Legalism Religion

How big is your Bible?

How big should a Christian’s Bible be?  Good Christians should have a really big Bible so that other can clearly see it’s a Bible.  Really spiritual Christians should have a leather bound Bible with cross references.  Bible’s that contain only the New Testaments and Psalms are ok for new Christians, but you really should aim to be more godly. Super-spiritual, higher grade Christians have the ESV study Bible, with a leather cover.
This may sound silly, but often in the church we have these petty rules we follow.  If you’re not part of a church I’m sorry to say that this is sad, but true.  We have unspoken rules as to how many devotions a good Christian should have per week, how many beers (if any) a good Christian can drink at a bring ‘n braai, how many times a Sunday a good Christian gathers for corporate worship, and so the list goes on.  Unsaid rules about tattoos, dress, jeans, baseball caps, age-restricted movies and shopping on Sundays, saying grace, and so on. 

Now don’t get me wrong.  Having a Bible , regular devotions and being Christlike are good and godly things!  However, we sometimes tend to think Christianity is about obeying the rules and checking the boxes.  If we keep the rules we feel proud and if we break the rules we scold ourselves and feel guilty.  Jesus condemned the Pharisees for this kind of attitude in Mark 2:8-3:6.  Christianity for Jesus is about submitting to him as King, being forgiven of all sin, and redirecting our life towards Jesus, the only One who can give us highest joy.  We then seek to live godly lives, not to earn God’s favour, but as a result of God’s ongoing favour to us.

Dr. Howard Kelly was a renowned physician and surgeon as well as a devout Christian.  During the summer holidays while in medical school, he sold books to help with expenses.  Becoming thirsty, he stopped one day at a farm house for a glass of water.  A girl came to the door. When he asked for a glass of water, she kindly said, “I will give you a glass of milk, if you wish.”  He drank the cool milk and left refreshed.

Years passed, and Dr. Kelly graduated from medical school and became the chief surgeon at John Hopkins Hospital.  A patient was admitted one day who was from the rural area and was seriously ill.  The skilled chief surgeon spared no efforts to make the patient well.   After undergoing surgery, she recovered quickly.  One day she was told by the nurse, ‘Tomorrow you will go home.’   Though her joy was great, it was somewhat silenced by the thought of the long bill she must owe the hospital and surgeon.  She asked to see it, and the nurse brought it to her.   With a heavy heart, the patient began to read the different items from the top downward.  The further she read, the more depressed she became, wondering how she would ever pay the bill.  But as her eyes lowered, she saw a notation at the bottom of the page.   It read, “Paid in full with one glass of milk.” It was signed, Howard A. Kelley, MD.

We owe God a debt we can never repay.  No amount of good or rule-keeping can even start to pay what we owe God. But Jesus, by his substitutional death, paid what we owe in full to God so we can be forgiven.  What drives you?  Ticking petty boxes to earn God’s favour or enjoying God’s grace, knowing the bill has been paid in FULL.

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