November 28, 2007

It’s One Thing To Break A Rule

It's a whole different thing to commit adultery.

That was a little nugget I pulled from a sermon by Jonathan McIntosh at The Journey. It was toward the very end of the sermon, but it really stuck out to me. So much so I wanted to write about it today.

When we think about religion, when we think about Jesus, why is it that we automatically default to the rules and regulations we believe will be imposed upon us. Is it because we don't want to be told what to do? Is it because we love our sin so much that we don't want to give it up.

We don't want to be told not to have sex outside of marriage. We don't want to be restricted from getting inebriated every weekend. We don't want to be bound by having to give generously to God's church and God's people. We don't want anyone imposing rules on us.

But yet when we get married, we have no problem with the rules our spouse imposes on us. And those rules are unspoken. Don't hit me. Don't hurt me. Provide for me. Take care of me. Love me. Pamper me. Honor me. Cherish me. Don't sleep around on me. Don't talk bad about me. Wear your wedding ring.

So what's the difference? The main one is that we see Jesus as a set of rules and we see our spouse as a person with whom we have an intimate relationship. We can break Jesus' rules and it's just breaking a rule. We break our spouses' rules and we're committing adultery.

And there's a big difference in the two. In one scenario, we're simply someone who can't follow instructions, in the other we're a whoreing spouse.

But I would say that we should look at our relationship with Jesus the same way. The essence of the Gospel is not rules but a person. A person who is the same in His humanity as our spouse. And once we are united in faith to Jesus, we are engaged in an intimate (non-sexual-but still intimate) relationship with Him. And to violate that relationship by placing other God's, other desires, other motives ahead of that relationship is to play the part of a whore once more.

It puts our sin in a whole new light. You're not just breaking a rule. You're cheating on Jesus. And that's imagery, especially in the book of Hosea, that the Bible uses repeatedly.

It's funny, I would never do anything to hurt my wife, not because I feel bound to obey her rules, but because I couldn't take doing something to wound her heart. I love her. I care for her. However, I don't think twice about wounding the heart of Jesus. Mainly because, too many times, I reduce the Savior to a set of rules to follow.

Christians were never meant to live like that. Thank you Jonathan for sharing that on Sunday.

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