A vision on a rooftop by the sea - 05

Why did God give Israel the law? Rob Bell reminds us that God was showing his people a new way. He was calling them out from other people groups around them. He was bringing together a new tribe. God has always been making a way for humanity. He provides spaces and environments where chaos and separation are replaced with order, restoration, and fellowship with God. The law helped us know we were separated from God and would not be restored without God reaching down to rescue us through Jesus Christ.

Rob reminds us that Peter would have not only been taught the law, but also all the other man-made laws that had been added to God's law over the centuries. The Apostle Paul explains this in detail throughout much of the New Testament. Rob points out that it was this man-made law that Peter was being set free from with his obedience to God after the vision. Was the idea of not associating with a Gentile something Christ would do? The law Peter had been raised to believe told him he could not eat with Gentiles or enter their home. Did Jesus say love your neighbor except for those people in society that you're not allowed to associate with? Kind of like we sometimes do today when we're afraid of condoning a person's sinful lifestyle through loving them and being kind and generous with our life.

Rob said "Peter had been given by his tribe some very healthy messages about being different, and discernment, and how to be in a new way in the world. He had also been handed all sorts of rules and regulations that had no grounding in the good, in being a new kind of tribe in the world." Jesus was helping Peter break free of those rules and regulations that had formed his thought patterns about God up to that point. 

The work of the Holy Spirit is to help us break free of everything that is not of Christ. To cast off all those things which weigh us down and hinder us from real relationship with God. To cleanse our hearts and minds of things that prevent a true demonstration of God's love in the world.

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