Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everything is Illuminated

Today I've been thinking a lot about light.

We've had a couple power outages this week and it is rather annoying. Primarily, I was feeling pretty cranky to go without coffee this morning. But secondarily it is difficult not having lights around the house... especially for the kids. Fortunately we have a lot of flashlights and lanterns we can use that give varying degrees of light and we get by.

We attended Rivers of Joy this morning and the pastor has been preaching a lot about grace. Today he really focused on how God's mercy triumphs over judgement. It was a wonderful message. The beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ is completely indescribable and I have been relishing this time we've spent focusing on God's grace and mercy. Our God stands ready to be merciful. He is abounding in love.

But anyway, this brings me back to light. I had a fascinating conversation with a friend after the service about grace versus truth, mercy versus judgement. We talked about the old covenant and the laws that God gave Moses versus the new covenant of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. She brought up how Jesus said that he didn't come to do away with the old law, but to fulfill it. I have always found that statement to be completely interesting. And so this is what I think, and what it has to do with varying degrees of light.

When light comes into a room the darkness gives way to it, and we can see more clearly. If we have a flashlight, we can see a little. If we have a nice camping lantern, we can see a lot. If it is midday and we open all the curtains and the sun shines in, we are dazzled and we take a deep breath and there is no darkness at all.

The old covenant along with the ten commandments that God gave Moses, well that was like God's flashlight shining on the world. It gave the Jews enough light to see by that some of the darkness gave way to it. God's light penetrated the darkness of their chosen family and the law showed them that they were sinners. They couldn't keep from breaking God's laws. The ten commandments gave them enough light to see that they themselves were not God and that there was nothing they could do by their own efforts to reach God themselves. They needed God's mercy and provision.

But Jesus Christ coming into the world and giving himself for it, that was like God opening all the curtains and letting the sunshine in. God said, you need to see the way to me, here is all the light you need to see by, my own Son. You need light to root out the darkness within you, here is my own Son who will show you the dark parts of yourself and also give you the means for forgiveness by dying for you iniquities. This is why Jesus said he didn't come to condemn the world but to save it. The world was condemned by its own darkness. Jesus came and shined the light so that by seeing our own darkness, we would trust in him and find forgiveness.

I think this is what Jesus meant by not doing away with the law but fulfilling it. The law was a small light to see by, a handy little maglight. But then Jesus Christ came and opened all the curtains.

I am so thankful for my Savior. The Author of my salvation. I pray that I would better understand his grace and mercy everyday and extend that same grace and mercy to others. Our pastor said today that people who don't extend grace and forgiveness to others have not really experienced God's grace and mercy in their own lives. Amen! Jesus I want more of that. Thank you that I am forgiven. Thank you that you don't hold the sins of yesterday or tomorrow against me but that I always find forgiveness at your feet!!!

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