Grace, Law

When grace leaves​

© April 25, 2018 | Schulter Etyang

Short Bible history from 1 Kings 14:25-26 NKJV

Rehoboam was Solomon’s son. He inherited the kingdom from Solomon his father. But because his father disregarded the grace of God (sacrifices to the true Yahweh), the kingdom was torn in two. This was an indictment against Solomon for disregarding the grace of God. Rehoboam also built high places on every hill and under every green tree for other gods and worshipped them. Like father, like son, Rehoboam disregarded the grace of God.

The grace of God? Yes, the grace of God. Please note that Old Testament folks received God’s grace through the sacrifice of bulls, goats, lambs and pigeons – what theologians call types or shadows. We in the New Testament receive God’s grace through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for us – what theologians call the substance. All the sacrifices in the Old Testament were a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do in the New Testament.

So, this is what happened! An Egyptian king, Shishak, attacked Jerusalem and took away everything. Specifically, he took away the gold shields. In their place, Rehoboam made bronze shields as substitutes. Rehoboam used bronze as a decoy. He used bronze because it had the same look as gold, albeit brighter. Gold in its raw form is dark yellow or strong yellow. Most agree that its colour is darker rather than lighter. It’s not appealing to the eye. On the other hand, bronze or brass is bright and mostly used for decoration. 

Why is this important? Here’s why. Gold and bronze both have spiritual significance. In the Bible, gold represented God’s glory. It represented the excellencies and splendours of God and His grace. Bronze represented God’s judgment or his disapproval. 

Have to

Back to Rehoboam. Rehoboam substituted the gold shields with bronze shields. God’s glorious grace was substituted with God’s judgment or his disapproval.

Let’s play this out in the 21stcentury

Under the Law of Moses, the premise was simply this, if you obeyed all the commandments, God blessed you. God cursed you if you disobeyed even a single commandment. Simply put, blessed if you did well, cursed if you failed.

Christian, does this sound familiar? You have to obey God, you have to be holy, you have to be righteous, you have to be prayerful, you have to be loving and kind, you have to submit, you have to be generous, you have to tithe, you have to apply these steps, keys and principles, you have to attend church services, you have to pursue your purpose and destiny, you have to find your calling, you have to serve God, you have to seek after God…

You have to obey God, you have to be holy, you have to be righteous, you have to be prayerful, you have to fast, you have to be loving and kind, you have to submit, you have to be generous, you have to tithe, you have to apply these steps, keys and principles, you have to attend Church services, you have to pursue your purpose and destiny, you have to find your calling, you have to serve God, you have to seek after God…

Even if you are not the religious type there are have to’s that you have to live up to – I have to be a good wife or mother, I have to be a good employer or employee, I have to be a good leader, I have to be a good husband or father, I have to be a good kid at home and at school, I have to be healthy, I have to exercise, I have to be thin, I have to be educated, I have to be wealthy, I have to live in a good neighborhood. I have to drive a good car, I must have a career, I have to make money, I have to be a good citizen, I have to be a good neighbour…

I have to be a good wife or mother, I have to be a good employer or employee, I have to be a good leader, I have to be a good husband or father,  i have to be a good wife or mother, I have to be a good kid at home and at school, I have to be healthy, I have to be educated, I have to be wealthy, I have to live in a good neighborhood. I have to drive a good car, I must have a career, I have to make money, I have to exercise, I have to be thin, I have to be a good citizen, I have to be a good neighbour…

And failure to do these “have to’s”, results in condemnation and guilt. We feel as if we are being punished by God or by life itself. We feel a sense of separation, insecurity, and uncertainty. If this is your life, then you have been listening to the gongs of the bronze shields. It is no wonder you are proud, jealous, envious, confused, sad, angry, anxious, burnt out, depressed, addicted, workaholics, poor, sick and even suicidal.

Bronze shields sermons, books, seminars, talks and relationships demand that you have to do – you have to perform. The burden of proof is on you. You have to prove yourself. You are the main subject of your life. Everything hinges on you. This might sound good on the onset but if you live long enough it is burdensome, even dangerous.

Grace not so appealing

Listening to the gospel can be a non-appealing experience for us, just like unpolished gold is. Some even consider it boring. They roll their eyes when they hear who Jesus is and what he has done. Bronze shields are bright and appeal to the eye. At times, bronze shield sermons, books, seminars, talks and relationships don’t even mention the word judgment. Sometimes, these are exciting sermons or talks to listen to or people to hang out with. They give us a high. But after the high comes the hangover. The realization that we still need to go and apply the have to’s.

Gold shields sermons, books, seminars, talks and relationships always point you to Jesus and his work for you. They consistently point you to God’s glorious grace for you because of what Jesus did. They consistently point you to Jesus’ performance and not your performance. They consistently point you to Jesus’ obedience and not your obedience. They consistently point you to His love for you and not your love for Him. They consistently point you to the one who carried your sorrows and sicknesses so that you can be healed. They consistently point you to His righteousness and not your sin. Jesus is the main subject. Everything hinges on Jesus.

Jesus is the main subject. Everything hinges on Jesus.

Asa, please bring back the gold shields. 1 Kings 15:15 NKJV

That’s what grace looks like

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted in: Grace, Law

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Schulter Etyang leads The Life Place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Schulter is one whom Jesus loves. He loves his wife, Jenny, and enjoys reading, travelling, cooking, running and playing squash. He also enjoys conversations with friends about Jesus and about life.

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