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Thursday
May312012

Ditch That Rigid-Ruler Talk, Sir

"Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler" Heinrich Hoffman, 1889"And behold, there came a man up to Him, saying, 'Teacher, what excellent, and perfectly and essentially good deed must I do to possess eternal life'?
And He said to him, 'Why do you ask me about the perfectly and essentially good? One only there is who is good—perfectly and essentially: God. If you would enter into the Life, you must continually keep the commandments." (Matthew 19: 16-17, Amplified Bible)

* * * * *

In the story above (Matthew 19: 16-24) , Jesus eventually sends the young man away...(Disqualified!...."4-F"!).....because the young man was not "good enough". He didn't make the grade. And so he was denied The Kingdom of Heaven.
I am quite convinced that... by the standards of the world..., the young man was very good. But when Jesus confronted him with the "plumb line" of God's true and Holy Standard... (ie., The Commandments, The Law/ Decalogue)....the young man's righteousness simply did not measure up. It wasn't even close.

And, if we are honest, we must recognize that we are no better, and probably much, much worse.
We are told (in Matthew 19:22) that when the rich young man was sent away, he was not just "sad" or "disappointed" as some translations seem to suggest. No, the Greek word used is much stronger than that! The young man went away grieving, mourning and sorely distressed. In fact, I am persuaded that the young man's heart was very, very close to being what Jesus had earlier called "poor in spirit" …...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)

Jesus "blessed" this young man with some very bad news. The good news of the true Gospel message must always be preceded by very bad news of the truth about the profound depth our sinful nature.

I'm sure that the young man did not realize that he had just been "blessed" by the harsh words of Jesus. Obviously, it didn't feel like a blessing to him at the time! (After all, the young man at that particular moment of rejection was obviously heartbroken and devastated....)
But I am convinced that that is exactly what Jesus did. He blessed the "rich" young man, and He blessed him abundantly. Jesus blessed him not only with the truth about God's essential character and nature, but also Jesus blessed him with the knowledge of his (ie., the young man's) own true spiritual and moral bankruptcy.

"Return of the Prodigal Son", Batoni, 1773

Often, hearing the truth hurts, but it is always, ...always.... a blessing.

Beware the "good news" that sidesteps or dismisses the blessed prerequisite: the "bad news" delivered by the Law.....

* * * * *

"The Rich Young Ruler is a good example of the use of the law to reveal sin and show a man his need of a Savior."
--Warren Wiersbe

* * * * *

"In the real world you can't measure an eel with another squirming eel. You need a rigid ruler to measure a squirming thing---a thing like the modern world."
--Peter Kreeft


 

"Ditch That Rigid-Ruler Talk, Sir"
(Toss it in the Lake of Fire)

 

Look, there ain't no "Rigid Ruler",
We've got other eels for that!
Rigid Rulers are "Verboten!"
That's a rule... And that's a fact!

Rigid Rulers are restrictive...
And I'm sure we all agree!
Rigid Rules are too confining!
Threat'ning, sir, our Sovereignty!

Ditch that Rigid-Ruler talk, sir!
Toss it in the Lake of Fire!
Let it sizzle up to nuthin'....
Now the No-Rule-Rule's required!

* * * * *

Take away that crazy "plumb line"....
It just causes too much grief!
Holy Smoke! It's just plumb crazy,
And it offers no relief!

We don't want no Bright Light Mirrors,
Showing us those nasty stains.
We'll just stay here....undercover
Where the Darkness softly reigns!

Don't you see it?...... Man's The Measure!
In this world...We know it's true!
Right 'n' wrong?...Hey, what's your pleasure?
"Good" 'n' "Evil"'s up to you!

* * * * *

"The law of God is like a mirror. Now the purpose is to reveal to you that your face is dirty, but the purpose of a mirror is not to wash your face. When you look in a mirror and find that your face is dirty, you do not then reach to take the mirror off the wall and attempt to rub it on your face as a cleansing agent. The purpose of the mirror is to drive you to the water. Any other use of the mirror is plain folly. It is by the straight edge of the law of God, whether expressed by Moses or reaffirmed by our Lord Himself, that man may know how crooked he really is, and may turn from the folly of self effort to the reality of the life of faith in Christ". --Donald Grey Barnhouse

"The Law...The Mirror"

* * * * *

Decalogue, please bring your blessing,
Show us our unholy state.
Render us, Lord, poor in spirit...
Sov'reign Pride in us deflate.

Lord, reveal the darkness in us....
Like blind beggars, ...help us see!
Take us to that Holy Mirror....
And then, Lord to Calvary!

* * * * *

"Run, John, and work, the law commands,
Yet finds me neither feet nor hands;
But sweeter news the gospel brings,
It bids me fly and lends me wings!"
--John Berridge

* * * * *

"The Law of God is the true mirror of righteousness." 
--John Sproul

* * * * *

"So the Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith."
(Galatians 3:24)