Church Write-Up: Faith, Fulfilling the Law

At church last Sunday, the pastor continued his series through the Apostle’s Creed. The part that he talked about was “…who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried…”

Here are some items:

A. In the children’s part of the service, the pastor was explaining faith. He said that faith is trusting that something is so, even if we do not see it immediately. Why do many children trust their parents and grandparents? Because they know that their parents and grandparents love them, and that what their parents and grandparents have said has come true in the past. The pastor told the little girl that he had a treat for her in a bag. He pulled out scissors, then a stapler, which obviously are not treats. Then he pulled out a piece of candy and gave it to her. She had trusted that he would give her a treat. The scissors and the stapler represent the disappointing, sad, or confusing things we experience in life. The treat, presumably, represents the good things God ultimately has in store for us.

B. In the sermon, the pastor talked about a road trip that he took to Colorado. He saw a lot of beautiful scenery—-mountains and streams. But then he drove through deserts and, on the surface, those look boring or even harsh. Yet, if one looks closely enough, one can see that even the deserts are beautiful, with their texture and the different colors of sand. Similarly, we can look at the cross of Christ and wonder where the beauty is there, but it is present, for it displays God’s love.

The law, the pastor continued, is beautiful, yet we cannot keep it because it always demands something more of us. There is always one more thing to do, or one more person to help. Jesus Christ kept the law for us. And a positive result of that is that the things of this world—-being cut off in traffic, whoever is in power at the time—are only temporary.

The pastor’s depiction of the law raised a question in my mind. Actually, I have had this question before. The way he was presenting it, the law is a bottomless pit. There is always one more thing to do, one more person to help, more depth in which one can go. How, then, did Jesus fulfill it as a human being? The way the pastor presented it, no finite human being—-even with a good nature—-would be able to fulfill the law, for the law is a bottomless pit. Jesus, of course, helped everyone who came to him. But there were people he did not help.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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