Tuesday, January 1, 2019 -
Tomorrow at 2 pm will mark the completion of four weeks in prison. One month spent out of 36 will come in just a few days. It is hard to believe.
Today, I went into the game/library room in our unit and happened to notice my dad’s “Word Study New Testament Dictionary” on the shelf. I was shocked! I have no idea what the Lord is trying to tell me, but it is something I do not know.
This afternoon, I finally got “J” to read aloud to me some from “Love Does.” He reads probably on the level of a sixth-grader. I keep telling him, even though he hates to read now, practice makes perfect. If he reads to me a little each day, he’ll get better and better. Even if he doesn’t ever get to the point when he loves to read, it’ll still make a life-changing impact in his life.
I was shocked that today they served us for our New Year’s meal a small steak, baked potato, salad, and cheesecake for lunch. The steak was actually tasty. I was wondering how we’d eat steak without a knife, but it was tender enough to cut with the plastic sporks they give us to eat with. Amazing!
I’ve been going to the Messianic services and Bible studies, in addition to all the Protestant services, but have been disturbed by the vitriol toward all of Christendom. I don’t find anywhere in the Bible where it says we should cease to honor the Sabbath, or for that matter the Jewish feast days. So on that, we agree. But to condemn all who gather on Sundays rather than on the Sabbath as sinners, I do not agree with. We can still meet on Sunday and honor the Sabbath! My spirit also did not bear witness with some of the writings I was loaned to read. Yes, I believe God meant it when He said the Sabbath was forever as are the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:29). Yet Paul or Peter, in many places I’m reading in the New Testament, condemn the “Judaizers” who keep other parts of the law. Much of what I’m hearing and seeing from the Messianics seem to contradict the teaching of the New Testament. I have begun to wonder if they are the modern-day “Judaizers.”
The book I am now reading, “Jesus on Every Page” by David Murray, is very timely and shedding some light. Isn’t God amazing! The way Murray interprets what Paul is saying in Galatians 3 and II Corinthians 3, is that Paul was not looking back at the Sinai covenant and portraying it as legalistic bondage. He was looking at the way most Jews of his day had misunderstood the originally gracious Sinai covenant with Israel at Sinai. The Sinai covenant is actually a covenant of grace! A covenant of believe and be saved! It is a revelation of Jesus and His gracious salvation. It in and of itself painted pictures of grace and was set in the context of grace. “Exodus 19:4-5 sets forth all God has done in delivering Israel from Egypt as the basis for the divine ‘therefore obey’.” Israel’s redemption brought them into a relationship with God, and they were to respond with grateful obedience! Rather than “obey and you will be brought into a relationship with Me by a great redemption,” it was “As you’ve been redeemed and brought into a relationship with Me, here are some rules to help you show your gratitude and keep our relationship happy and healthy.” He said the same thing in Exodus 20 (v. 2). The law was given to a people whom God has already redeemed…Grace comes before the law! The Sinai covenant points to our need of grace. In Galatians 3, Paul argued strongly that the law was not intended to disannul or cancel the promise of grace. It points to our need for grace, and shows how we are to respond to grace and a gracious relationship with God – a desire to obey!
In other words, the Sinai covenant, rightly understood, was a revelation of grace. The gospel of Abraham was the gospel of Moses, and both were the gospel of Jesus! Paul is merely attacking the Sinai covenant not as it was designed by God, but as it had been twisted and abused by the Jews of that day. And it brought the people of that day into bondage. As Augustine put it, “If the spirit of grace is absent, the law is present only to accuse and kill us.” Paul, the Hebrew of the Hebrews, viewed Christianity not as giving up on Judaism, but as embracing Judaism.
Thank you, David Murray, for your excellent and prayerful insight. Your timing was perfect! I still need to study this some more, but it makes a whole lot of sense.