Graduation from the Law?

When you learn to shoot a jump shot, you don’t abandon the lay-up. When you learn to parallel park, you don’t stop parking in parking lots. If you are smart, when you graduate from High School, you don’t abandon all that you learned there. 

When one understands the “higher consciousness” of love that the Law of God describes, this does not mean that one then abandons the building blocks!

If you are in Messiah, then you have been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel and their Scriptures are now yours, whether you like it or not. You are blessed to participate in their inheritance.

Note that it is a “commonwealth.” If you were born a Gentile, you are not now a Jew; you maintain your own ethnicity, but you have become part of the spiritual administration of Israel/God’s people. God doesn’t have multiple brides. He welcomes all into His one people – Israel. There are those who are Israel after the flesh and those who are Israel by way of naturalization–your citizenship has been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.

You once were a stranger to the covenants of promise and far from God, but now you have been brought near to God, and are a participant in the promise(s) of God.

Formation through Flesh

A previous post and some comments on it led me to think of an essay by Dallas Willard in his book The Great Omission, titled “The Spirit is Willing, But… The Body as a Tool for Spiritual Growth” (pgs 80-90).  I believe some quotes from it are in order.

Willard first sets some background parameters:

This process of “conformation to Christ,” as we might more appropriately call it, is constantly supported by grace and otherwise would be impossible. But it is not therefore passive. Grace is opposed to earning, not to effort. In fact, nothing inspires and enhances effort like the experience of grace.

With that established he warns:

Yet it is today necessary to assert boldly and often that becoming Christ-like never occurs without intense and well-informed action on our part.

Lest we become overly individualistic and myopically focused on only ourselves, Willard reminds:

This in turn cannot be reliably sustained outside of a like-minded fellowship.

Conscious of today’s great lack, Willard reports

Probably the least understood aspect of progress in Christ-likeness is the role of the body in the spiritual life.

Almost all of us are acutely aware of how the incessant clamorings of our bodies defeat our intentions to “be spiritual.” The Apostle Paul explains that “what the flesh desired is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh;” (Galatians 5:17).

Contrary to what many of us experience the truth is that:

…if the body is simply beyond redemption, then ordinary life is too.

And we, with Jesus, Paul & Dallas Willard, maintain vociferously that nothing in life is beyond redemption.

Suddenly Comprehending Reality

There is no greater war than that we wage with our fleshly nature. Epic tales of heroic deeds pale in comparison to the battle each must wage with himself. Indeed, perhaps all legendary tales are but a metaphor of the grand struggle within each of us.

“I wrestle not against flesh and blood,” yet I wrestle with flesh and blood as my arsenal, and indeed, as the battlefield itself.