Noodling on some of Jesus’ teaching this morning. Kind of a “chicken and egg” thing, but not really ’cause I know which came first. Maybe more of a perpetual motion thing.
Now, I’m no scientist, but I get the basics of what it takes for something to stay in motion indefinitely. Basically, the energy within that something never diminishes, it just changes from one form to another and back again so that that something always stays in motion. Impossible to achieve because it violates the laws of thermodynamics, that over time everything loses energy. But praise, God, we are no longer under law.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” ~ Jesus
(Luke 6:37-38 ESV)
At first read, seems to lean toward a conditional salvation based on our works. Judge not, condemn not, forgive, and then, you won’t be judged, won’t be condemned, you’ll be forgiven.
But we know that’s not true. For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). The finished work on the cross–Jesus bearing the full wrath of God for our sin–resulted in a forgiveness and eternal pardon available to all who receive it by faith. “Father, forgive them,” Jesus cried from the cross. What’s more, not only was Jesus “delivered up for our transgressions” but He was also “raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). No judgment.
Such is our standing before the Father in the Son. No judgment. No condemnation. Forgiven. Abundantly blessed, given every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). And set in sanctifying motion. Being conformed into the image of Christ. Transformed by the renewing of our minds. The life we now live, lived by the Son of God in us through His Spirit. He increases as our old man decreases.
And through that, a new law of “heavenly dynamics,” such that a divine perpetual motion is possible. A motion sustained as we judge not, condemn not, forgive, and freely give. Those divine determinations then result in us knowing know afresh, despite our failures, the fullness of grace by which we’ve been saved.
But when we, instead, cede to the old man who’s prone to be judgmental, who’s tempted to pass sentence on others, and determines to withhold forgiveness, I’m thinking it causes things to atrophy pretty quick. That it sucks the life out of the new life we have in Christ.
If we live in a context of judgment, then eventually we experience judgment. If our norm is a standard that condemns, then, at some point, “the measure we use” will be “measured back to us” and we’ll be unable to shake that cloud of condemnation. If we refuse to forgive one another as God in Christ forgave us (Eph. 4:32), then eventually won’t we question how encompassing forgiveness can really be and whether it really can cover all our failings?
While the capacity for grace and forgiveness was not something we could manufacture, it was born–actually, born again–within us. And, in a sense, it’s kind of a use it or lose it proposition. And the more we use it, the more we live in light of it. The greater the measure we “press down, shake together, and let run over” the more, and deeper, we continue to know the abundant grace poured into our lap.
Kind of a perpetual motion thing.
By the grace of God. For the glory of God.