…and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. - Galatians 1:14 NASB
Have you ever notice how serious Paul is about living in the New Covenant.
Often we live in a hybrid system of law + grace.
We look at our roots in Judaism as a compatible companion to Christianity, a sort of ‘stepping stone’ religion.
This phrase ‘ancestral traditions’ strikes me. It demonstrates just how serious Paul is distancing himself from Judaism. The keeping of the law is what Paul calls ancestral traditions. It’s a phrase we might use for some tribal religions of “uncivilized” people groups.
He did not call it the law or the old covenant, or Hebrew tradition, or the faith or our fathers. He spoke of it as if he was called out of some heathen superstition.
Sadly we model much of our lives after the Old Covenant, in fact many Christians can’t even see the difference.
I can remember making the argument myself about Jesus. Saying He was full of grace and truth, and truth is law – so our covenant is one of grace and law. But Jesus did not model grace and law, he modeled grace and – well – grace.
When he spoke of the law, or gave rules, they were impossible laws and unkeepable rules.
I recently heard a speaker (Bill Vanderbush) talking about where Jesus says:
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. - Luke 14:26
Forever I have explained this as it being a matter of degrees – love them so much less than you love God that it feels a little like hate.
But does Jesus really expect us to be a movement marked by hate? (When I read my facebook feed I see that we easily lean that way.)
Didn’t He say…
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, - Luke 6:27
The commands Jesus gave were to demonstrate that the keeping of the law was impossible.
An unkeepable law can only drive us to grace and call us to His great mercy.
Lord, save us from our love for the Old and fear of the New Covenant.
See you again soon