Friday, February 20, 2015

Reforming Conservatism

In response to recent defeats and in the interest of moving beyond past successes, Jay Cost argues for reforming conservatism. His central point: “The animating impulse is not so much to increase or decrease the scope of the federal government, but to modify the way the government accomplishes its goals.”

He is correct in that “smaller government” is a relative term that does not speak to what the correct size of government is. His reference to “the way the government accomplishes its goals” implies that the goals of government are already understood. I am not convinced this is the case.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Christian life is about love

Yesterday I wrote about how the Christian life is not about commands, and concluded pointing out it is about friendship. Today I want to pick up on that and point out that relationships shifting from commands and obedience to love and respect is a sign of maturity.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Why the Christian life is not about commands

When I read Romans 14:23, I don't read, “Whatever is not of obeying the commandments is sin.” When I read Hebrews 11:6, I don't read, “without following the commandments it is impossible to please Him.” We are “not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Law was over us to point out our sin (Romans 7:7), punish our sin (Romans 13:4), and point us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). Grace is not an alternate to law to point out our sin, punish our sin, or point us to Christ. Grace is Christ over us lifting us up out of sin (Ephesians 2:5,8). We “live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4), and “after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:25). “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).

When Jesus gave us his “new commandment” (John 13:34), it was of a completely different nature than the law. Unlike the law, His commands are “not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Jesus did not say in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you obey my commandments.” While Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15), and made similar statements in John 14:21 and 15:10-11, I don’t know of anywhere that He says or even implies, “If you don't love, you're sinning.” It's a completely different focus. His command is about shifting the focus from law to love. “These things I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17).

Do we measure how well we love through how well we obey the commandments, or do we measure how well we obey His commandment by how well we love?