Abolished or Accepted?

This post will be split into two separate parts due to the length and the amount of time I want to spend developing the thought behind it.
Gavel and Bible 2

PART 1:

So today is Wednesday and as I sat and rested on my brown (faux) leather sofa in my living room I was reflecting on a bible study I had just given to a Muslim student yesterday.

This particular student, we’ll call him Tobias, was relating to me his experiences with Christianity that led to a mistrust of Christian theology. His mistrust of Christians as a Muslim was not unexpected, but what I didn’t expect were his reasons why. He started tell me about the many conversations he had been having with many Christians since he began college and a picture was painted for me as he spoke.

The fact that Tobias spoke to many Christians about their beliefs and doctrine automatically told me that this was someone who was genuinely interested in the Bible and what Jesus has to offer (grace, mercy, love, pardon, purpose, etc), but never found a satisfactory answer as to why he should consider putting his faith and life in Jesus’ hands. Here’s why…

You see, Tobias comes from a Muslim family and, in Islam, there are things that a Muslim can never do i.e. eat unclean foods, disrespect parents, worship things other than God, etc. Basically, they are required to keep the Law of God.

Of course there are differences between the Law of Muhammad in the Qur’an and the Mosaic Law that is found in the Bible, but the principle of staying true to the Law is the same. As Tobias talked to more and more Christians, he found that a lot of the Christians don’t keep the Law that was given to Moses by God that can be found in the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy).

The very first thing he asked me when he met me, verbatem, was

“Why do you Christians say you love Jesus when you don’t follow the Law of God?”

Is that a loaded question or what? Immediately I got defensive and almost a bit offended but then I realized what he was asking. Interestingly enough, Tobias knew the Bible better than a lot of people because when I asked him what he meant, there was an instant flow of verses and logic that even the best preachers behind the pulpits could ever hope to attain and here it was from the mouth of someone from a different faith. In one simple paragraph Tobias beautifully painted a picture of the Law of God and why Christians should adhere to it if they really love Jesus and claim He is God.

Starting with Leviticus 11, Tobias began to explain his grievances toward Christianity and moved quickly to the system of Catholic Confession and Absolution and finally, to my surprise, the Seventh-Day Sabbath. He then finished with this question:

“If Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 ‘ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill’, why don’t Christians follow the law?”

I gave a sort of half-laugh, half-sigh and if he had a questioning look on his face before, it was downright confused now. It was clear that he expected some rebuttal to all of this and the age old argument saying how Jesus died and we’re no longer bound to the law and free to do what we please, but what he got amazed him: agreement.

Once I informed my Muslim friend that I eat halal (kosher [clean as stated in Lev. 11]) and that I believe Jesus is the only human ever to walk the earth with the power to forgive sins, and that I keep the Sabbath from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, he realized he found something different. He realized that he found a source of truth that could only come from God. Something that was in harmony with the Law as stated and with the words of Christ.

Needless to say, he was very interested in studying the bible with me and I’ve been blessed by the whole experience. It taught me why the Law is important and the necessity of following it, not because we have to, but because we want to. We want to because Jesus did and has made it possible for us to do the same.

So the question I have for you, reader, is this: Was the law abolished by Christ and done away with? Or accepted by Christ as a way in which we are to follow His example?

This Path I Tread

Upward Path

Today is a Sunday. More importantly, it’s the beginning of a new week, a new adventure and new blessings. As I lay here in my soft, floor-level, cushion of a bed in my yellow and green room, I realize that a journey is beginning that will (hopefully) never be regretted: blogging. Trust me when I say I am not the best writer so if (and when) you see anything undesirable, I ask for your patience and kindness and just ear with me here.

Blogging was first introduced to me as a serious avenue of expressing myself by a good friend of mine (whose blog you can view here) and ever since then I have that annoying, tickling nag in the back of my brain to get a blog of my own. I wrestled with the idea for weeks on end and came up with various excuses as to why I shouldn’t and slowly drifted away from the idea until, well, here we are.

So the question is, where do I start?

I guess I could start with the title of my blog (and the title of this particular post).

“This Path I Tread” came to me in the middle of the night as I was up late, contemplating my life and all the numerous choices I’ve made and the Providential miracle (is there any other kind?) that put me in the position I’m in today. I realized that from the very beginning of my path into God’s work nearly three years ago, I was a completely different person in contrast to who I am today. This path I tread has been far from easy and I don’t think it will ever get any easier. And that’s okay.

You see, I’ve been labeled lots of things, good and bad, over the years: brave, childish, strong, weak, understanding, skeptical, and the list goes on and on. But the one label and promise I have held on to for the entirety of this path, the one I finally claimed for myself on July 27th, 2013 was this: adopted.

“[God] predestined [me] to adoption as [a son] by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made [me] accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:5,6 NKJV)”

 It is very well to be understood that there is power in claiming the promises of God for oneself. By claiming His promises we become partakers in the blessings He has had for all of us from the beginning of our lives up unto the very step you are taking.

As I began my journey into the unknown, the path I was beginning has become one of rich reward and blessing. It hasn’t been easy in any way but let’s ask ourselves, when did Jesus ever say it would be? If walking the straight and narrow path was easy, everyone would be doing it.

But it is made clear time and time again in God’s word that once we begin this path, if we cling to Jesus and claim Him as our righteousness, by faith we shall be saved and the trials and tribulations we face will be seen as blessings as we become eternity minded and the spiritual projectiles thrown at us will simply bounce off “[T]he shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:16 NKJV)”

I was once given sound advice from a dear friend and brother of mine which, in my rashness and rebelliousness, went unheeded for years until I finally understood what he, and more importantly what Jesus himself, was trying to tell me: “There is life in a look”

So, this path I tread, this path WE tread, whether it be difficult or easy, energizing or wearisome, trying or otherwise, the only this we ever need to focus in in Jesus. Always Jesus. He was, and still is, high and lifted up. Whatever our situation, whatever our struggle, whatever our burden, just look, simply look to the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Wonderful Counselor, the A and Ω, Jesus, and focus on Him.

“[W]hen he looked…, he lived. (Numbers 21:9 NKJV)”