In which there is a peanut butter cup

by Craig on May 3, 2011

So yesterday Laska the love kitty gave me a lesson on acting every part of the cat Christian I say that I am.

Laska pounces because it’s his nature. I “speak and act” in love because it’s mine. When I disobey, however enjoyable it may be, it goes against my nature – and I feel the chill.

The chill could be because of the second half of James 2:12

So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom.

“What’s this law of freedom?” you say. In case you missed it and are a wee bit curious – it’s here.

And I guess I should straighten this out.

Didn’t I just say yesterday that I obey out of love, and desire, and nature – and not because of “judgment”?

Yes. Yes I did.

And am I saying now that I obey because there’s a judgment on the way?

Yes. Yes I am.

Nice.

I know.

The thing is, I heart the warm and fuzzy parts of faith as good as anybody but I can’t ignore what’s in front of my nose.

This “judgment” part is certain. If I’m in any doubt – James uses a special Greek-ish word combo.

First, a noun acting like a verb, a participle

μέλλοντες

(pronounced – melontess – accent on the mel)

then…

a passive infinitive, in this case, “too be judged”

κρίνεσθαι

(pronounced kreenesthai – accent on the kreen – and we shouldn’t forget to sound all Greeki-ish when we speak it.).

This combo makes the first part, the participle, the “will be” part – point to a future action which is certain to happen – that would be the second part “being judged”.

I take the hint.

There is a judgment in the offing.

To ignore it is to ignore a red light at an intersection.

And just in case I missed the hint that my acts of love, or not love, will be reviewed at a later date, verse 13 arrives on the scene with fresh troops:

“For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Oh James, you were so clear with the “judgment is merciless part”. Why muddy the waters with a “mercy triumphs over judgment” part?

But then it hit me.

I am to love because it’s my nature – but also because there’s a judgment coming.

And there’s a judgment coming – but it is all “triumphed over” by mercy.

A judgment without mercy and we’re all in trouble. Mercy with the judgment – well that just rings of …

what’s the word…

it’s on the tip of my tongue…

oh…

Grace.

So James, why don’t you just come out and say the “right” word – the word we all know and love.

Ohhhh, because “mercy” is an OT kind of word. It’s your kind of word. “Grace” is a Paul kind of word, a NT kind of word.

I suddenly see how it all ties together. The same but different but somehow it works…

like a peanut butter cup.

James 2:12 and 13 are like a peanut butter cup.

It’s that OT / NT “difference” that people who don’t believe like to point out – and to be honest, bothers us all just a little. No?

But then, I guess, the Bible we have is like a peanut butter cup too.

There is Grace in OT where everyone says there isn’t.
There is Judgment in the NT that we like to gloss over.

Mercy is Grace.

Grace is Mercy.

I obey out of love.

I obey because there is judgment.

But Mercy and Grace trump judgment.

Aaaaaaaand…

Mercy walked the earth,

and has a name,

and a couple of big holidays in his honor,

and is our only protection

against that big hammer of judgment that is to come.

Guess we should hang out with Mercy. No?

God bless

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora May 3, 2011 at 10:38 am

I love the Old Testament. I remember having one of those “ahhah” moments when I went through a study of the “red cord of grace” that was woven through the whole Old Testament and then into the New. Along with that, add the study of the Tabernacle, the mercy seat, etc., and I kind of “got it.” Mercy and grace? My two best friends. Strange that so many people will name their little girls Grace, but I don’t think I know even one named Mercy. I just love that picture of the two signs! Point taken!

Judgment isn’t a nice word these days. We are taught to be accepting, take people “where they are”, don’t be so hard on yourself, don’t be judgemental of your kids, let them “grow into” what is right, etc., etc. My thought is, I need an ultimate Judge, even now, who will tell me what is right and wrong, a voice saying “This is the way, walk ye in it.” And I need mercy — oh how I need it. A special path that gets me off the path that leads to destruction and back on the right path. We used to sing a lot of hymns with the word, mercy. Not so much anymore. Thanks so much for these thoughts. I love the book of James!!!!

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Craig May 3, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I think I would have hearted that study you did Cora. And the thing about lots of Graces but no Mercies — the hospital on Grey’s Anatomy is called………………………………………………… Mercy Grace …. hmmmmmm – a secret Christian among the staff maybe?? And I’m with you “judgment” good – — judgy bad. Poor Martin Luther – he missed so much by dismissing the book of James. God bless you Cora – and I just keep learning… :)

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A. May 3, 2011 at 11:13 am

mercy and judgement….somehow, oddly enough, there is His love in both actions.

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Craig May 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm

It just hit me today – all those years of study – and only today does it hit – Judgment + Mercy = Grace. Hmmm – God Bless you A.

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Debbie May 3, 2011 at 11:55 pm

I love your equations, Craig. Did you do some math study too? 😉
I love that mercy triumphs over judgment. And that we will all be judged so we better hang tight with Mercy. :)
God bless you Craig, as you keep uncovering valuable treasures and truths for us all.

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Craig May 4, 2011 at 11:05 am

Debbie – sorry so late – another tragedy for Laska – he’s ok now – but it was awfully close.SO not much to say here – just thank you – God Bless.

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Debra May 4, 2011 at 12:47 am

First, I love Laska’s lesson from yesterday. (Had to go back and read his own words :) You have taught him well. Now onto judgment and mercy. The peanut butter cup shows it perfectly. You can’t just scrape off the chocolate and eat the peanut butter part; they go together.
“For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” This also echoes Jesus. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.”

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Craig May 4, 2011 at 11:08 am

Debra – sorry so late in replying – but another tragedy befell poor Laska – and so yesterday was touch and go. Today he’s ok – but yesterday…

And amen – James has echoes of Our Lord throughout – it’s almost like he was related or something. Kind of short on words today – still recuperating from the Laska thing myself. thank you Debra – as always I heart reading your words – and God Bless.

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