Netflix and the Bible

Recently I decided to take on the gargantuan task of writing the Bible. All of it. By hand. I was inspired by the Journible collection and Deuteronomy 17:18 with instructions for Israel's kings: "And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law." It is going to take forever (well, I'm hoping to finish in a year... maybe) but I look forward to engaging with the scripture in a much more intense and focused way.

As of right now, I am twenty chapters in with 1,169 to go. I fully expect some of it to be challenging, but I am already seeing the rewards. I am going to use this space to check in regularly and share what I have learned throughout this project.

I have a big problem with silence. At work, while in my studio, while studying, I at least have music playing, and oftentimes a little Netflix in the background. I never finished The Bible series when it came out, so I have been catching up. This is how I found myself watching The Passion, while transcribing The Fall. 

We all know the story. God created everything there is (with his words, something our church has been focused on this year, but that is a story for another time). It was beautiful and perfect...

..and then sin. As Eve ate the fruit and shared it with Adam, something entered the world that was broken. It was devastating. Sometimes it is hard to imagine just how terrible this was as we have no concept of life before it; we have only experienced the fallen world and the consequences.

And then this passage, from Genesis 3:21:

And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Honestly, this is a verse I may have glazed over in my reading before, but having to think about every letter and having the time to consider the context of the verse, I was blindsided by an obvious question.

Where did the skins come from?

Death. Something had to die, immediately, for their sin. God did this, though it was a mar on his perfect creation, because he loved them and was already beginning the work of restoration. I was floored. We think Abel was the first to die in the bible. He was the first man, yes, but death was already necessary. 

I looked up, and on my screen was Christ on the cross. My Pastor likes to say that everything in the bible "fits perfectly together," and I have never seen it so clearly. Thousands of years after God made Adam and Eve garments of skin, the full force of sin was paid for in the flesh of Christ. 

God's Word is not bound by time or limitation, and just as it worked thousands of years after creation, it is working now. The scandalous miracle is that despite all the years of sin, of man pulling away from God, is that God still pursues us, is still working for us. 

So yes, I grew closer to God last night while watching Netflix, and I am quite alright with that.


For Freedom

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

For freedom. It is so easy to reduce the miracle of salvation down to "I believe in God, and he will save me from hell." Yes, true, but there is so much in our salvation that can be applied NOW. We are free from hell, free from the bondage of sin, but even more: we are also free from empty religion, legalism, and fear-based behavioral modification.

I who live in Christ am no longer trapped into a cycle where my salvation, my future, my hope, my eternity, depends on me. Because guess what? I am sort of terrible. I struggle, I am short-minded, easily frustrated, easily stressed, and I quickly fall into a cycle where I feel like if I'm not being a good "Christian" that God does not love me in that moment.

This is what we are free from. Our salvation was accomplished by Jesus on the cross, and to live in that we only have to accept it and love Him. He has done all of the work and there is nothing we can add. This verse calls us to stand firm in that truth, and even further, not submit again to yoke of slavery.

In the scriptures, Paul was writing to the churches in Galatia who were struggling with the gospel message and beginning to revert it back to something it was never meant to be. One of the big perversions of the gospel Paul was trying to correct was that we must complete some sort of spiritual discipline or follow the law to be saved. Paul is so well-spoken on this topic since he lived it; he admits himself that before he knew Christ he was so zealous to defend the law that he actual broke it!  

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made. (Galatians 3:19a)

The law, the sacrificial system that required so much of man in an effort to reach God, is gone. Once faith is put into Jesus Christ and his righteousness, the weight of the law has no hold over us! Our right standing with God will not change or flicker based on our current state or failures to be "good enough." 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

I let this verse comfort me whenever I fall back into the cycle of "I'm not good enough." No, I am not "good" enough, and by nature I never can be. However, Jesus is good enough. He has gone through everything I could ever face, and did it sinlessly so his righteousness could be imparted to me. This is where the freedom comes; it's a freedom that leads to rest in His goodness, His strength, His perfect nature shared with us who were so undeserving. 

For freedom, we have been set free.