Monday, April 15, 2013

Is versus Should

There is a terrible, subtle way of introducing either doubt or self-condfident, holier-than thou hypocrisy into the Christian faith, and that is swapping "is" for "should".

Consider the following verse: But the fruit of the Spirit IS love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. - Galatians 5:22-24

Note the "mood" of the verb.  This is describing reality.  This IS the fruit of the Spirit.  That's just the way it is.  This IS what the Spirit produces.

Yet how often, when talking about these things, do we end up hearing a "should".  If you are a Christian, you should show forth these fruits -- so on and so forth.

Instead of having a statement of reality, what is -- suddenly there is a should, something that may or may not be....  And then there is doubt.

Or consider this one:
I AM the vine; you ARE the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it IS that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:6

Again, this is a verse describing reality.  You are in Christ, then there is fruit.  That's how it is.  That's the promise.  Christ Jesus will produce in you.

There is no should.  There is no finger wagging.  Where there is Christ - there is fruit.  Where there is no Christ, no fruit.

The constant harping of "should" neglects the reality of what Christ *has* done (reality), and tries to put man in control once again... let me tell you what you should do.

You are a new creation in Christ.  You will do good, for you are His own, and He gives you life, and life abundantly.  Will you see and understand this more and more - mayhaps.  But that doesn't change the reality - He has claimed you as His own in Baptism, He has washed you and presented you as His own bride, without blemish or spot.

And that is reality.  Not a mere depiction of what might be if you happen to work hard enough.

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

What an awesome and liberating Word!

Thank you!