Some quality linkage to get your week started off right . . .
Ed Stetzer on a forthcoming book that may help in understanding the emerging church.
Mark Lauterbach on pastoral care and the gospel.
Bible-geek bibliophiles rejoice! Mark Bertrand has launched a Bible Design and Binding Blog. (Say that five times fast.)
Justin Holcomb on "Jesus and the Law" is interesting. I chased a rabbit on this subject in my Element message last night, so seeing his post this morning strikes me as somewhat timely. The guys at the Boars Head Tavern discussed this issue a bit last week too.
The Law is indeed a mirror (as James' epistle elucidates), it does indeed confront us in its very existence with our failure to measure up, with the complete imperfection within us. No, by the law will no one be justified. Yes, the law's declaration demonstrates our own alienation from God's holiness. But this notion that this negative declaration is only why it exists, to show us we can't do it, is just . . . weird. I just can't read the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, in which Jesus makes the Law harder by making it about our hearts and not just our behavior, and think it's just some bizarre logic puzzle meant to mean the opposite of what it says.
When Jesus says "Love your enemies," yes it is implicit that we can't do that perfectly, that it is not in our own power to do that or even want to do that. But it is still a command. It is still something to do. And with the Spirit's transforming power, in the new life in Jesus, it is something we can and must do.
I like what Dallas Willard says about this stuff: The life of faith is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. There is a huuuuge difference. And I think many of those who get hung up on the Law as mirror fall off the horse on the other side.
Okay, apologies for the theological rantery.