Today’s reading from C. H. Spurgeon’s Faith’s Check Book is based on the supremacy of grace over works. Specifically, the Lord telling the Hebrews, in Deuteronomy 30:6
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Circumcise your heart. The essence of Reformed Christianity, in other words: grace working within the heart, as against the mere outward sign of physical circumcision.
Later in Deuteronomy 30, God reminds us that it isn’t just a one-time conversion event, His grace entering our hearts. That grace must result in works, as surely as night follows day. There is a price, however. Deuteronomy 30:
9…LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
It is useful for modern Christians to re-read Deuteronomy 30 every now and again, for two reasons. Firstly, to know that this still applies to us, the new Israel. Secondly, to know that modern Judaism, as was ancient Judaism, was, and remains, a religion of grace infused in the heart.
A faithful Jew can not perform works blindly, in the hopes of achieving life. Not if he first reads Deuteronomy 30. A faithful Jew, like his faithful Christian brothers, will walk in the ways of the Lord if and only when he has received God’s grace in his heart. When he has been circumcised in his heart, not in his flesh.
True, there are some, perhaps many, Jews who blindly follow the Law in the hopes of walking in the ways of the Lord. Before we get all judgmental about them, let me ask: Don’t we all know some Christians who are every bit as legalistic? I could name names about certain denominations that are every bit as legalistic as the Pharisees of Jesus’ time on earth.
One example? Fussin’ and feudin’ over whether full immersion baptism is necessary for salvation, or whether any “flowing” water will do. Is this not a species of legalism?
Those still entwined in the snares of the Law, thinking that blind adherence will save are, I hope, a small minority. But I maintain that this is true in both faiths.
Now, if we could just get the Jewish people to know that their Savior has already arisen from their midst…
| technorati tag | Christianity|