Bible.
  7. Pride is a snare and trap that leads to destruction.
  8. Some of my most memorable experiences have been when I was able to witness my professors shed tears over real life circumstances – ministry, loss, and pain (I am grateful for humble professors who lead by example).
  9. More rewarding and fruitful than dropping theology on others is encouraging them and spurring them on in their sanctification.
  10. The less theology I knew, the more I tried to prove my worth to others. The more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.
  11. I used to hate tangents from professors in my undergrad degree, as it often felt like a waste of time. Hearing tangents and soap-boxes now are very rewarding, as it comes in the form of passionate preaching over something that breaks the heart.
  12. Working on what you are passionate about isn’t work at all.
  13. I’ve realized that the sacrifices of my time to devote to my studies also requires the sacrifice of those closest to me.
  14. Balancing full-time work, school, church involvement and relationships isn’t any easier nor does it make any more sense than when I first started.
  15. I am more often wrong than I am right.
  16. Seminary education has led directly to fear of judgement of man.
  17. Seminary is the perfect environment to breed hard-heartedness if you allow it to be.
  18. I could not have finished with excellence without the support of my beautiful fiance.
  19. No matter how much knowledge and ability to explain things is acquired, it is still the grace and mercy of God that illuminates the heart.
  20. Theology word vomit must be refined into concise speech.
  21. I am continually challenged by my peers.
  22. Opposition means nothing to me.
  23. Glorious truths, twisted by wolves, is both angering and profoundly saddening.
  24. Dead languages are fascinating.
  25. The Scriptures are far more intricately connected and tied together than I can possibly comprehend.
  26. There is always another point to consider.
  27. The urban seminary classroom is packed with incredibly bright people far more intelligent than I – surgeons, doctors, engineers, etc.
  28. God’s grace and provision are too great for words.
  29. I desperately need said grace.
  30. Balancing what I want to read with what my professors want me to read is difficult.
  31. Study without prayer is rarely fruitful.
  32. Theology is nothing if not applied.
  33. This is definitely where I am supposed to be.

Jesus and the Adulterous Woman

“Don’t judge me!”

“Christian’s aren’t supposed to judge!”

“Judge not, lest ye be judged!”

Do any of these sound familiar? The above sayings are a few common examples of all-too-often used statements from people who either reject the entirety of the Christian faith, or some of it’s key tenets. Just look at any public discussion – specifically online – where Christianity comes up, and such statements run rampant. But are these sayings accurate? Does Christianity, specifically Jesus himself teach that we aren’t to judge one another?

Haterade

Stop hatin’.

The truth is, everybody want’s Jesus on their side. We live in an age where the majority of the population is Biblically illiterate, and rather than investigate what they hear for themselves they trust the first thing they hear that already agrees with their beliefs. Those who hold to the belief that Jesus’ followers aren’t to judge anyone will often reference either John 8:7 (“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”), or Matthew 7:1 (“Judge not, that you be not judged.”). From a plain reading, one might conclude that Jesus did in fact teach that his followers are not to make any judgment whatsoever. The Bible has a lot to say about judging one another – but since even non-Christians like to quote Jesus to make their point, let us look specifically at these verses in their appropriate contexts to see what Jesus really had to say about judging people.

The Terms

Before we continue, we need to define what it means to even judge someone or something. The classical view of “judgment”, that is the one that exists in the dictionaries and was the understanding in society up until the post-modern era, says this:

  • to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises
  • to determine or pronounce after inquiry and deliberation
  • to hold as an opinion
  • to form an opinion

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary., Eleventh ed. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

By classical standards, to judge someone or something merely means to form an opinion about the object or person in question. Only in our post-modern context does this word carry a negative tone to it – where casting judgment is wrong if it offends someone, or disagrees with something they do or say. We like judgment when it makes us feel good – if we do well on something and we get complimented, we love judgment! However, when people don’t think we did something right or disagree with our actions, all of a sudden we hate judgment and we start yelling at people.

For the remainder of this article, I will be using the classical definition of judgment.

John 8

Let us dive deeper into the passage from John 8. The first key to examining any verse in the Bible is in what context does it fall. I can take any verse out of the Bible and make it say anything I want, the question is – is that what the verse meant in it’s original context?

Starting in verse 1 of chapter 8, Jesus is on his way to the temple. As he was teaching there, the scribes and the Pharisees (the legalistic teachers of the law who were always trying to undermine Jesus and eventually got him placed on the cross) bring a woman to him who was caught in adultery. In verse 4 they say to him “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”

I can only imagine the tension of this encounter. Every time the Pharisees encounter Jesus, they try to catch him in a trap and get him to contradict the law of Moses. It always amazes me to see how Jesus responds, truly showing the ignorance of us petty humans and how we always try to take control of everything. In verse 6, Jesus bends down and began to write with his finger in the ground (Nobody knows for sure what he wrote, as the passage does not say. For you Bible nerds out there, check out Jeremiah 17:13 for a pretty strong connection to say that Jesus may have been writing their names in the sand). As the Pharisees and scribes continue to speak, Jesus responds with the classic go-to line “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John’s gospel goes on to say that when they heard what Jesus said, they began to walk away one by one. Left with merely the woman before him, this encounter concludes with Jesus telling the woman “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Before we draw conclusions from what this passage means, let’s examine the passage from Matthew as well. With both stories in view, our conclusions will make much more sense.

Matthew 7

This passage in Matthew begins with our verse in question right away. Starting in verse 1, “Judge not, that you be not judged…” As we said above, it is absolutely imperative that we take this verse in context and read what the rest of the passage has to say. I will put the remainder of the passage below:

2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Mt 7:2–5.

Plank and speck

Eye Exam
Courtesy of www.adam4d.com – so talented!

Let’s skip to verse 3, and work our way back to verse 2. Verses 3-4 use a speck/log analogy; what Jesus is saying here is that we should not seek to judge a sin in someones life if we struggle with that sin ourselves. As an example, it would be wrong for me to tell my friend to stop lusting after women if I have a deep pornography addiction. Another example would be if I stored up all of my money for myself and gave none of it away to charity and the church, and then told someone else that they weren’t using their money wisely. I would be telling someone to remove the speck from their eye while I had a giant log in mine. Verse 5 tells us that it is hypocritical judgment that Jesus is speaking about. In fact, verse 5 actually tells us to wage war on and confess our own sin before we try to tell someone else they have a similar problem. Finally moving back to verse 2, we see that Jesus is talking about hypocritical, unrighteous judgment. It is the level of unrighteous, undue judgment that we place on another that God himself will judge us.

Conclusions

We could look at a number of passages from the gospels and see what Jesus has to say about judging others (and I could write 5 more posts about what the rest of the Bible has to say about judging others). In numerous passages, such as Matthew 18:15-20 or John 7:24 righteous judgment is actually encouraged. It is through the lens of others that our sins are often made known, and this is the way God has set up his church. It is necessary for us to surround ourselves in a community of other Christians, as we are to admonish and exhort one another daily to follow after Christ. This is to be done in love, as we confess our sins to one another and pursue holiness.

For brevity’s sake, let’s analyze Matthew 7 and John 8 together now that we’ve examined them in context. Once fully understood, it is impossible to conclude that Jesus is saying not to cast any opinion or judgment on another. What Jesus condones is hypocritical, blinded judgment where we point fingers at others while inside we are completely muddy sinners. In John 8, Jesus himself judges the adulterous woman by telling her to “go and sin no more”. That is, do not continue to make a habit of your old sinful ways, but now live a life pursuing holiness.

In John 8 we also get the beautiful picture of the gospel: “I do not condemn you”. Oh, how sweet the words! As incredibly jacked up human beings who break God’s laws daily, we all deserve consequence and condemnation for our sin yet because of the cross there is none for those who are in Christ. How deep the fathers love for us! When we see such love, how can we do anything but respond to the call to go and put our sin to death?

Through all of this, my exhortation to the Christian is this: please do a deep and thorough heart examination before you go and point out the sin of others. Our actions, when they reek of hypocrisy, are laughable to those whom we try to live as an example to. These words aren’t just for you, they’re for myself.

As readers of this blog, there is something you should know about me: I love bacon. I love it by itself, I love it with eggs. I love it on a sandwich, and I love it wrapped around hors d’œuvres at March Madness parties (it is, in fact, the best part about any sports party).

This weekend my girlfriend made the most amazing bacon-cooked entree I’ve had in my whole life. Seriously, it was out of this world. Every bite melted in my mouth, and the combination of the bacon, garlic and chipotle peppers concocted a flavor that was phenomenal.

Being the complete nerd that I am, I couldn’t help but think about the relationship between bacon and my faith as a Christian. Which naturally led to me thinking about what it must’ve been like to be held in bondage under the law as the Jews once were (and many still are). From there I began to think about how many times in our current culture I’ve heard Christians being blasted as hypocrites for eating pork (and/or shellfish). After all, doesn’t the Bible say we can’t eat them? The common analogy I hear is that Christians treat the Bible as if it is trail-mix, picking and choosing the parts that we like or don’t like. We’ve all seen it right? The email-chains being forwarded around about all the commands in the Bible Christians don’t keep (especially those from Leviticus), the blasts on Facebook about how we’re hypocrites and Jesus just wants us to be nice to one another (is a half-truth still truth?).

A.mazing.

A.mazing.

Two things sadden me about this. The first is that our culture around us can read the scriptures and completely miss what the Bible is about. Truly, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” (1 Corinth. 1:18, ESV). Secondly, how Bible-illiterate is our church that we cannot quickly and easily respond to what our culture would like to think is often the “nail in our coffin”? Too many times have I seen Christians brought on talk shows only for this issue to come up, and they just have no response.

The irony is that the non-Christians who claim to hate religion, and are telling Christians we should be keeping the dietary laws, are understanding the Scriptures the same way the religious leaders did whom Jesus repeatedly said were wrong.

I titled this post “Bacon, Jesus, and the New Covenant”. Not only are these three of my favorite things, but they’re quite closely linked.

Bacon and the Old Covenant

It is true, the Bible twice explicitly forbids the eating of swine. Both Leviticus 11:7 and Deuteronomy 14:8 speak as such. “And the pig, because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch” (Dt. 14:8, ESV). There are three reasons we can look at that would explain the reasoning for this law.

The first of these is that it was simply for hygiene reasons. This view would say that pork can be contaminated with worms and bacteria, so the prohibition might have been based on the fact that eating pork can lead to illness. Since this only occurs occasionally, and can happen from eating other meats, it is likely that this is not the best explanation.

The second explanation would say that the prohibition of swine has to do with the pig’s association with certain Babylonian, Syrian and Egyptian gods (ISBE). However, this theory does not explain why other animals were forbidden (Leviticus 11:4-6, Deuteronomy 14:7).

The third reason, and the most probable, would be the pigs symbolic representation. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) says it this way:

“The standard sacrificial animals of the pastoralist Israelites were sheep, goats, and oxen, which all had in common cloven hooves and the fact that they chewed the cud (cf. Lev. 11:3). God had chosen certain animals for sacrifice in the same way that He had chosen one nation, Israel, to be His holy people. As God’s people Israel was to reflect His holiness (cf. vv 44f) by restricting its diet to those animals that fitted the pattern of the animals chosen by God for His “diet” (namely, cloven hooves and chewing the cud). The pig is “unclean” because it meets only half the requirements: it has cloven hooves but does not chew the cud (v 7).”

Up to this point, eating bacon-cooked ribs seems like a pretty serious offense doesn’t it? So why then is it not hypocritical for Christian’s to partake in this meal?

All Foods are Declared Clean

The problem with stopping at the end of our discussion above is it would not do the Scriptures justice as to what it says to the entirety of the “bacon-problem” (I don’t like to see these two words so closely associated). The coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, brought in a new age – and with him a new covenant (more on this later). So much of what Jesus spoke to when he came to live among us was the people who kept the old law religiously, yet didn’t understand the purpose of the laws at all. On the outside, many Jews appeared to be the most holy of peoples, but on the inside they were completely bankrupt. Jesus calls these people white-washed tombs – they look clean on the outside, but are full of everything unclean on the inside.

We see this flushed out in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 7. Jesus had just finished telling a parable to the Pharisees and Jews, and he finished his time with the people by telling them “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him” (Mark 7:14-15, ESV). Confused by his teachings, his disciples continue to question Jesus further. Jesus goes on to explain “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,  since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled? (Thus he declared all foods clean.)” (Mark 7:18-19, ESV). You see, the point Jesus is trying to make is nothing we can physically do makes us clean in any way. The religious law-keepers at the time claimed that not eating pork made them cleaner than others. Jesus want’s to get at your heart and root out the wickedness that inhabits it – he isn’t concerned with what you eat. After all – as verse 19 says literally in the original Greek – what we eat goes into our stomach and then out into the latrine. Jesus wraps up his point by telling us the things that he is concerned with – what naturally dwell in our hearts: “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:22-23).

We're doing this. Except with the Bible.

We’re doing this. Except with the Bible.

This point is again hit on in the book of Acts. Peter has a vision from God – in it there is a white sheet, and on this sheet are all the animals, reptiles and birds of the air. Peter was then commanded to rise, kill and eat. Peter objected, saying that he has never touched a common or unclean animal. He is then instructed “What God has made clean, do not call common.” (Acts 10:15, ESV). Here again we see that there is something different now that Jesus has come – God’s followers are now allowed to eat all animals under creation (there is a deeper meaning behind this passage, concerning taking the gospel to the gentiles – but it is not relevant to this discussion).

Finally, in Paul’s letters to the Romans we actually see that it would be wrong for us to continue holding to dietary restrictions under the law. In chapter 14 the Apostle Paul tells us “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him…Everything is indeed clean..” (Romans 14: 2-3, 20a, ESV). For the Christian Paul says, we would actually stand weaker in our faith if we held to dietary restrictions.

It’s clear from a reading of the entirety of what the Scriptures have to say about pig that it is indeed lawful for a Christian to enjoy a bacon cheeseburger. Before, we alluded to the term “New Covenant”. None of what we have discussed so far would make any sense without the New Covenant, and it is only under the New Covenant that we come to understand the point Jesus is driving home.

The Beauty of the New Covenant

The Bible is full of what we call “covenants”, that is, a promise made between God and His people. We see multiple covenants in the Old Testament between God and the people of Israel. After the fall of man, the people of Israel are put into a law-abiding relationship with God. This is where we get the Ten Commandments, the dietary restrictions, the restrictions of the sabbath, and so on. If we read the Old Testament in it’s entirety we get a crazy cyclical picture of a chosen people of God who continually fall into grievous sin, God punishes them, the people cry out to God, he saves them from their predicament, he gives them more laws to abide by to keep them from falling back into sin, but then they just break the new commands and do it all over again. What we see from this picture is that no matter how hard we may try we always fail to live up to God’s standards. To account for this, the people of God routinely had to make sacrifices to atone for their sin. There were restrictions on this too – the animal was often a lamb, it had to be male, containing no blemishes – basically, a perfect lamb. To account for their sin, someone or something had to take their punishment. “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22, ESV).

Fast forward a couple thousand years. It’s first century Jerusalem, and for hundreds of years the chosen people of God have been religiously keeping their laws. The Pharisee’s of the time – the teachers who believed their righteousness came from how well they kept the law but were completely corrupt – held complete power over the Jewish people. Out of nowhere, a young man speaking with authority walks onto the scene telling them they’ve gotten it all wrong. Not only is he speaking with authority and calling out these teachers of the law, but he’s performing great miracles. He’s claiming the ability to forgive sins. Most importantly, he’s claiming to be God.

With him comes a new message: he is going to usher in the New Covenant. The law was given to us to reveal our sinful hearts – not to keep it like a checklist and then consider ourselves clean. When the law says do not murder, it is meant to show us the reality that the hatred in our hearts towards others is murder (Matthew 5, 1 John 3). Similarly, when we even so much as lust after others, we’ve already committed adultery (Matthew 5:28). God’s standards for us are so high that it is impossible for us to keep them. Under the New Covenant, Jesus fulfills the law-restrictions of the old (Matthew 5:17). Under the old law, we see the weight of our sin and how wretched we are. Culture wants to tell us that we’re all basically good, in reality we are all  quite bad.

Until we see the weight of our sin under the old law, we will never see the glory, richness and beauty of life in Christ.

This is why the New Covenant is so amazing: while we were under bondage of the law, while we were sinners under it, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8). The law brings death, but the Spirit of God through Christ brings life (2 Corinthians 3:6). Don’t you see? Christ is the perfect, spotless, blameless lamb! We are no longer captive to the law, sin and death because he took the punishment that we deserved once and for all. It’s the most magnificent thing that has ever happened in the entirety of time, and he did it for you and me.

***Side-note***

It would be wrong for us to conclude that we can therefore live a life not in pursuit of holiness. Yes, we are free from the bondage of law and the ceremonial commands that came with it, such as dietary restrictions and special days of observance. But the moral law – how we are to act in our relation to God and our relation to others – remains intact. We are no longer burdened with making ourselves right before God when we sin; Christ has done that for us. It is however still the obligation of every Christian to pursue a life of holiness, which we can only do through Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

***End Side-note***

—–

Quite a bit of exposition from a plate of bacon-cooked ribs.

Christian, if you’re reading this, I hope this was a blessing to you. I hope this will help you not only articulate the Scriptures teachings to this common objection, but that it will also be a reminder of your sinfulness, and your captivity under the old law  – and the grace you’ve found in Christ. Do not be like those white-washed tombs.

Non-Christian, I hope this was a blessing to you too! At the very least, it is my hope you learned something about the Christian faith you didn’t know before. Maybe it will be an exhortation to you to dig deeper into sin, grace and the beauty of what Christ did on the cross.

Questions, comments? Sound off below!