Do You Struggle with being a Spiritual Wet Blanket on the Life Giving Fire of God’s Grace?

Hey there awesome Church:  Have you ever struggled with being the spiritual wet blanket that extinguishes all evidences of God’s happy and joyful grace?  Are you quick to make rules and expectations that Jesus never made for righteous living?  When you sin do think you need to be re-saved?  Do your works define you?  Do you focus your spiritual attention more on what you do instead of who you are in Christ?  Do you get angry when you see fellow believers claiming the grace of God upon their shortcomings? This week Jesus continues to rebuke the Pharisees that continually desire to be the spiritual wet blanket on Levi’s party.  Levi the low-life, corrupt, liar, fraud, cheat, thief was rescued by Jesus and he loved his rescue.  Levi was so excited about Jesus he organized and funded a great celebration of his release from bondage to sin and judgement and condemnation.  He was celebrating his new life in Christ and he wanted all of his low-life friends to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  He wanted each of his friends to also know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  This was quite the party and there was intense happiness and joy permeating each in attendance.

But… standing outside the doors of the party were the spiritual grace killers.   The Pharisees were standing in judgment with their joyless critical spirit sucking the life out of the room.  They were the rule making, rule keeping, rule police.  They were ready to extinguish all evidences of joyful grace once they saw it dispensed in the life of sinners.  They had appointed themselves judge over those in attendance desiring to sentence each one to long, hard labor under the law to achieve righteousness.  And Jesus was having no part of this legalistic, self righteousness.  He was not going to be pushed into their old-mold of who they wanted Him to be as Messiah.  He was not going to be a patch on their old defective system of self-righteousness.  He was not going to be the hard-crusty-old-wineskin that would not hold His Father’s grace, love, mercy, and kindness.  Jesus says that he is the new wine, He is the new wine skin, He is the new garment, He is the one who mediates a New Covenant and that covenant rests upon GRACE.

So Jesus responds to the wet-blanket pharisees, “Can you make wedding guests fast when the bridegroom is with them?”  In other words, Jesus said, I am the bridegroom, and when I am present there needs to be great celebration, great joy, great happiness.  I have come to fulfill all righteousness.  I have come to give you new life and give it abundantly.  I have come as the New Temple of God.  I am the One who makes intercession for you.  There is no more need for the old covenant.  I am the one who mediates the new covenant that rests on far more new and excellent promises (Hebrews 8:6-7).  Be happy.  Be joyful.  Be amazed.  Let’s have a party and a celebration! GCT, we are called to be evidence of God’s perpetual grace in us and that which is available to the world.  We are called to live celebratory lives in God’s grace through Jesus Christ.  We have been freed from the condemnation and wrath of God through the righteousness of Jesus Christ which has become our righteousness.  Jesus has fulfilled the Law for us.  Throw a party celebrating this!  Invite those who are sick and in need of Jesus, the great physician, who has the only cure for their disease – The Gospel. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. I look forward to worshiping with you Sunday as we celebrate baptisms, our graduates and we finish Luke 5.  With great love, Steve

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