So I had a run in with humanity yesterday. Well I wouldn't say it was a run in, as I have to live with humanity everyday, however, the specific instance in question really brought to a reality something that I tend to forget with time.
I was talking to a friend from work that morning, and we were actually talking about Christ. I have been witnessing to them for some time now and really challenging them to examine their beliefs. I won't get into to much detail, however, in the middle of my convo I slipped up. I let out a cuss word. Now in the past, cuss words were part of my vocabulary. In fact I bought into the lie that cuss words make statements both funny and emphatic. These days, having Christ, it is different. Now in the past when I would sin, I would get that feeling many call condemnation, however, I quickly remember Romans 8:1-2 and go from feeling condemned to being convicted.
It is a beautiful thing to be convicted because if taken properly and truly seen through the eyes of humility, conviction can lead to something even greater, which is where I found myself. Check out 2 Cor 7:8-12 when you get a chance. What I realized in my sin was just how horrible I am and how futile it is to try and keep the law within my own power. In doing so I become a major pharisee and we know what God thinks of them (Matt 23), in fact Christ goes on to say those who practice the law but have no heart are lawless (Matt 7:23).
It was humiliating in the sense that my human nature, humbled me to the point where I realized I needed to really draw nearer to God. It is a beautiful thing when you come to grips with your sin nature and realize what the meaning of "perfect law of liberty" is from James 1:25. That perfect law of liberty is Christ. His two commandments were: 1. Love God with your all 2. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. The first is "easy" to understand because it just means to most of us, Love God. What does it mean to love God with our all? Realize that the 1st commandment, if done correctly and truly, leads to the following of every other commandment. Not only am I referring to the first commandment of the two mentioned, but I'm also referring to the first of the ten commandments. Martin Luther put it best (and I am paraphrasing) when he says that a person who breaks any of the 9 commandments after the first must first break the first.
In order for me to lie, I need to think my cause greater than God's, which would be having a god before God. To steal, I need to think my "need" greater than what God knows I need, thereby making my need a god that goes before God. See the issue? Enter the perfect law of liberty, whose center is on love. To obey the law out of love for God and what He did for you by loving you first makes it liberating, hence why we feel so free when we are in Christ. This is also the definition to what Paul means when he says we are no longer subject to the law (not to say that we don't need to follow it [Rom 6], because if we love Him, we'll keep His commandments.) To obey is better than sacrifice, and to obey with all your heart is the true act of love.
A bit of tangent, however, bring it all together. Lets face it, no one will ever be able to keep the law. It is like what James says in James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." We are going to break the law. No one can keep it cover to cover, enter Jesus: The lamb of God that takes away the sins of world (John 1:29).
We can actually get some quick apologetics from this. Good and evil, what determines the two? Moral law does. Now the kicker, where did the moral law come from and why do we try so hard to keep it? Enter C.S. Lewis: "Even people that deny objective right and wrong cannot refrain from believing in them. Moreover, people are unable to live out the moral law they know they should. " Lewis argued that this moral law, coupled with humanity's inability to fulfill it, allows Christianity to begin "talking". Face it, we need help, better put, we need forgiveness, and only the person who created that morality can free us from the judgment that comes from failing to keep it. It was God who wrote morality into our hearts. You cannot arrive at morality through science.
I messed up when I cussed, but in my cussing, I was reminded of a line from a Relient K song I love: "I am hostage, to my own humanity, self-detained and forced to live in this mess I've made" He goes on to admit that He fought God for so long only to realize that while he was trying to save his own life, so was God. (Be My Escape - Relient K). My humanity humbles me and it reminds me of how much more I need to rely on His strength and not my own (Phil 4:13).