you don’t have to circumcised and follow the dietary rules and the ceremonies in order to please God. The Gospel is something totally different. And of course Paul is fighting this battle through the entire New Testament. It can be read as the great apostle following the example of Jesus, trying to move the people of God away from this idea, transactions, and move them toward transformational. The carnal soul always prefers the false security of a contract, and we are tempted to bargain with God.
Let’s look at what Peter said in Matthew 19. It is one of those times where Jesus is intentional blowing the minds of his disciples. Jesus said to His disciples, ‘it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven’ and the disciples were very astonished it says in verse 25. They ask who can be saved. And Jesus said nobody can be saved, unless God does it. Then Peter always saying the first thing that comes into his mind without any hesitation, he says ‘behold we have left everything and followed you, what is in it for us’. That is a good question for someone who has been in a faith mission for a few years, isn’t it? We have left everything, what do we get. This is a question that comes back to us regularly as we see people around us getting, not in a bad way either, and having a kind of material security that we want. Listen to what Jesus says, as I paraphrase it: ‘Listen Peter, you 12 are going to sit on 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel. And if you have left farms, families, your father and mother, you will receive it all back a 100 times, but not the way you think it will come. It is not a contract. Many who will be first will be last and last will be first. You are going to get it all, so don’t talk to me about a contract. You haven’t understood what I am preparing you for. It is much better than a contract. What do you want a contract for when you are going to get it all? You are going to judge the 12 tribes’.
The book of Job, I think as I get older in the Lord, is more and more essential for our understanding, as mature Christians. Let’s look at it briefly through this paradigm. The devil comes before the sons of God and says to the Lord or the Lord says first, ‘behold my servant Job’. And the devil says, ‘he is only in it for what he gets from you. He is in it because he is in this transactional thing and you have blessed him, of course he is going to serve you’. And the Lord says, ‘Ok you may take away his prosperity and his blessings’. The devil does and Job still serves God. This is where Job says the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Then Satan, the accuser comes back to the Lord and says well, he still has his health, no wonder he is serving, he is getting the blessings. The Lord says take away his health, but do not touch his life. And for the next 3 dozen chapters we see Job arguing with God on the basis of his transactions. He tells the Lord all the good things he has done. He has given to the poor, he has sat with the elders on the gate, he has serve God and of course his friends (the three consultants there) they encourage him in this, but finally in the end the Lord just blows Job away with a vision of His glory and His power. Job says Ok, I give up. ‘You are God and I am not serving you because of any of this. I lay it down’. That is when the Lord restored him and blessed him much beyond what he had been blessed before. Job was transformed.
As the Lord work with Patriarchs, Abram, who was a Middle Eastern bargainer, can reread his life; the Lord was trying to break him out of that negotiator, bargaining
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