December 16, 2017

It’s Jubilee Week on Internet Monk: All Grace All the Time!

Since this is an election year, I’d like to propose a policy that I think all of our Presidential candidates should get behind. I say we should declare a Jubilee Year here in the U.S.

All debts released. All.

Are you a foreign country who owes us money? We’ve written it off.

Illegal immigrant? Full amnesty. No questions asked.

House foreclosed? Car repossessed? You get them back.

Credit card debt? Reset to zero.

Unpaid traffic tickets? Library fines? We’re tearing ’em up. With a smile.

Owe the IRS? Forget about it.

Crushing medical bills? No more. They’re all forgiven.

Can you imagine a candidate who was “Bible-believing” enough to suggest such a thing? A Jubilee! A new start for everyone. Pure grace and wide mercy. Debts wiped out. For one, for all. Holy Liberty Bell, Batman! Wouldn’t that be something!

…in the fiftieth year, blow the ram’s horn loud and long throughout the land. Set this year apart as holy, a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors and return to your own clan. This fiftieth year will be a jubilee for you. (Lev. 25:9-11, NLT)

Well, I think we all know how far that idea will go. So, instead, we are going to declare this Jubilee Week at Internet Monk. This week’s posts will stress “all grace, all the time.” Our focus will be on God’s amazing, scandalous grace, revealed to us in Jesus.

Our main text for the week will be Steve Brown’s new book, Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad at You. In his engaging, funny, grace-filled style, Steve writes about how he got tired, as a pastor, of trying to teach frogs how to fly. That is, he became disillusioned with his job description: trying to keep people from sinning. Can’t be done, he discovered.

Like him, we here at Internet Monk believe that the Christian faith isn’t really about “getting better.” Nor is ministry about designing programs and techniques by which people are prevented from sinning.

Well then, what is the focus of this faith we call Christian? As Steve Brown says, “It’s about living your life with someone who love[s] you without condition or condemnation.” It’s about grace, and life. Because of who Jesus is and what he did for us, our sins are not the issue. He is. The Good News is. The Cross and the Resurrection and the Ascension and Pentecost are. His Kingdom is. The cleansing waters of Baptism and the sustaining nourishment of the Lord’s Table are. Life in a new creation now and forever is.

I hope you’ll stick around for our “Jubilee” week. In anticipation, I’ll tell you what Steve Brown once said as he addressed an audience of serious Christians:

I told them they had a reputation for godliness and everybody looked up to them as fathers and mothers in the faith. “But,” I said, “I know the truth. I’ve been around a long time, and frankly, you and I both know that you aren’t as good as your reputation suggests. You have secrets that would shock everybody who knows you if they knew the truth. You’re also scared spitless somebody will find out. If you promise not to tar and feather me until I’m finished, I’ll help you. But if you leave before then, you’ll miss something really good.”

Finally, here’s a little gift to help us tune up our hearts for Jubilee week, from Michael Card:

Comments

  1. Would that Jubilee extend to the bankers, so that we forgive them the money we have on deposit?

    • The Jubilee system actually distorted pretty heavily the ancient Hebrew’s economy, and resulted in various odd practices (sell the debt to the gentile for the year then buy it back at a prearranged price).

      So don’t worry, the jubilee practice actually didn’t break many economic laws.

      • Having the weird combination of an economics degree and a theology degree, I decided to write a paper at seminary on the economics of the year of jubilee. In summary I argued that the year of jubilee acted as an economic modifyer to the cyclical price of grain in a an agrarian society.

  2. Haven’t read Steve’s book yet, but I will. On the one hand, he’s waaaaay too conservative for me, but he gets this. My wife and I listen to most of his radio shows. Yeah, he’s selling books for his guests, but it’s worth the listen. Sometimes we don’t know whether to laugh or cry when we hear some of the stuff people say who call in to the show. They just don’t get the free grace stuff. If it doesn’t look like the religion they’re accustomed to, it must be scandalous, right? (If you think Steve’s giving you permission to embezzle from your employer or mess around with your neighbor’s wife, you’re not listening.)

    Great book and great topic for this week’s focus, Chaplain Mike!

  3. All grace. All the time. Shoot, count me in!

  4. “Credit card debt? Reset to zero.”

    Oooh, Tom and I need that one, Chaplain Mike. It would solve a lot of financial problems we have. Folks keep trying to figure out how to help people be able to pay their mortgages. I will tell you how you could help many of them….force banks to cut in half what they make customers pay for minimums on their credit cards. Yes, it will mean it will take a hundred years instead of fifty to get the cards paid off, but at least they can pay on all their bills and still pay their mortgage.

    And, I am looking forward to Jubillee Week!

  5. I LOVE God’s grace!

    But a little law goes a long way in making that grace so unbelievably wonderful.

    So…kill em’ with the law (one part of that “two-edged sword”)…and then give ’em brand new life with that glorious gospel Word of forgivenss (grace).

    • The key words being “a little” — a measure practiced by basically no congregation or denomination that I’ve ever seen. I have hope, though …

  6. I don’t see any examples in scripture where they actually practiced the Year of Jubilee. And it wasn’t just every 50 years – the price of all land would be determined by how long it was until the next Jubilee, when it would revert back to the original clan/owner, although Lev 28:21 seems to indicate that if they did not choose to redeem it then it went to the priests.
    Imagine the outcry on just the property restrictions if this was followed today!

  7. I would like my credit card reset to zero. Of course, you couldn’t have credit cards because that would be usury (which was illegal in the Church at least)

  8. petrushka1611 says:

    I wonder if the whole point of the jubilee was the mind-boggling impracticality of it all. Like God put it there to make the Hebrews scratch their heads and wonder how on earth something like this could even be done. The paperwork. Forgiving another’s debt knowing you were going to lose more because you were owed more. Having to move out of your house. And a realistic person would look at this and say, “there’s simply no way.”

    God set up the gospel as something as impossible to grasp and then took care of all the transactions Himself.

  9. I’m sure the US govt would be happy to forgive the debts of others if their own debts are forgiven!

    Along with the forgiving of debts was an understanding money is only lent to those in need, not who want a big house.

    If we would translate the Jubilee wisely into our own time, there is a lot to be gained.

  10. Hmmmmm….which one of our great Saints said something like Steve?

    “Love God and do as you please.”

  11. Isaac (except when I'm Obed) says:

    Just listened to Tullian Tchvidgian (or however Billy Graham’s grandson spells his name) interview Steve Brown on Steve Brown’s own show for the new book. I love those guys 🙂

  12. I like Steve Brown. I even like it when he calls me a twit, because we both know it’s true. 😀