BY THE PATTERN

Gene Peacock

Much merchandise is made of the command in Exodus 25:40 to "do all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain," especially among the legalists in Churches of Christ. By this Old Testament command, which was implemented in great detail in the law books of the Pentateuch, they presume that there must also be a "pattern shown on the mountain" of the New Testament, which book not only does not have detailed implementation in any of the component letters, but also does have teaching to the Romans and the Galatians {and others) that such dependence on law cuts them off from the grace GOD has provided through Jesus Christ.

This "deficiency" in sacred writ bothers them not a whit, for they cheerfully create the laws which they desire from examples, hints, and suggestions. They apparently do not even notice the absence of such detailed instructions. Surely, if the New law is of the same type as the Old law, there should be a much larger segment of the New Testament scriptures devoted to these details, since the Hebrew writer makes such a point of the superiority of the New over the Old. It hardly seems to occur to them that our GOD did not provide these detailed laws because He did not want them!

The language of Paul, "The law of the Spirit of Life has set me free from the law of sin and death," and, "Be not tangled again in a yoke of slavery," clearly indicates his understanding (taught to him personally by Jesus) that the difference was of type and magnitude. Our "law" is in "the newness of the Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter," which indicates that attitudes are decidedly more important than mechanical observation or commands. Our Lord said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another," and, "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Thus, we see that the "pattern" of the "law of the Spirit of life" is one of proper attitudes toward each other and toward. GOD, and mechanical observation of detailed instruction is not pleasing without the presence of a proper attitude.

When we allow concern for the "pattern" to destroy the love and fellowship which was commanded for all Christians, we have put the cart before the horse, and are majoring in minors. "Identity" (as a denomination or a sect or even as "the true church") becomes a wedge to separate brethren and create animosity, in diametrical opposition to our Lord's command. In our insistence on "maintaining our identity," we have not only caused the divisions which were condemned in no uncertain terms by the New Testament writers, we have also developed a pride in the divisive nature of our "identity." May GOD give us the grace to "see ourselves as others see us."