Saturday, March 13, 2010

The resurrected Christ

When our christian walk is based only on the accounts of Jesus whilst He was on earth, (especially in the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and without a proper understanding that Jesus was still under the law then, we can easily be convinced, mistaken and confused at the same time that we need to walk under the mixture of law and grace. This is where a number of christians are at, unfortunately.

Jesus came to earth to signal the imminent coming of the new covenant of grace. However, He had still to obey the law as He was still under the law. Jesus was trying to demonstrate that mercy would triumph over judgement, something so radical that the law keepers could not comprehend or get used to. Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath law,.. He was even accused of casting demons through the prince of demons-Beelzebub (Luke 11:14-28)...and so forth. It was a time of upheaval for the life of the law keepers for they only knew of justice/judgement but not mercy.

During that time, the people were under the custodian of the law. The fullness of time had not yet come, in fact, it was coming soon with His impending crucifixion. Meanwhile then, the law was still in operation and justice was required for anyone who broke the law. (Remember that Jesus has not died on the cross yet, and so justice was not yet met by Jesus on behalf of the people then).

In the incident when the woman was caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), the law required her to be stoned to death. That was the expectation of justice from the law and the Pharisees expected that. However, Jesus offered mercy instead of judgement. Jesus asked the Pharisees who had no sin to cast the first stone... .all left leaving Jesus with the woman....and Jesus just told the woman to go and sin no more. Jesus did not condemn her but showed mercy.

Look at what the book of James say :.....13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!(James 2:13). Just a side observation - christians who follow the law has a tendency to manifest harsh and judgemental behaviour rather than being merciful when someone is in the wrong side of the law.

When Jesus was on earth, it was indeed a transition period for the pharisees in the sense that it was manifestation of grace in the person of Jesus in an environment where the old covenant of the law was still in force. A number of christians,unfortunately, are currently hanging on to this transition stage, not understanding that there is fullness of life coming.

Understand this, the new covenant becomes effective only after the death of Jesus has occured, not before.(Jesus death at calvary changes everything). When we dwell solely on the life of Jesus on earth ( the pre-crucifixion period), the transition period from law to grace, we are made to falsely believe that law and grace mixture is legitimate. In fact, the transition period was a period showing mercy triumphing over justice (law).

The good news is that beyond this transition period, there is the new covenant coming into force after His death. The epistles and book of acts demonstrated living in the new covenant with the resurrection power. Once we understand this sequence of events, we will not camp at the transition period of the make-believe of mixture of law and grace but we will enter into the new covenant of grace.

Do you ever wonder why the book of epistles like Galatians, Romans and Hebrews are usually neglected in the law , law and grace mixture type of christian fellowship? Some food for thought.

The good news must include the resurrection, otherwise it is not good news at all. Paul said : And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless(1 Corinthians 15:14).

Praise God, the resurrection power is in us (Romans 8:11) : 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Remember, Saul was still Saul when Jesus was on earth. Saul became Paul when he met the resurrected Christ and from then, we have the revelations of the life in the new covenant as preached by Paul in his epistles.

The resurrected Christ is essential in the gospel of the good news and is embraced in the new covenant living. However, the resurrected Christ is missing in the old covenant as it is pre-crucifixion living. The resurrected Christ is also missing in the law and grace mixture living, the so called transition period as it is also pre-crucifixion. Without the resurrection, our faith is useless.


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