April 2006

Last night I was looking for a specific experience recorded in the life of one of the saints of the past. While not finding it here, I did find a real gem of a quote from Oswald Chambers (a.k.a. Ozzy C.)

Holiness is not an attainment at all, it is the gift of God, and the pietistic tendency is the introspection which makes me worship my own earnestness and not take the Lord seriously at all. It is a pious fraud that suits the natural man immensely. He [God] makes holy, He sanctifies, He does it all. All I have to do is come as a spirituals pauper, not ashamed to beg, to let go of my right to myself and act on Romans 12:1-2. It is never ‘Do, do and you’ll be’ with the lord, but ‘Be, be and I will do through you.’ It is a case of ‘hands up’ and letting go, and then entire reliance on Him.


I am currently a part-time student at a local seminary. The school is just getting up and running (recieving operating authority in 2005, etc), so judging by the way seminaries go, it should be conservative untill about 2100 (A.D., not hrs). But that’s not my point for this post at all.

I was in the library yesterday gathering more resources for a paper I’m writing on the Sabbath. One of the unique blessings of being a student at a younger institution is that the library is stocked in the main, with the essentials. Yes, the library is constantly growing, but you can’t get lost in tombs of tomes examining the role of footwear in apocolyptic literature. That said, I decided to take a look at a few of the Sabbath regulations the physical Israel has been yoked with over time, that’s right, I cracked open…The Babylonian Talmud (english translation of course, give me a break, ok, I’m only part-time.)

Volume 2 was dedicated to Shabbat, so in cavalier fashion I flipped the pages looking for something interesting. Since I have been focusing on Jesus’ confrontations on the Sabbath with the Pharisees (as the best place to contrast the new teaching on it vs. the legalism of 1st C. Jewry), I was hoping to find something relevant and specific. So what did I find? You guessed it, rabbinic tradition on how to wipe your bee-hind on the day of rest.

I won’t go into the rather blunt handling of the subject and all the tedium there expounded. My point in bringing this up is to praise God. Pricipally for freedom.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1, ESV)

Even in the everyday, mundane things we have been set free from our bondage to sin and slavery under the law to walk in newness of life in the Spirit! I pray that I would grow in my understanding of this.

The law seems to be a comfort to my flesh, do this and you’ll live, right? But this sentiment sends me reeling–Mark will never do the law! Mark will never do part of the law, much less the whole law! So may I make mention of the fact that quenching the Spirit by seeking justification or sanctification in ones self, under law, is a particularly gnarly sin of self-righteousness! Praise be to God who delivers us from this body of sin.

So whether seeking justification through the law, or sanctification through the law, it ain’t there. My curse is no longer the law and my sin…my curse is Christ (in a manner of speaking), who became a curse for me, so that I would no longer stand accursed.