He hung out with hookers, scoundrels, and crooks. While his cousin John the Baptist would be marked as a man who fasted and lived meagerly, Jesus seemed to be characterized as an eater and drinker who liked to hang out with the wrong sorts of people. At first glance, it seems as if Jesus marches to the beat of his own drum.
The funny thing about this description is that Jesus was a good Jew. He kept the Law (loved God and neighbor) and was steeped in the Hebrew Scripture. I remember a class discussion about Jesus and the Law that led me to the realization that he was close to the Pharisees in terms of doctrine. But here’s the thing: Jesus would drop the hammer on this group many times because they burdened people with more laws than could ever be kept. These people ate the bread of law when they should have been drunk on God’s grace.
Years later, the Apostle Paul dealt with many issues as a church planter. While Paul wrote to Corinth repeatedly about so many problems, he never went off on them the way he did on another church. Paul just about flipped out over the choices of another church plant in Galatia. What did they do? Instead of reveling in God’s ineffable grace, they chose to follow rules and laws. They craved the rules that burdened so many people in the past instead of basking in a life rooted in grace and freedom.
The Galatians didn’t realize that the Law of God was given to point out our need for a savior.
Paul would tell them how the Law acted as a teacher, and it stood as a guardian over humanity. Yet Jesus came and he kept the Law, and he led us into glorious grace through faith in him. Now, my friends, if we put our trust in him, we are able to absolutely revel in God’s grace instead of constantly cowering in fear of messing up. Quite simply, we get to be hammered on grace.
Friends, a spiritual to-do list will not help us reach God; it will only lead to exhaustion – I know it utterly exhausts me! Instead, we need to grasp that peace is found only in the completed work of Christ. The truth of God’s sacrifice for us is that we don’t need to “be good” on our own. Heck, we don’t have to follow a to-do list! Instead, we need to get drunk on God’s grace and follow Jesus.
Care to get hammered on grace?