Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday, January 28- by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 1,2
Today's scripture focus is 1 John 2:4-6

1 John 2:4-6

If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

Maybe this is a bit of a stretch but as I read these verses, I couldn't help but think about the multiple indoor recesses we had last week. All of them, actually. We were inside 15 out of 15 recesses. I teach grade 1 and (seemingly unending) indoor recess drives us all (teachers and students!) a little crazy. It doesn't take long before rules get broken.

We have some rules in our classroom:

Running is for the gym and for outside - not in our classroom because it is not safe

Keep your hands to yourself - hands are for helping, not for hurting.

Only 1 person on the step for the Smartboard - we need to take turns and too many people touching the Smartboard at the same time might cause it to stop working as it is supposed to.

There are others, but these are always the first ones to get broken during bouts of indoor recess. Of course, all grade 1 friends claim to know the rules but how quickly they forget. Haven't they been reminded on multiple occasions of what is expected? Do they really know the expectations? Do they just choose not to follow them even though they know they should?

Now I realize we are talking about 6 year olds...but how quickly do we forget our rules as well. Do we really know what God expects? Haven't we been reminded about what we should be doing? Do we just choose not to follow these commandments even though we know we should?

How do we show that we know the rules?

MacArthur says:

Now with those words John sums up this very important behavioral test. First the test is stated...the test is stated in verse 3, "By this we know we've come to know Him if we keep His commandments...if we keep His commandments." Last time I told you there are three elements to assurance. There is an element of assurance in saving faith itself. Then there is the internal witness of the Holy Spirit who witnesses with us that we are the children of God. But here the third and most important verification of your salvation is manifest in your life by obedience.

Obedience. When we obey we show that we understand. Again, I know we are not six year olds and that following the rules at recess is not the same as manifesting our salvation by obedience, but I think there are certainly parallels between the two situations. Maybe sometimes (ok often!) I do act like a six year old when I know what God expects of me and I know what the Bible says I should be doing but yet I choose not to. Instead, like a defiant child, I chose to do my own thing. This makes me a liar.

A. Liar. - ouch!

And yet how easy it is to chase after a friend who took the toy you were playing with ... or that push and shove to get it back?? or when you get so excited for your next turn on the smartboard that you just jump on with the 2 others who are using it ... after all everyone's doing it, and not just you, right? My students know the rules, I know they do, but it's so easy to become distracted and "forget" what they are in the midst of everything else going on.


If God was looking for legal absolute conformity to the precepts of Christ, or for that matter to the law of Moses, if God was looking for absolute perfect obedience without a single failure, we're all doomed. That's...that's not going to happen. That's not going to happen. It's not the kind of legal obedience measured against the covenant of law by which we're all condemned. We're not talking about that. We're talking about like what I'd like to call for lack of a better term "gracious obedience." And it's related not to the covenant of law but it's related to the covenant of grace which is the New Covenant...the New Covenant. And listen to what I say. Under the New Covenant a loving sincere obedience full of defects is accepted by God. That's gracious obedience. Did you get that? If you're living under Law, if you're living under the Mosaic economy and trying to earn salvation by maintaining obedience to that Law, there's no tolerances. That Law demands an absolute perfect obedience without a single failure. If you break one law, you're dead. That's not what God is asking. That's not what it means if you keep His commandments.
On the other hand, gracious obedience under the terms of the New Covenant means that God accepts our obedience, a loving, sincere obedience though full of defects. How can He do that? Because all the defects have been paid for by the death of His Son. And now by grace God looks at the heart. And when Paul or you or me says, "I don't do the things I want to do, I do the things I don't want to do. O wretched man that I am," that's reality. We all fall short of perfection. But God is not asking a perfect legal obedience. He's simply asking that we do by His grace and under His grace from the heart the best of which we as fallen people are capable. And God looks at the heart...God looks at the heart.

We are called to live as Jesus did. My students are called to follow classroom rules. It's just not possible all the time to have perfect obedience...for them or for us. We will fail. My students will fail. And yet there is forgiveness. Consequences too...but forgiveness and a chance to get better. Hallelujah for that....and for some outdoor recess this week, ;)

Tomorrow's scripture focus1 John 2:7-11
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Exodus 3, 4, Psalm 41, Mark 13


LaughingLady said...

I love this. AND the warmer temperatures, too!! Great post.

Miriam said...

Really great post! I love it. Our pastor said yesterday that he imagines God looking at us through the blood of Jesus as we look through coloured glass. When you look through a green pane of glass, everyone on the other side of it looks green. When God looks at us through the blood of Jesus ("us" being those who are saved), he sees us as perfect, holy, acceptable.

Roxie said...

Well said, Pam! Thank God for gracious obedience AND that He is the One who gives the courage to try again...and again...and again!

Thank you, also, for the lovely compliment on my wedding photos! We had lots of fun that fine, chilly day...even my groom who thought that spending more than a half hour taking photos would be way too long agreed it was a good time!! Ang does a great job!

Kar Lein said...

Hi, my name is Karla, and I have decided to study along with you this year. I have never posted to a blog before and this is attempt 3, so we'll see how it goes.

I loved your comparison Pam! I was also thinking when reading it that we sometimes use life circumstances (our indoor recess) to excuse our disobedience. thinking "if my life wasn't so rough right now, then it would be easy to obey"

Sounded better the first time, but you get the frustrated round 3.

Miriam said...

Welcome, Karla!

TammyIsBlessed said...

Welcome Karla, so glad to have you along for the journey!

Great post Pam.

One point Driscoll made that I hadn't thought of before, is that God wants us to obey so that we can more fully enjoy our relationship with Him. He doesn't want to spend the whole time convicting, disciplining. He wants to enjoy relationship with us. And He can do that once we've learned that He is good, that His commands are for our good, that He loves us, and that we will obey Him out of love. Once that's "out of the way", so to speak, we can enjoy our relationship with Him. He compared it to our kids - we don't want to spend our whole day disciplining, we want to just enjoy being with them. I really liked that perspective as well.