A commentary on a Christain newsletter: “FREE INDEED 13… the Highway of Holiness”

Nowadays, many Chinese get their driver’s license while they’re in college. Like most Americans, I started driving when I was fifteen. My biggest fear was a head-on collision, so I always stayed far to the right side of my lane. However, when my Dad noticed this tendency, he told me that more fatal accidents are caused by drivers straying too far to the right than by drivers going too far to the left.

Looking ahead to the New Covenant, Isaiah foretold that “A highway will be there; it will be called the Highway of Holiness.” Isaiah 35:8 On this highway, the Galatians had a head-on collision with the Law of Moses. Some of the Galatians reached the point where they lost their salvation, because they went back to trusting in their own ability to follow the Law of Moses ( um…’collision with something is because of trying to following this same something by believing in one’s own ability ‘, what is this something really meant ( just recite all the content of the Law of Moses doesn’t count! 🙂 )? ), instead of relying only on the finished work of Christ on the cross. “You have been cut off from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law ( Here, the critical thing is what is the “Law” in essence; and again, I don’t meant to list all the manifestations in Human Language about the “Law”. I think in the context of the script, it should be interpreted as familiar with a family of concepts: rules, dogma, regulations, moral right, social norms…etc. One can see, even justified by faith is without doubt, but the without comply something that is observable, measurable thus to have any knowledge on our human side to judge if an action is comply to it or not, it is not possible – because our limitation as human to vindicate our faith. Again, I am not just limit all the “Law” as describable in logical text; one has to have faith when he or she needs act out no matter the current and past information shows any certainty of the out come.); you have fallen away from grace.” Gal.5:4 We must avoid returning to a law of dead works, but straying in the other direction is also deadly. (Yep, I can almost following previous reasoning to see the “other direction”. It is not “justified by law” but it is also not “Once saved always saved”, Faith is not a LICENSE for anything, because it is not a LICENSE! It turns out this is the main point of this letter, not the other way around.)

By the way, I very admire Paul’s effort in Galatians, New Testament: He tried to explain all these in a logical way by a text that reads contradict itself; a paradox is not a contradiction, but it is not a paradox, you need really spend much energy and thinking to understand it as a coherent whole.

“Certain persons have crept in unnoticed…godless men, who change the grace of our God into a LICENSE for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Jude 4 “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him.” ( Can we say: (A) Not all those comply the “Law” are saved but some of those comply the “Law” are saved? And (B) those who have Faith but not comply the “Law” are not saved? —- Once again, I found myself stuck in the imperfection of the human language and logic reasoning; while I think B might be a “misunderstanding” of “Faith” altogether, the exact composition in A I can not articulate in Human language clearly — to such extend that I can only say some of those could lack of stability in staying in the A. ) Titus 1:16 When the government gives you a driver’s license, they are giving you permission to drive on the roads they built. ( Um…what is the purpose of this analogy here? Does “the grance of God” is a LICENSE for you to following the “Law” —-thus, you have qualified to follow (a certain) law ? I am not sure this is correct either. It is better not to “use” “Faith” as an instrument for something else. ) Those who try to change the grace of God into a LICENSE for sin, think that the sacrifice of Jesus gives us permission to live sinful lives. ( This actually implies people always know which things are sinful, which things are not sinful. For me, it is obviously not always this simple, especially in our modern life —- again, I want to remind that I am not using this as an excuse for sinful act; I am just saying that “do no evil” intrinsically requires to know “what is evil” . ) Think of how evil Jesus would be if this had been His mission. Paul briefly addressed this other danger in Galatians. “But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out we are still sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild what I have once destroyed.” ( You see, in the script, it is actually make sense, because it says it is we “find out” we are still sinners, and certainly, we should not “rebuild what we have once destroyed ( by a good reason ) .” ) Gal.2:17 There is a saying today that has become popular among Christians: “If I’m going to err, I want to err on the side of grace.” ( Again, it assumes I know what is err. The only situation this sentence make sense is that we take the “if” at the beginning of the sentence seriously —- if he or she knew all well that it is an err, there was no need to add the “if”, he or she can just say “I’m going to err….” um… I know, many problems are resulted in this kind confusion…—–take it seriously that, “it might be on the side of grace” => means it might turned out to be not an err after all.) Err on the side of grace? That means a license to sin! How horrible!

In 2002, I went to L.A. for five weeks of training to become a teacher in China. A respected leader in that organization preached that we can live sinful lives, because our sins no longer offend God. He said, “God told me, ‘You are far more worried about your sin than I am.’” I replied, “No, God did not tell you that. He would never say something that contradicts His own Word so badly. If the gospel you are preaching is true, then why do we see so many times in the New Testament where Christians are rebuked for living sinful lives?” As long as we are content in our sins, Jesus will never be conqueror over our sins. The best friend of that leader attended his Bible Studies, and they did everything together at training in L.A. Our government forced his best friend to leave China because he often got drunk, often went to prostitutes, and he started several fist fights without just cause. Think of how badly the name of Christ was DISHONORED in the eyes of all the Chinese who heard about that teacher who got kicked out of the country. That teaching organization said they only hire Christian teachers. The government and everyone at his school thought he was a Christian! ( For me, this is just to say we should not pursuit “Christian” as a “Label” that just can put on your head to make you feel better; nor society should treat “Christian” as a certain kind of “diploma” to qualify certain kind of job or working. 🙂 )

This is why God planned to give His people a New Covenant long ago. “It is not for your sake that I am about to act. I am doing it to protect My holy name, which you have DISHONORED among the nations.” Ez.36:22 700BC There are five times in Ez.36:20-23 where God says His own people “dishonored” His name because their behavior made Him look bad. In Ez.36:24-30, there are eleven times where God declares what He WILL do to “show Myself holy through you before their eyes… I WILL give you a new heart and a new mind. I WILL take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart.” Ez.36:23, 26 We cannot walk with God until we have this change of heart. “A highway will be there; it will be called the Highway of Holiness. Evil-hearted people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways.” Isaiah 35:8 ( Words are plain simple but hard to understand, but more critical is that its goal is not to just understand but to act or live out. So,”after know this”, want to do? How to do? —- please note, it is often the case that: To do something before know this other thing is easier than to do the exactly the same thing after you know this other thing( I personally see this another human flaw ) —- my personal resolution is only to realise that God (the holy spirit) is not separable with you; just like the son and the father is the same, we are the same when the grace of god is in us. To dishonour God is to dishonor myself at the same time, thus I can feel a kind of pain in myself at the same time or each time I dishonor; it should be unthinkable that one will like self dishonor continuously. It might well be the true meaning of begotten an new “obedient heart”.

About going to church

Im shanghai here, there is a SCF community, but the service on Sunday is divided by two: in the morning only Chinese can enter, in the afternoon only people with foreign passports can enter.

I don’t agree with this segregation. I have foreign friend, so I can go there once or twice in some special occasion at afternoon a year. There you can see very diverse of people from different nationalities, it certainly helps to broad your eye and have different feeling when all of us are get together because of the same cause.

On the other hand, I also go to group of Chinese, there is one problem: I can not relax there….