Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Quotes: The Purpose of Rules?

From Crave by Chris Tomlinson (pages 124, 125, 126):

So the law was God's way of showing us that we need Him. And needing God sounds a whole lot like a relationship, not like following rules. ...following rules simply cannot lead to a deepening relationship....but some of those rules...are actually good things....

Perhaps rules don't create intimacy by themselves. Maybe they create the space for intimacy.

We can think of this another way: Following rules like these makes intimacy possible. In fact, staying within certain boundaries is the only way to deepen a relationship. A man cannot develop a soul-deep bond with his wife in an open marriage. But he also cannot develop a soul-deep bond with his wife by avoiding an open marriage and doing nothing else. Having a monogamous relationship simply creates the space for the man and his wife to develop trust, deepen their understanding of one another, and enjoy the intimacy that grows as two lives are joined into one.

The Bible compares the church's bond with Jesus to a marriage, so I think we can say similar things about our relationship with Him. We just saw how God's commandments served to highlight our sin so we'd know we needed God in the first place. We might like to leave the rules behind once we're justified, embracing grace, and moving beyond the old legalism of the past. But when we commit our lives to following Christ, the rules don't just suddenly disappear. In fact, Jesus stepped up the commands in many ways. So why did He do this?

I think Jesus' commandments create space for us to enjoy intimacy with Him. ...[Jesus] made it very clear how His disciples should relate to His rules: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

....He was making a point, a really important point: Love and obedience go together. Intimacy and rules go together. You can't separate one from the other.

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