Saturday, 21 February 2015

Law Crucified, Wisdom Resurrected

When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he gave them a prohibition - they could eat of ANY tree they wanted, but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Given that earlier, EVERY tree and plant was given for food, this ban can only have been a temporary one, otherwise you have an internal contradiction within the opening chapters of the bible!

In the bible, the "knowledge of good and evil" is less about "experience" and more about right judgement. Those who judge rightly pass tests, prove themselves to be mature and ready to rule over creation - ready to step into the destiny they have been assigned. This was why Adam and Eve should have refused the serpent, they would have exercised sound judgement and God may well then have led them straight to that forbidden tree and said, "Now you can tuck in." But they didn't, they took what they had no right to take and became like the serpent, twisting the truth to their own advantage.

God gave Adam and Eve a rule - a law. Following that law should have led them seek God's help to work out what that rule meant in every circumstance they found themselves in, which would in turn have led to wisdom and maturity.

The Law in whatever form it comes, is never able to account for every eventuality, but understanding the spirit in which it was written and applying it faithfully in every eventuality where it comes to bear is the way to maturity.

King Solomon was considered wise (at least at the beginning) not because he applied the law in a robotic way, (for often there was no law for a given circumstance), but because he perceived the true nature of what was in front of him, and over which he applied the spirit of the Torah (Deut. 17:18-19).

The same is true in our journey from childhood to adulthood.  There are some laws our parents laid down in our family lives which were temporary - e.g. "When you play outside, don't go beyond the end of the road." to "Don't steal. Some of those rules we no longer live by - I have gone way beyond the road where my parents live, others we continue to live by - "Do not steal." Knowing the categories in which each of those fall, and making new categories for situations we never had to face in our childhood is a function of wisdom and maturity.

Now when Christ died, the law died with him. Indeed he was the embodiment of the law - it was perfectly fulfilled in him. But the law, in and of itself was not bad, but good. Why should a good thing from God be consigned to the grave? The Law was not guilty of sin, we were.

Just as Christ died as the embodiment of the law, he rose again having transformed the law into wisdom. The law went through a chrysalis moment at the cross.

In Acts 2, God did not reissue a revised Law like he did at the first Pentecost at Mt Sinai about 2000yrs previously, he poured out the Spirit who gives wisdom.

The point being that as we read the Bible with the help of the Spirit we might understand how to apply the whole of God's Law - the word of God, to all of life in every glorious and inglorious variation.

As God takes up residence in human hearts, (John 14:23), the people of God have now been given to rule over creation. Not robotically to apply the law, but in the power of the Spirit of Wisdom (who is the same Spirit who wrote the Law!!), to bring all of creation into the same joyful, overflowing happiness of the life of God which they now experience.

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