So, how do we change the grid that causes people to see only shame and wrath? That’s the question. How can we keep a respect for the Word while opening the heart to see what is really there? People shouldn’t have to stop reading the Bible in order to hear grace. In fact, they should be able to find grace throughout the Bible. How do we help them?
Perhaps the first thing is to remember that we are them. Very few of us escaped learning the performance system. Almost all of us were taught to read Scripture through that same grid. So we pray and ask Him to guide us. He wants us to see the truth of His love. Trust that He will lead you into His Word.
It has helped me a great deal to have a set of axioms, firmly supported by Scripture, with which to interpret Scripture. That is just another way of saying that Scripture interprets Scripture.
For example, I know that God loves us. In fact, I know that His fundamental motivation toward us is love. I get that from Jeremiah 31:3 and 1 John 4:8 and 16. I also know that He chooses us and draws us to Himself in love. That’s clear from Deuteronomy 7:7-8 and Ephesians 1:4. It was nothing that I did that caused Him to choose me, it was simply His love and grace. (Check Ephesians 2:8-9 and 1 John 4:10.) Sin is not the issue. He chose me while I was still a sinner because I could not make myself otherwise. (Romans 5:8 and Ephesians 2:4) Nothing will separate me from His love. (Romans 8:35) His primary desire is that I would love Him. That tells me that He desires a close relationship with me. Throughout Deuteronomy and the giving of the Law we are told that God wants us to love Him. (Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 30:15-16, 19-20; see also Matthew 22:37-38). He also wants the motivation of my heart toward others to reflect His love for them. He wants me to love others. (1 John 4:7; 5:8)
More coming…. Comments??
(I am traveling these days. This series of posts was quite popular a couple of years ago. I hope you find them helpful. Please feel free to comment as usual. See you on the other side! – Dave)
3 responses to “The Grid – Being transformed in our thinking”
I was wondering if you could explain “His primary desire is that I would love Him” verses the common doctrine “Our chief end is to glorify God”
Thanks for asking this! You know I love to try to answer questions.
What does Jesus say is the first commandment? “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is a New Testament quote from Deuteronomy, where the command is repeated at least nine times. It is reinforced in Joshua 22:5 as the primary command of Moses. So we have God initiating what the Jews always understood to be the “shema,” the most important command; then we have Jesus confirming that as the “first commandment” not in order of chronology, but in order of priority in the mind of God.
I learned parts of the Westminster Catechism. The whole answer to “What is the chief end of man?” is: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” But if my primary focus is on glorifying Him, and that means work or service to me, then how will I ever enjoy Him? Perhaps the two are connected. Perhaps enjoying Him, loving Him, is the real way to glorifying Him. Or maybe we can go the other way and say that to truly glorify God my heart should be ready to enjoy Him. I think the error is to separate the two. To enjoy Him and to love Him are both concerns of the heart. So is to glorify Him.
David said, “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.” (Psalm 86:12) Our relationship with our Lord is about love and the heart.
Thanks for the clarification! I’m so glad the law can be summed up in loving God not glorifying God. Loving God focuses more on Christ than on me and my works. I agree though that as we love Him we will glorify Him.