I’ve created a word picture for you.
Every day, I pull out of my driveway to go to work. Every day, the GPS says, “Make a right.” So I make a right. I’ve discovered that the GPS knows the way.
I trust the Spirit of God to help me navigate too. The Spirit of God helps me navigate my life. In every little detail, I try to just listen to Him. He’s like my GPS voice, a voice that says, “Make a right.”
But what if instead of just saying, “Make a right” every time, the GPS voice said, “Make a right, just don’t make a left.” Now every day while I’m driving, I hear, “Make a right, just don’t make a left. Make a right, just don’t make a left.”
I’m only human! Pretty soon I’m going to say, “Yeee-aaaa-aaah, but, what’s left? I’m going left!” And we hit a pothole and blow out a tire. Then the GPS voice says, “That’s why I didn’t want you to go left!”
On the other hand, law says, “Take a right, but don’t go left. Take a right, but don’t go left.” The idea is there, and it’s only a matter of time before we say, hmmm, what’s to the left? You know curiosity kills the cat!
There were two trees in the Garden of Eden, the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And that’s exactly what it was: knowledge of good and evil. God said, “Please don’t eat of that tree. If you do, you will have knowledge of good and evil. You will eat from the law. Shame will attack you. If you eat of the tree of life, then that’s what you will have: life! You’ll have life, and freedom, and grace.”
I really truly believe that’s what He was trying to tell us. From the beginning of time, these two trees were going to live in the same garden, but we should only eat from the one tree. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and immediately saw their nakedness and felt shame. Suddenly they had knowledge of good and evil. It was their legacy. They added into the very air we breathe. Pretty soon it got so bad that God had to wipe everything out in the flood. Then He said, “I’ll never do that again. The next time this earth is destroyed will be on the Day of Judgment, when Jesus comes.”
But then people, being what we are, told God, “We need rules again. We need the knowledge of good and evil. We need the tree!” And God said, “Right, okay, Moses, go up to the mountain. I’ll give you your Ten Commandments. There. Don’t do those things. You’ll be fine.”
Well we know how that worked out! Look at those commandments. You can’t keep them. You really can’t! Think about it. It’s like saying, “Don’t think of a pink elephant, because that’s a sin.” Well guess what I just did? I just thought of a pink elephant! Now I know shame, now I know guilt, now I know frustration, and anger, and selfishness. Now I have to ask for forgiveness. Now I have to go make a sacrifice of a pure thing in order to feel right with God. This was our situation after God gave us the rules we asked for. Eventually we said, “Fine. I’m just going to think of pink elephants all the time. It’s easier to do that instead of fight it. I’ll just keep sacrificing animals.”
When it got to that point, I think God said, “Uncle.” I think that’s where God turned to His son and said, “Now it’s time. You’ve got go die, kiddo. It’s what you have to do. I need you to walk the earth for 33 years, and then I’m going to need you to die. And then I’m bringing grace back into the equation, because I’ve had enough of seeing people feeling shameful, doubtful, sad, and frustrated, and I want them back in grace.”
So it was sheer mercy that Jesus came. His mercy is upon us because God said, “The Ten Commandments are killing the people I want to have relationship with. I need to end it.”
Grace is freeing. Legalism is binding. It traps you. You think, “”I’m not free. If I love Jesus, then I have to be a goody two shoes and I have live under these rules.” That’s not freedom. The truth shall set you free, and Jesus is truth.
Paul asked, if grace abounds over sin, does that mean you can go sin all you want? He answered, of course not! Grace actually gives you the ability to not sin. Grace is your GPS voice saying, “Make a right.” You can choose to sin. You can choose to go left. But better to choose to ask God to give you wisdom. The Spirit is Jesus living in you, and He will guide you to go the right way, and do the right thing.
See you Monday.