Are You Going To Hell?
- You got: You’re not going to Hell!
You may be not going to Hell, but chances are you deserve to. Come on, really? It’s 2014. Leave your views in the middle ages, dude.
And with that I received my eternal destiny from Dave Stopera over at buzzfeed.com. In a moment of weakness I let go of the good news of John 3:16-18 and came to him to receive my judgment.
Obviously I’m jesting of course, but buzzfeed’s assessment of my morality got me thinking about the “law soaked” nature of the world. As western society takes off the apparent shackles of the Christian religion it thinks it’s freeing itself from conditions, instructions, legalism, and law; but the truth is when you take Jesus out of the equation the world is nothing but law. Now, this law may differ from the Biblical Law, but the effect is still the same. As Paul Zahl writes:
“The principles of law in secular dress are not any different from their theological framing in the way they are heard… In practice, the requirement of perfect submission to the commandments of God is exactly the same as the requirement of perfect submission to the innumerable drives for perfection that drive everyday people’s crippled and crippling lives.”
In other words, in practice, the world offers law in the same way Christianity does with one gargantuan difference: the law is not the end of the story for Christianity. For society, the law is all she wrote. If that buzzfeed quiz were the last word on my identity, then I’m outdated. If success in my career or raising a healthy family is what makes my life meaningful then failure is not an option. Whatever the case, when law is all I have, the idea of honor suicides begin to sound quite rational. I’d rather be dead than to have my life declared wanting by whatever law I live under. Again, Zahl states, “Law, whether biblical and universally stated or contextual and contemporarily phrased, operates in one way. Law reduces its object, the human person, to despair.”
Christianity, on the other hand, has one ultimate purpose for the Law which is simply to point us to our need for a Savior. I’ll let the Apostle Paul do the talking here:
Romans 3:19-20 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Galatians 3:24 the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Once that purpose is fulfilled… I’ll let Paul do the talking once again:
Romans 3:21-22 now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us- for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”
Simply put, the last word in Christianity is not law, but rather grace (aka God’s one-way love). To a world of two-way love, conditions, expectations, anxieties, etc. Jesus Christ speaks the words, “It is finished.” Therefore your identity doesn’t rest on your successes or failures, your brains lack thereof, your family or loneliness; but rather on the fact that 2,000 years ago Jesus ended the law’s reign on your life. Therefore you are free to do all of those things without being ultimately defined by them.
Last night, for a brief moment, I was reminded of the “law soaked” world outside of Christ. According to Dave Stopera I may deserve to go to hell, but guess what, someone already went there on my behalf and as a result, “Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Phew…
Tullian Tchividjian “One-Way Love”
Paul Zahl, “Grace in Practice”