Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Life On a Higher Plane

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.  When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ.  When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law.  Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.  When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ.  But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.   1 Corinthians 9: 19-21(NLT)

The whole idea of some kind of battle between the Ten Commandments and New Covenant is absurd.  The Old Testament (law) and New Testament (grace) are not at war with each other. 

Paul made it pretty clear, saying he does not ignore the law of God; rather he sees his life as being lifted to a higher plane of obeying the law of Christ.  Those are not mutually-exclusive, either/or ideas; they are like bricks of the same building. 

Jesus also made this distinction:

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.  Matthew 5:17(NLT)

Jesus wanted his disciples to know that the commandments and a life of grace complete each other; each speaks of a life lived honoring God, and yet the limitations of The Law expand and bear fruit in the life of grace.

The idea of a higher plane of life is seen in moving from the lower level of obedience to the higher target of love. 

When my children were very young I taught them (in an obedience/law-fashion) to apologize whenever one did something to hurt the other.  And when an apology was given, there was to be a hug of forgiveness.  This was like the Law of Moses!   But it was not much of an apology sometimes, because it didn’t come from a kid’s heart – only in obedience to Dad’s edict! 

And like the Law of Moses, my law training wasn’t supposed to be the end of how they lived and acted; it was to be the beginning of their training.  As with the Ten Commands given to Moses began our training in righteousness, Jesus came to expand our understanding and take us to the next level…love!

My children learned the best action of apologizing if you hurt someone else, and as they matured they learned the joy of living on the higher plane of life connecting hearts in relationship.  True life is lived when the heart is engaged.  True joy is experienced only on that plane.

There is a hymn written more than a hundred years ago entitled In Lovingkindness Jesus Came.  I love it enough to want it sung at my funeral.  This hymn traces prevenient grace, the Incarnation, Jesus’ bearing the agony of the cross, and winning his conclusive victory over death, lifting me from sin and shame. 

The  final verse describes the wonder of living life on a higher plane, bathed in the wonder of the light of God’s love:

Now on a higher plane I dwell, and with my soul I know ’tis well;
yet how or why, I cannot tell, He should have lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me, with tender hand He lifted me,
from shades of night to plains of light, O praise His name, He lifted me![ii]

For You Today

Christian, you were not saved just to struggle; you’re meant to live on a higher plane!

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

[i] Title Image: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
[ii] In Lovingkindness Jesus Came, Charles H. Gabriel, 1905, Celebrating Grace Hymnal #605

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