They Made Their Own Rules

Ever play games with children?

They are always making up rules. Often they change the rules arbitrarily. They change the rules to put themselves at an advantage.

Thoughts of this behaviour came to mind as I was meditating on Romans 10. “For being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness.”

At the time Paul wrote this, Jewish religious leaders and teachers had managed to take ten commandments of God and turn them into an incredibly complex set of rules designed to put them at an advantage. They could then condemn others for not following all the rules.

Jesus blasted that idea. He taught that what is most important is what’s in your heart. If your heart is in a right relationship with God, you’ll do what’s right. Trying to live by following a rigid set of rules leads to a life of slavery or hopelessness. It also leads to a life of comparison. It breeds the “I’m better than you, and you’re going to hell” <snicker>. 

Andy Stanley’s current Your Move series is titled Christian. The premise is that since “Christian” is not defined in the Bible, you can make it whatever you wish. But the word Jesus used, disciple, is a word easily defined.

Beyond that, Stanley has been asking, “Do you know any angry, judgemental Christians who seem to derive pleasure by thinking you’re going to hell”?

Of course, the answer is Yes.

The Roman Catholic church has tons of rules. Each protestant denomination seems to have its own set of rules different, of course, from anyone else’s set of rules. Everyone make up rules.

Even today.

Even while saying they are following the guy who said to worry about the condition of your heart first.

Back to Paul. They made their own set of rules, just like children do. And they lost.

It’s not rules, it’s relationship.

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