By striving to prove how much they deserve God’s love, legalists miss the whole point of the gospel, that it is a gift from God to people who don’t deserve it. —Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Piety or party. Which one best describes your life in Christ? If it’s piety, I get it. Performance was integral to old covenant living. The old covenant was all good and all God, but it’s also obsolete. There’s a better way to live our faith.
You have come to God … to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:23b-24)
Talking about blood is a little gory, but it’s powerful imagery. And curious minds want to know: What did the blood of Abel say?
“Guilty, guilty, guilty!”
Genesis 4:10 records the aftermath of Abel’s death at the hands of his brother Cain. “The LORD said [to Cain], ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’”
In contrast, the blood of Christ speaks a better phrase: “Not guilty!” In fact, those two words summarize the Gospel of Christ.
Guilty, not guilty. Old covenant, new covenant. Piety, party.
Listen, if you’re living by the wrong blood, then you need to keep on moving—past the old covenant of works and into the new covenant of grace. There’s a party happening, and an entire body of people are waiting for you to join them.
Some of you struggle with the fact that Hebrews describes the gathering of God’s people with the secular word party. You get hung up on the idea of red Solo cups and foolish decisions. But that’s not the meaning behind panegyris at all. When Scripture uses the word party, it’s more like a family reunion with great music, tons of laughter, and nice wine glasses. Revelation tells us the new creation will be like a wedding reception for all eternity. People who haven’t danced in decades will be breaking a sweat on heaven’s dance floor.
This is a picture of the aftermath of God’s grace. It’s warmth and acceptance, and everyone is Christ’s guest of honor. You don’t want to miss it.
Lord, teach me to party in the most divine way. I want to experience a joyful assembly—even if it’s a stretch for me to imagine such a holy shindig. Show me this better way of living! Amen.