God’s Negative Object Lessons

Like Nanny McFeenegative object lessons, one of the ways God has engaged fallen men is through negative object lessons. The central tenant of the Old Testament is that it’s possible to get right with God by keeping the law. Yet, in the New Testament, Jesus flips that on its head. He taught that the law without faith is a curse (Galatians 3), and said that God gave the law to show us how futile it is to try to be good without a Savior to help us.

“The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Romans 5:20

In Colossians 2:16-17, the apostle Paul calls God’s negative object lessons shadows, shadows that pointed to the coming of God’s amazing grace. The light of Christ reframes everything we thought we knew about the law.

What’s more, if the law was a negative object lesson, then it only makes sense that the nationalism and violence that were wrapped up in that law were negative object lessons too. Not only does Jesus reframe the law, but also He completely repudiates nationalism (saying that His kingdom is not of this world) and violence (reinterpreting “an eye for an eye”).

After all, where did that law-based, nationalistic-base, violence-based, Old Testament covenant get them? It sold them into bondage and afflicted them with violence. The whole thing backfired! It was, indeed, time for Jesus to come and tell the truth: that if you live by the law, then you’ll die by the law. You’ll never get life by the law. If you live by nationalism, then you’ll die by nationalism. If you live by the sword, then you’ll die by the sword.

To all of us comes Christ’s question: Are you ready for a new transnational kingdom that is based on a covenant of grace instead of law and swears off all violence.
Are you ready for love?

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