Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Resurrection = New Home

Moving home and some!
Understanding how to live in this new period of history - after the resurrection of Jesus - is sometimes difficult to get your head round, because some things continue, but others stay the same.

For example, there are no longer any restrictions on what you can eat, no animal sacrifices to perform, no requirement to worship God in only one place (e.g.Col.2:16). And yet, other stipulations remain0. It's still no to sexual immorality, eating blood etc. (Ac.15:28-29). So what's the rule of thumb for distinguishing what to keep and what to chuck?

I don't have a definitive answer, but perhaps a metaphor would help.

When you leave your parents' home and set up your own, two things happen:
  1. You become the head of your house.
  2. You do some things the same as before, but other things very differently.
As the new boss, you get to decide what goes and what doesn't. There are some routines from your childhood that you continue,
  • like family meal times because you enjoyed them 
  • or like keeping the bathroom clean because mold can make people ill and you see the benefit of it. 
Then there are some you don't continue,
  • like family sing-a-longs, because you didn't enjoy them, 
  • or the stipulation of removing shoes at the front door, because you don't see any special benefit in it, 
  • or curfews because you're an adult now, not a child - and you're the head of this new house.
In the childhood house of the Old Covenant, God's people were children, being looked after by guardians - angels, demons and the Law - Gal.4:1-2, but after the resurrection in the New Covenant, they come of age and are given authority and dominion (the keys of the kingdom - Matt.16:19) in Christ.

After the resurrection, God pulled his people out of the childhood house - Israel and planted them in a new house - the world, in a not dissimilar way to which he pulled Israel out of Egypt and planted them in the Promised Land thousands of years before.

The challenge for the church therefore in this coming of age, through redemption and the giving of the Spirit - in Christ - is figuring out what to keep and what to throw away as we move to the New Creation.

The church (the new house of God) must still have structured worship forms, but they must not be exactly like the OT ones, because whilst we are still human, we are no longer children.

It must have feasts (bread and wine) but not like the OT ones. To put it another way, we should be eating meat, not milk (1Cor.3:2).

I think I would also argue (this is a recent and tentative development in my own thinking) it should have an annual rhythm a - calendar of events, but not like the OT ones, to help us remember all of our blessings and duties in Christ and avoid the spiritual amnesia and inertia brought on by an "always on" 24/7 culture which would erase any rhythm at all.

All because it has "moved house." Things are the same and yet different.

Our freedom in Christ is not a freedom to do nothing, it's the freedom to partner with God as his "come of age" apprentice sons and daughters, building his new house - all over the world (1Pe.2:5).

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