Thursday, August 12, 2010

This week's lesson: Romans 6

It's an issue we deal with all the time as parents, on school boards, and with our worship team leaders: it's the issue of what happens when we start changing things.

When Paul wrote about "the law," after all, he didn't just mean the Ten Commandments -- or even the Old Testament. No, Paul was talking about the whole system of written and unwritten rules that made up the Jewish way of life. In our language, we'd say he was talking about The Way We've Always Done Things Around Here (or TWWADTAH for short).

Then as now, some people feared any change of TWWADTAH. "You let people start messing around with the rules," they'd say, "and people won't know what to do. No, you let them start reading novels/drinking coffee/wearing jeans on Sabbath, and it won't be too long before this place starts looking like Ft. Lauderdale during spring break."

In truth, these people have a point. People need rules, after all -- especially children. And a culture that doesn't provide clear rules for its children shouldn't be surprised if they act as as though there are no rules at all.

Fortunately, Paul provides a way to deal with these issues.
  • To conservatives, he says that TWWADTAH doesn't work any more; it needs to be changed.
  • To the liberals, he says that change is no good unless we make sure it is a change for the better.
  • And to liberals and conservatives alike, he points out that our behavior will always fall short of God's expectations -- and that's why we will always need God's grace.
In short, there may be times we need to change The Way We've Always Done Things Around Here.

But God never changes the way He deals with us.

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