Disillusioned with seeking righteousness, yet called to holiness!

A young man is put to death for blaspheming God's name during a fight.  It wasn't the fight that killed him, but his misuse of God's name.  We read about this incident in Leviticus 24 and it serves as the antidote for the famous, "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" legislation.

I read the story and I am humbled by the fullness of God's holiness.  I live by grace and sometimes I allow that grace to interfere with my checking myself for sin. How many times have I injured another person and felt justified and even proud?  Have I ever been disrespectful with God's name? Would I have survived during the time period in which the Law was being discovered?

I am a good girl, but not that good. None of us really are.

Yesterday I had to have a disciplinary conversation with a young girl on my soccer team about something she did that unintentionally caused harm.  She didn't mean it for evil, she just really didn't know any better.  She could have felt justified in her actions, but instead she felt remorse. How often do I feel justified because of pure motivation, rather than remorse for the harm I caused?

Reading through the Pentateuch slowly confronts my views of holiness and grace and challenges me to reconsider my own life and areas where I have a lack of accountability. When we compare ourselves to others, we can often look better than we actually are.  But, when we compare ourselves to God's living and active word, we find our frailty and our need for growth.

Some people dismiss the Old Testament as "old" and irrelevant, especially after the work of Jesus on the cross.  But the sacrifice of Christ is only meaningful within the context of the Law. We miss the power of his gift on our behalf when we don't realize how much we have utterly failed AND are unable to succeed in keeping the Law ourselves.

Maybe that is why I rely so much on grace?  I realize that I am utterly unable to keep the Law, even when I put forth my best effort.  I can become disillusioned in the process, so it is easier just to relax in the arms of grace. But the purpose of grace isn't to give us an "out" from doing what is right and striving for righteousness.  Rather grace gives us the freedom and the space to listen and to learn how to be better people while knowing that we will fail along the journey.  Grace says "keep trying," even though failure is inevitable.  Grace says, "Jesus is my righteousness," and the "Holy Spirit is my conscience," and thus "the impossible is possible,"  sanctification will come.

And so I read about this Israelite-Egyptian boy who was made an example and I give thanks to God that I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives within me. I have already died, and so in Christ I now truly live.  As the now popular song lyrics state, "I was forgiven, because he was forsaken. I am forgiven, because he was condemned. I am alive and well, your Spirit lives within me."


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