I just started reading True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer last night. So far I really like it. I hit on a few paragraphs that I just have to share here. He quotes scripture using the King James version but I’m going to change it here to the ESV. Hope the purists don’t mind.
“We do not come to true spirituality or the true Christian life merely by keeping a list, but neither do we come to it merely by rejecting the list and then shrugging our shoulders and living a looser life.
If we are considering outward things in relation to true spirituality, we are face to face not with some small list, but with the whole Ten Commandments and all of God’s other commands. In other words, if I see the list as a screen, and I say this small list is trite, dead and cheap, and I take hold of the screen and lift it away, then I am not face to face with a looser thing, I am face to face with the whole Ten Commandments and all that is included in them. I am also face to face with what we might call the Law of Love, the fact that I am to love God and I am to love my fellow man.
In the book of Romans, in the 14th chapter, verse 15, we read: “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” This is the law of God. In a very real sense there is no liberty here. It is an absolute declaration that we are to do this. It is perfectly true that we cannot be saved by doing this; we cannot do this in our own strength; and none of us do this perfectly in this life. Nevertheless, it is an imperative. It is the absolute command of God. The same thing is true in 1 Corinthians 8:12 and 13: “Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” Therefore, when I take hold of the screen of a trite list and I say this is too superficial, and I push it aside, I must see what I am doing. I am not now confronted with a libertine concept, but I am confronted with the whole Ten Commandments and with the Law of Love. So even if we are dealing only with outward commands, we have not moved into a looser life, we have moved into something much more profound and heart-searching. As a matter of fact, when we are done with our honest wrestling before God, very often we will find that we will be observing at least some of the taboos on these lists. But having gone deeper, we will be observing them for a completely different reason. Curiously enough we often come around in a circle through our liberty, through the study of the deeper teaching, and find we do want to keep these things. But now not for the same reason–that of social pressure. It is no longer merely a matter of holding to an accepted list in order that Christians think well of us.”