In which “the law” descends and a remnant arises

by Craig on August 1, 2011

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Moses descended from Sinai and laid out the simple proposition…
follow the law or not.
But if they chose to follow, obedience was required.
If they disobeyed enough God would bring about an Exile from the land he was about to give them.

And thus, the covenant of the law of Moses.

It’s easy to judge them for messing up until I realize their reflection is mine.

And they did disobey enough.
First came Exile to Assyria – then Babylon – and even after their return…
subservience to Greece first, then Rome.

In Exile the Pharisees were born…
leaders vowing that the law of Moses would remain known and be followed.
But through the years they added to the law that was already impossible to keep.

Original Pharisaical obedience to the law of Moses was an act of humility before God.

But it shows me how with even the best minded acts…
in the end…
we always insert too much of us and not enough of Him.

Imperfection, no matter how perfectly it starts, always begets…

imperfection…

and perfection is required to live in the presence of The Perfect God.

The ripples of context for today’s daisy:

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The broader context: Paul is planning to visit the church at Rome. This letter was kind of a sum up of his doctrine, so that when he got there they’d know the basics.

The nearer context: how obeying the law of Moses was not enough, and how the law of faith preceded the law of Moses.

The upcoming context: non-Jews would be given the good news of salvation by means of grace, and when the full number have entered into the kingdom, then somehow, some way, God still has a plan for the children of the law of Moses.

The immediate context: how, ever since the Exile (500ish BC), there had always been a remnant of Israel free to worship God correctly in the Promised land. This remnant now believed in the Messiah.

The verse:

So also at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if by grace, it is no longer because of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. (ROM 11:6 [5 included for context])

And all of this talk of the law of Moses, and how it’s not good enough, none of it was written to us. I, for one, never agreed to the law of Moses. How many of us even know any Orthodox Jews? So although it’s the Bible, and all of the Bible applies to us – this wasn’t written to us.

It saddens me that the Reformers decided to lump all instances of the Greek word,

ἔργον

pronounced like “air gone” – emphasis on the first syllable.

into the one word, “works” – and always with a negative connotation.
I’m no great man of theology…
Martin Luther and John Calvin – they were.
But they were also…

wrong

in this one respect.

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White daisies are imperfectly awesome.

Yellow daisies, done with the right spirit are pleasing to God.

Purple daisies – well they’re just flat-out cool – and good.

Green daisies run the gamut from good-ish to not so good-ish.

And if you are new, you’ll be wondering what’s up with all the daisies – it’s all explained here. You’ll heart the daisies. (In short: “daisies” = “works”)

And finally, although no daisies are perfect…

my best intentioned daisies are acceptable to our Lord…

because of the red rose…

of Grace.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando August 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

Marvelous reflection! I like thinking of works as “daisies”. We are currently reading James in our Bible study group and I can’t wait to bring up this image to the others! Thanks!

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Craig August 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Thank you Martha, thank you. The idea that there are way more than just one “works” – and works are not bad – and can really be quite magnificent – and aren’t scary or burdensome – but just daisies that we gather along the road to present to our Lord in the end – and as long as the single red rose is there – the bouquet is accepted – I hart that! I’m not a big fan of “works” but who doesn’t like daisies – and now, for me, daisies = works. thank you again Martha, and God bless and keep you.

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A. August 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

I agree with Martha: your use of daisies as a metaphor for works is so useful. It helps me because I am so visual in my thinking. Thank you, Craig!

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Craig August 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm

A. I do so miss you when you’re not here (⌣˛⌣) – thank you , and God bless you as always.

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Dawn August 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

Dear Craig,

I have so much catching up to do with your daisies. I have been away a total of 16 days. Grandmothering 24/7 was fabulous, but I am happy to return to the daisies and counting of blessings and fisherlady poems and Laska guest posts and photos, etc. I hope to post something more thoughtful after I’ve done some perusing of the archives.

Missed you,
Dawn

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Craig August 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm

you didn’t spoil the kids while you were gone did you? And Dawn, you were missed – lots. God bless and keep you (ˆ◡ˆ).

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Michelle August 2, 2011 at 4:46 am

And finally, although no daisies are perfect…
my best intentioned daisies are acceptable to our Lord…
because of the red rose…
of Grace.

Grace really is the secret, isn’t it. I was sharing with someone on Sunday that nothing we do is good enough. And no church is ever going to not fail you at some time, because the church is made up of people, and we fail. But there is Grace. And we need to receive it, and remember to give it also.

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Craig August 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Amen Michelle – without grace we have an infinity sized Canyon to traverse to get to God – and no way to get it done. Daisies are important – and the more I read of them in the New Testament – the more I know that we need to pay attention to our daisies – but in the end – without grace – there’s nothing. And as you said – we all – ALL need to be better conveyers of grace. Good reminder! I heart reading your comments! God bless and keep you Michelle.

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