Monday, February 05, 2007

Shiny Rock, Subtle Freedom...Redux, Redux

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." Eric Liddle

When I was small, my father showed me how to find ordinary stones in the backyard and use a rock polishing machine to reveal their hidden beauty. Every night when he came home, I would literally fling myself down a flight of stairs into his arms and ask "Is today the day they're done?" It seemed to take forever, but it was always worth the wait to see how something so mundane was actually something so very rare in disguise. Sometimes, I think my brain is a rock polishing machine. I put in thoughts and after a few nights, they're ready to come out and gleam like the morning. (I do admit that my thoughts are often just rocks.) Eric Liddle felt God's pleasure when he ran; I feel God's pleasure when I think.

If you've read my blog over the past few weeks, it isn't a mystery what I've been thinking about. This is the wall off of which I bounce my ideas. For me to wonder in public this way is a lot like adding a new chemical to the rock polishing machine--it helps me see beneath the surface of things to the hidden truth below. Here's the issue about and around which I've been ruminating:

The question of the day (of the year?) for me sits tangentially to the tension we maintain between freedom and holiness, antinomianism and grace, question and faith, and to a lesser extent, redemption and damnation.

I've always believed that there is a tension between freedom and holiness. I imagine myself walking a wire suspended above Niagara Falls. On one side of the wire, is freedom. On the other, holiness. Go too far either way and you plunge to a certain death in the river below. We can be a little free and we can be a little holy. We should avoid either extreme least we be licentious or legalistic. Today, it appears my rocks are ready to come out of the rock polishing machine. Today, I see that there is no tension between freedom and holiness. Freedom is holiness. Holiness is freedom.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Freedom from the Law and freedom from sin. Both together. He didn't set us free from the Law and condemn us to the mud pits of our own sinfulness until he sees fit to come and reclaim us. He set us free from the Law and free from Sin so that we may struggle to subdue our flesh under the covering and with the strength of his amazing grace. Grace is the weapon with which we conquer sin. Grace doesn't make provision for the flesh. The Law shows us how far from the mark we are. Grace shows us to Jesus who is, in every way, the propitiation for our sinfulness. I imagine Christ undoing our sin like Gladys Aylward unwrapping the bound feet of hundreds of Chinese girls. I see him rubbing life back into our sin-sick souls and encouraging us to receive the truth that they will not grow in such affected imprisonment. He didn't die for us that we may remain in darkness, rather he came that we may see the light and share that light with others as we respond to it in deeper and more meaningful ways. I often feel myself longing for, and even submitting to, having my soul again bound by sin. It is during these times that the Holy Spirit woos me back toward freedom--toward holiness--toward Himself.


CK said...

Susan, I really like this. Beautiful.

JP said...

You're pretty amazing. :)

rebekka said...

Gah, Susan, your blog is just really amazing lately. I can't get enough of it! Keep it coming.