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10.12.2005    |    Mark of Covenant Grace
Today's reading from C. H. Spurgeon's Faith's Check Book is based on the supremacy of grace over works. Specifically, the Lord telling the Hebrews, in Deuteronomy 30:6
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Circumcise your heart. The essence of Reformed Christianity, in other words: grace working within the heart, as against the mere outward sign of physical circumcision.

Later in Deuteronomy 30, God reminds us that it isn't just a one-time conversion event, His grace entering our hearts. That grace must result in works, as surely as night follows day. There is a price, however. Deuteronomy 30:
9...LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
It is useful for modern Christians to re-read Deuteronomy 30 every now and again, for two reasons. Firstly, to know that this still applies to us, the new Israel. Secondly, to know that modern Judaism, as was ancient Judaism, was, and remains, a religion of grace infused in the heart.

A faithful Jew can not perform works blindly, in the hopes of achieving life. Not if he first reads Deuteronomy 30. A faithful Jew, like his faithful Christian brothers, will walk in the ways of the Lord if and only when he has received God's grace in his heart. When he has been circumcised in his heart, not in his flesh.

True, there are some, perhaps many, Jews who blindly follow the Law in the hopes of walking in the ways of the Lord. Before we get all judgmental about them, let me ask: Don't we all know some Christians who are every bit as legalistic? I could name names about certain denominations that are every bit as legalistic as the Pharisees of Jesus' time on earth.

One example? Fussin' and feudin' over whether full immersion baptism is necessary for salvation, or whether any "flowing" water will do. Is this not a species of legalism?

Those still entwined in the snares of the Law, thinking that blind adherence will save are, I hope, a small minority. But I maintain that this is true in both faiths.

Now, if we could just get the Jewish people to know that their Savior has already arisen from their midst...

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Blogger John said...

Great post JL, and amen to the Jews knowing Jesus har arrived!


10:03 PM, October 12, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.