GOSPELIZING THE OLD TESTAMENT
Have you ever started out intending to do one thing and then you realize it has become something else entirely? Like you start cleaning out your closet because you're looking for something, but then you realize the whole thing needs to be cleaned? That's how I feel about this blog. I began looking for Jesus in the Old Testament, which I still will do.
BUT I am realizing that looking for Jesus in the Old Testament isn't what I was looking for. I was looking for the Gospel Message in the Old Testament. Seeing Jesus as a character in the Old Testament is nothing more than a fun word search, gratifying but ultimately not transformative. But if I look for the Gospel Message in the Od Testament, not only do I see Jesus but I see his mission, his love, his power, and his grace even in the midst of the Old Testament.
I think that is the greater challenge, but also the greater reward. We have no problem seeing that Jesus existed in small cameos in the OT, but it is far more amazing to see how the Gospel Message rings through all of the Bible. Hear me right, you cannot separate Jesus from the Gospel Message, nor can you understand Jesus apart from the Gospel Message. But you can miss the whole point by merely spotting Jesus without the Gospel Message.
SO...what does this mean? Well, it means that I am now going to begin GOSPELIZING the Old Testament on this blog rather than playing an elaborate game of Theological Where's Waldo.
What the what is GOSPELIZING? Basically it is connecting the dots between whatever you read in the Bible to the Gospel Message.
Why would you do that? Well, it's really easy to read something in the Bible and come to the conclusion that to solve your problems you need to "try harder." Maybe, "try harder to be more courageous like David," or "try harder to be pure like Joseph", or "try Harder to be encouraging like Abigail." It sounds good, right? But somewhere in our hearts, we subtly tell ourselves that the answer to our problems lie in our ourselves and our ability to perform. Over time, based on how our performance we either get proud that we succeeded or get discouraged that we failed. And then the cycle repeats. We call this pattern, MORALIZING.
What's wrong with MORALIZING? On the outside, nothing. It calls us to change. Which is what Jesus calls us to do in Luke 13.5 ("Repent or Perish"). But eventually it brings on a system based on performance, where a person will think "God approves of me only as much as I can do right", rather than the GOSPEL MESSAGE "God has approved me, therefore I will do right. " Without this shift in perspective, our actions, good as they may be, have the ability to become idols, rather than Jesus.
So do I stop telling myself what to DO differently? Yes and No. Yes, but only to change the way you view your actions in order to get to Jesus. No, because your actions are the way to Jesus. I know that makes no sense. Rather than saying, "I just need to read my Bible and then I'll feel better," or "I just need to pray and then I'll feel better," or even "I just need to go evangelize and then I'll feel better" all of those get replaced by "I just need GOD." Here's the catch though, how do you get close to God? By doing those things. But it isn't once I do these things God is somehow unlocked, like a hidden level on a video game, he is always there and those things can cut through the noise of our world and create a direct connection between you and God.
Still confused? Think of it like this...My wife and I went on our honeymoon in Dec 2015. We had to drive to the airport, go through security, get on the plane, fly to Mexico, get in a taxi, drive to the hotel, stay in the hotel, get in another taxi, get on another plane, fly back to the US. I could have done all of those things by myself, and then come back to her waiting in the States as we begin our life together. And it wouldn't have been bad, but it wouldn't have been a real honeymoon. I did all of those things, WITH HER, and that's what connected us and made it a real honeymoon.
Moralizing is going on the trip by yourself, and coming back thinking that since you've done those things you're closer. Or to connect the dots, it's doing all the right, moral things and thinking that after you've done that you're closer to God. Gospelizing allows grace to have it's full effect on us by showing how you are doing all of those things because God is already with you and these things bring you closer.
Still still confused? That's ok. I'm still new to this so we can go on this journey together.