Posts Tagged ‘law of Moses’

Day Fifty-Seven

What the Heart of Christ Looks Like

“But he, full of the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory (the splendor and majesty) of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand!” Acts 7:55

          Between the character of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:23) and the character of the disciple Stephen (Acts 7:1-60), we see an amazing juxtaposition which reveals the very heart of Christ.  In both these situations, rebellious crowds of Israelites are threatening the safety of each of these men because of the word of God which has been brought to them.  Two different dispensations are in operation: with Jeremiah – it is the law of Moses.  With Stephen it is the law of the Spirit of Life.

It is interesting to note that Romans 8:2 clarifies to us that the law of the Spirit of Life frees us from the law of sin and of death.  We will see the truth of that in how Stephen responds to the threatening crowd. But first… Jeremiah.

Israel has not received Jeremiah’s words from the Lord, and in fact his words have caused them to desire to do away with him.   Jeremiah 18:23 presents Jeremiah speaking before the Lord with a request that He not forgive their (the Israelites) iniquity, nor blot out their sin from His sight. He requests that the Israelites be overthrown before the Lord and that He would deal with them in His anger.  Harsh – to say the least, but probably from Stephen’s perspective not unwarranted.

Now contrast that with Acts 7 where the people are again threatening death to the servant of God – in this case Stephen.  They have actually dragged Stephen out of the city and are beginning to stone him.  At this moment Stephen, gazing into heaven and seeing Christ standing beside the Father — prays, “Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]!”

I believe during these two different events we are privileged to observe the law of the Spirit of Life in operation in Stephen.  It freed him from the bounds and limitations of operating according to the Moses law in a very vital way.  The Law of Moses is like the letter of the law.  It is a yardstick of assessment that brings judgment based on if you are right or you are wrong.  This Law, however, lacks the power to transform or bring new life.  In Jeremiah’s case – we saw this lack.  He could only condemn.

With Stephen, however, you see in operation the very heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.  You see the law of the Spirit of Life.  How do I know that?  On the cross – when He was being crucified, suffering unimaginably, Jesus first utters the very same sentiment.  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Lk 23:34

Jesus Himself explained to His disciples after the crucifixion that it was necessary and fitting that the Christ would suffer in this way before entering into His glory. (Lk 24:26)  As He suffered and paid the penalty for us, you and I (like Stephen) are now freed by His death and given entrance to operate according to the very same law of the Spirit of Life – the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  No matter what the persecution or situation before us, in Christ, we are more than conquerors and can walk out from the abundance of His very same heart.  We can now conqueror because He has conquered for us!


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