Text: Acts 21:27-36
For grace to practice the habits of the faith
To look to God’s favor and not to your own goodness
PAUL IS THREATENED BY THE Jerusalem crowd because of his teachings that push back on the way to observe the law of Moses and related religious practices. But Paul did not invent this idea: Jesus was often in conflict with the Pharisees and others over interpretation of and obedience to the law (cf Luke 6:1-11).
The sticking point in all of these matters is what purpose the Law serves. At one point in Galatians Paul says that the Law is a teacher (Gal 3:24); it shows, it guides people in how they are to live—but there is no merit, no righteousness in this. The law shows what humans must do, but to do the things of the law and expect merit, righteousness from them is the same as building a bridge and the bridge expecting praise because it does not collapse when vehicles travel over it. Not collapsing is what bridges do.
For example, a person becomes a mother or father and there are activities, deeds, habits the person must now do, because of what parents do. The law intervenes when the person does not do those things a parent does, but the law has no power to make a person a good parent; it can only reveal and restrain a bad one. It is love that makes a mother or father a good parent, and no law can compel love.
In the same way, the law that comes from God can only show us what is expected—it cannot make us good, or cause us to love God. For that to happen, God must draw near and make it possible for us to love as God loves.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks