Re blog: Rules, Rules, Rules

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14 NASB

I am a copy editor. I do it part-time from home now, but I used to work for a well-known, major newspaper. There, my job was to write headlines and scour articles, catching everyone else’s errors and making none of my own. In short, my job description was “be perfect.”

Are you surprised that I failed?

Whenever I did, the copy desk chief would call me and wake me up the next morning. “Did you edit the article on the city council meeting?” Oh, I hated those early-morning chats. I was so ashamed to admit that yes, it was me who missed the error now in print for the whole world to see. Worse – yes, it was me who made the error, in 45-point type, at the top of the Metro Section. I am so sorry.

To be fair, my boss was kind. And he treated me the same way he treated my colleagues – he corrected us in private and praised us in public. That’s part of made it so difficult. I genuinely liked the man and wanted to please him. All my colleagues did. And, yet, even working together, we could not produce a perfectly, constantly error-free paper. We were just so many humans trying to keep so many rules.

Copy editors are slaves to rules. We have a whole book of them, called the AP Style Book. Grammatical rules. Spelling rules. Capitalization and punctuation rules. Rules about headlines and libel and slander. I have degree in journalism, and try as I might, I could never follow all those rules, every day, all the time.

That must be something like what the Old Testament Jews felt. They must have tried to keep all those gazillion laws. Laws about sacrifices. Laws about purification. Laws about eating and festivals and marriage. And, try as they might, they failed. They were imperfect slaves to the law.

And that is what Jesus redeemed us from. He set us free from that bondage to rules. But, God didn’t just one day wake up in heaven and say, “Hey, you know what? I’ll just repeal all my laws. You guys don’t need to try to keep them anymore.”

No. The laws were necessary, and the consequence for breaking them was far more dire than a 6-a.m. reprimand from a gentle boss. The punishment was death. And so, Jesus redeemed us both from a life of slavery to laws and the consequence of breaking them when he died in our place. He answered the phone. “Yes, I’ll take the punishment for her. Let her sleep. Give me the blame.”

I have been redeemed from a life of slavery to “do’s and don’ts.” I have been redeemed into a relationship, a daughter-ship, a loving friendship with God Himself. I now strive to keep the rules out of a heart overflowing with gratitude, not out of fear of punishment when I fail.

Praise God. I’ve been redeemed.

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3 Responses to Re blog: Rules, Rules, Rules

  1. sondrakraak says:

    As a perfectionist, reading this gives me the chills. What pressure to have a job like that? I feel like the Lord’s been saying to me lately, “Stop striving, start abiding.” It’s so easy to regress to the pressures of the Old Covenant and forget that Christ is our righteousness, the perfect sacrifice for our failures! Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

    • Susan says:

      Sondra, I am so thankful both NOT to be a copy editor any more and also NOT to live under all those Old Covenant rules. Even so, I sometimes slip back into that legalism, judging myself, forgetting that Christ is perfect for me. I’m so glad Jen chose this post to reblog. You and I both needed to hear it again.

      Like

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