I suspect the meeting really went more like this:
“We have a problem. If those people ever get wind of what freedom in Christ actually means, if they grasp what it means to be totally free from even the concept of sin itself and all the condemnation and judgment that goes along with it vanishes, there will be nothing to keep them from such deep intimacy with their Creator. If they are enveloped with that depth of a love relationship with Him, they will never come out, their hearts will be totally changed and will start spreading that love to others.
So, here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna tell them that they are free from sin — and then tell them that they have to continually struggle to make it so. We’re gonna tell them that they are free from the law — but that freedom only applies to eating pork. We’re gonna trap people in cycles of absurdist confession of everything other than the dietary laws — and some of them we’ll even get confessing pork too. We’re gonna tell them that God loves them, but that He can not look on the sin that covers them. No one’s heart can live through that loneliness.
Then we’re gonna invent even more laws. We’re gonna make them feel guilty for not giving money — and for giving it to the wrong places. We’re gonna tell them that they have to attend church on Sunday — and then use the pulpit to preach even more ethical demands and threats of a broken relationship with God at them. We’re gonna use that pulpit to substantiate the idea that they can’t know God, hear from God or follow His voice — and make them depend on religious leaders to lead them.
Then we’ll present a God who is so pathetic and insecure that He sulks like a house cat whenever they violate one of the laws they were actually freed from. That will leave them trying to suck up to Him for so much of the time that they’ll never be able to hear how His heart just longs to hold them. As long as we can keep them wrapped up in shame and guilt, they will live under the law and never get anywhere near His love for them — by that time, we’ll OWN THEIR SOULS.”
Here’s what Jeremiah said:
‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,’ declares the Lord. ‘But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will put My Law within them, and on their heart, I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbour and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.’ (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Here is Jeremiah’s comparison/contrast:
The Old Covenant The New Covenant
Law on stones ————- Law on the heart
Taken by the hand ———- Led from within
Covenant Broken ————– Covenant Kept
A broken relation ——– Unbroken Relation
Man’s teaching ——– No need for teaching
No knowledge of God ———– All Know Him
No true forgiveness —— All sins forgiven
The constant reminder of sin —– Sin forgotten
Ever stopped and thought about why we usually only hear sermons about shame and guilt? Think it has something to do with control?