In the Old Testament Adventures Creed I talked about how useless “morality” is in changing human behaviour. Simply telling me what I should be doing differently isn’t even to bring about lasting change, because the problem is that in my sinfulness I don’t want to do the right thing.

Truth be told, a lot of Old Testament teaching often descends into this sort of moralism, and one of the reasons is that we can be very quick to read ourselves into the position of the protagonist of the story (e.g. David in the story of David & Goliath) and the application essentially becomes one of “be more like them”. I was doing a bit of searching for this recently and came across this post by Tim Keller on Moralism vs Christ-Centered Exposition that explains it brilliantly:

“There is, in the end, only two ways to read the Bible: is it basically about me or basically about Jesus? In other words, is it basically about what I must do, or basically about what he has done? If I read David and Goliath as basically giving me an example, then the story is really about me. I must summons up the faith and courage to fight the giants in my life. But if I read David and Goliath as basically showing me salvation through Jesus, then the story is really about him. Until I see that Jesus fought the real giants (sin, law, death) for me, I will never have the courage to be able to fight ordinary giants in life (suffering, disappointment, failure, criticism, hardship).”

I sent this link to Adam Ford, and he turned it into possibly the most brilliant cartoon he has ever written in his life. Awesome.


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