Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Devotion 5.31.17

When I was an administrator, early in that part of my career, I found policy to be something that was somewhat of an obstacle.  To rely on policy to make professional decisions, in my mind, took away from the very essence of "professionalism."  There were legalists, those who knew policy hook, line, and sinker, and their actions tended to reinforce my opinion of people who lived, breathed, and digested policy.  Then one day a man named Gordon Anderson came into my life.  Gordon, a retired superintendent from a large district in Houston, became something of a mentor to me.  He shared an article he had written to beginning administrators a few years before we met, and in it, he said this, "Learn the laws and policies you are going to enforce or follow.  There is nothing worse than being beaten by the rules from someone because they knew the rules better than you."

That's one of those moments in which that light came on and I understood more clearly the need to learn policy, but not to rely on it as an arbiter of decisions I might make.  I would still keep the child in mind, act in his or her best interest, but I would also do so within the framework of policy in order to not have to draw back a decision. 

So, what's the purpose of the "Law" in Scripture?  I've seen a few signs around town at some churches that say, "We aren't legalistic.  We follow the Gospel."  I understand that sentiment, but the law of God is real and present in Scripture, which we believe to be infallible.  Martin Luther asks this, "What basic distinction must we keep in mind in order to understand the Bible?"  His answer, "We must sharply distinguish between the Law and the Gospel."  The Law shows us our sin, provides that "curb" for our human behavior, and directs us to the cross of Christ or the Gospel, in which God gives forgiveness, faith, and life.  Our Good Works without Christ are just that, only actions, but through Christ, our works become God pleasing.  The Law is best summed up this way, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.... You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12)  The Gospel is summed up best in this manner, "God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

The Bible, in its entirety, is God's Word.  All roads in the Bible point to Christ, the Old and New Testament.  The Law points us to the need for Christ's Gospel.  We pray we learn to use the lens of Christ when we read all Scripture and that we learn to sharply distinguish Law from Gospel as we reach out to the lost and strengthen our own faith lives.

Hope Men's Ministry

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