Thursday, December 29, 2011

Out With the Old...

In two more days we will say goodbye to 2011. As this year winds down, many will be making resolutions to break old habits and patterns. Others will be cleaning out closets and getting rid of old clothes. The end of one year and the beginning of the next seems to be a good time to rid ourselves of some things that are old and adopt new habits, clothes, etc.

As I look at Scripture and ponder the state of the church today, I think it is time for those of us who call ourselves Christians, followers of Christ, whatever, to jettison the old and embrace the new. When I look at the organized church, I see an institution that is still bound in an Old Covenant way of thinking and doing things. Walk into almost any church building on a Sunday morning and you will see one person standing in front of the congregation and lecturing the people. That person is part of a particular class of trained professionals who are entrusted with the task of representing God to the people and teaching them. Think Old Testament priests. Those people have traveled to a particular building (temple) on a particular day (Sabbath) to hear from God through the preacher's words. Many believe that the only way to gather in a way that glorifies God is on Sunday in a building that is set aside for that purpose. In many of those buildings the people can come to an altar in the front to sacrifice. Part of the gathering is the when the congregation gives their tithes to pay for the "work of God." Most of the rationale behind the current system of tithing is based on Old Covenant passages that deal with the upkeep of the Temple and the priestly class.

The church has been trapped in Old Covenant ways for so long that what is done goes unquestioned by many. I believe the folks in congregations are good people who love Jesus and are sincere in their faith. I also believe the abundant life that Jesus said he has for us is far greater than what can be found in Old Covenant living. Jesus abolished the Old Covenant system. He established a New Covenant based on grace, a way of life where God is present within each of his children, and where those children can gather anywhere, anytime. In the New Covenant, all are given the responsibility and privilege of ministering to each other, of discipling each other, and teaching each other. In the New Covenant, Jesus' followers live in a spirit of generosity, giving to the needs of others without being badgered or guilted into giving to support programs, buildings, or salaries. In the New Covenant, Jesus is the priority and learning him is the focus. In the New Covenant, forms and structures don't really matter as long as the King is lifted up and we learn to follow him.

Personally, I plan on living my life as an individual under the New Covenant. I will search through the closets of my thinking and acting and bring out those Old Covenant things that need to go. I wonder if Goodwill will take them.


AmyW said...

My spiritual closet could use a little cleaning.

Happy New Year!

Kansas Bob said...

Good thoughts Fred. I wonder if religious sacraments and the like are sometimes carry overs from the OT?

Happy 2012!

co_heir said...

Thanks, Amy & Bob! Hope your new year is happy as well. I think a lot of religious acts are carryovers.

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