The law you use to accuse

41 “I do not accept glory from human beings,42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God[d]?

45But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

John 5:41-45 NIV

The above passage came up at Missio on Sunday, and I was struck in particular by the words in bold. Specifically, I came across the idea that the law of Moses was the law they used to justify their place in society, it was the law they used to accuse. And yet Jesus says very clearly: this law you accuse with is a law you can’t meet yourself. You cannot hold up the standard you hold others too.

How amazingly true for us today. The church’s main message to society seems to ultimately be one of condemning the sexual ethics of the world and yet it is undoubtedly the sexual failings of clergy and church-goers that has torn so many communities and marriages apart.

The challenge then is not to sit back and hurl abuse at the sins of the church, but instead to ask: what is the law “on whom your hopes are set”. I’m not sure I’ve even got the self-awareness to know that for myself, but it’s a haunting and challenging question.

One Reply to “The law you use to accuse”

  1. I find myself pre-apologising for my failings when people learn I’m a Christian, so fearful of hypocrisy, but I think often that’s an excuse for me to continue on in my only-slightly-different-ways, rather than strive to improve that standard.
    I think in my heart I genuinely expect/trust God to continue being the impression I have of Him, which is cool.

    Good question.

    Did their failure to recognise Jesus place them in error of the law? Seems to me he’s talking about their failure to recognise (both senses) Him given all the pre-reading they are claiming to have done. So is it simply You Hypocrites, or perhaps Seedless Watermelon/Capricciosa but hold the Anchovies?

    BTW – I’m sure you’re not suggesting otherwise, but by all means give church-based-molesters etc both barrels; as a people we need to work harder. The name “Christian” and “Church” mean something well different than they should in the minds of the public. And that’s our collective fault for not seeking personal holiness, and taking personal responsibility for personal standards and ethics. Which I’m certainly guilty of.

    Which brings us back to the law: I’m genuinely happy to drive 5 over all day, as long as I don’t get nabbed by a camera or cause an accident. Common sense stops me doing 30 over, the law stops me doing 15 over. Only obedience gets me truly under the limit.

    Personal revelation, conviction and change.

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