Star Trek Christianity
John 1:17 - For the LAW was given by Moses, but GRACE and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Zechariah 4:7 - Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone [of the Temple] thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
I like the Star Trek series. However, the world of Star Trek presents a version of society that will never have any basis in actual reality. For example, they have “evolved” to the point where money is no longer necessary. That’s a great fantasy which will never find reality.
Perhaps our Systematic Theologies have as much basis in Scriptural reality as a life with no need of money in Star Trek’s reality. Could it be we’ve created our theologies to fit our preconceived notions of what we want Scripture to say?
For example, Dispensational teaching says the Law was for the Old Testament times while Grace is for the New Testament times. I’d like to suggest that is a fantasy that finds no basis of reality in Scripture.
I’m reading through Zechariah. They’re in the process of rebuilding the Temple after returning from the Exile. Verse 4 in chapter 7 got me thinking again about this whole Law vs Grace thing.
The Christian thought process goes something like this. — The Law is relegated to the OT (and the Jews) before the coming of Christ. After Christ came, the Law was done away with. In it’s place, for New Testament believers, Grace came. In essence, therefore, Christ came to do away with the Law because He was the fulfillment of it. Law is no longer needed because we now have Grace. After all, isn’t that what it says in John 1:17?
My interest isn’t in rehashing the whole debate about Law vs Grace. Truthfully, this is such a deep-seated issue in the minds of so many Christians that it will actually take a work of Grace to think otherwise. I understand. We’re dealing with years of theological teaching and preaching that supports the Law being done away with by Christ.
However, I don’t subscribe to that line of thought. I believe the juxtaposition of the verses I’ve given above will demonstrate that Law and Grace have always been actively working in tandem during the OT and the NT.
Let’s consider this.
On the one hand, it sounds like John 1:17 says the Law is for the OT (Moses) and Grace is for the NT (Christ). But on the other hand, in Zachariah we see the rebuilding of the Temple (which represents the Law and it’s functionality) being encouraged along by a cry of “Grace, grace unto it.”
In Zachariah, it appears we are to understand that Law and Grace (“Grace, grace unto it”) are linked together in the one edifice that represents them both: the Temple. Sound logical? It was things like this that constantly challenged the theology I was taught.
I am concerned with the seeming unwillingness of Christians to challenge their theology. Challenging/questioning one’s theology should be encouraged. To revisit one’s theology should not be considered unnecessary or something to be avoided. It’s frightfully scary to think … we don’t think for ourselves anymore as believers.
We like to praise the noble Bereans in Acts 17:10-15. But are we really like the Bereans? They didn’t take what Paul said as truth just because he said it. They recognized their obligation before God was to go to His Word for confirmation.
Let’s pull this together and try to make application.
A part of the difficulty with the Law/Grace topic, in my opinion, is the word Law. It just sounds so … negative. However, let’s consider another accurate way to translate/define this word Law. This word, Torah/Law, in actual meaning is simply the word for instruction. If “instruction” is inserted in the place of “Law” a whole new sense of understanding can start to emerge.
“For Instruction was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” OK, what do we make of this now? Let me offer a suggestion.
What Moses gave, and could only give, was the instructions of God for His people. However, what he couldn’t give to the people was the Grace to live out those Truths. Only the Divine Instructor could do that. Moses was simply the human instructor relaying the Divine truths. God made the application in the hearts and lives of His people by the same means He always does — by Grace.
“So,” you may ask at this point, “are we supposed to stone our rebellious child like it says in the Law?” The answer: No. Why? There’s no Temple, Priesthood, or working Sanhedrin to fulfill those Instructions now.
Our focus, then, should be to discover what CAN be done in the absence of those three. There are many instructions that can be followed if a person is willing to refrain from “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
Let me ask you this. Which came first: the Law by Moses or Grace by Jesus Christ?
It was Christ, right? Grace has always been the foundation upon which the Law stands. Therefore, Yeshua has always been the One making the two, Law and Grace, function harmoniously from the very beginning. What we need is a mindset that is willing to challenge our theology every now and then. It’s our responsibly as believers to search the Scriptures to see if what we believe has any basis in reality.
Reality dictates that Law/Instructions are needed for any people group to function without destroying themselves. The concept that the “Love of Jesus” somehow makes the Law/Instruction unnecessary isn’t based in reality. Otherwise, Christians would be the most harmonious group of people walking this planet. Hmmm.
The Law isn’t our nemesis. It wasn’t something just for the “Old Testament Economy.” It’s for God’s people for all times … even now.
The conduit for God’s Law/Instruction is Grace. That’s the reality.
We don’t need Star Trek Christianity.