Continuing our series on The Treasure in the Field, the all-embracing kingdom
The practical requirements for holy living are made known through the Word of God and the Peace of Christ. In partnership together, they provide the objective and subjective aspects of discovering the will of the King. Taking them together avoids the twin dangers of antinomianism and legalism.
Paul brings these two ideas together in Colossians 3:15, where he speaks of the peace of God ruling in our hearts. The word often translated “rule” actually conveys the idea of “umpire”. The umpire does not make up the rules – so an inward sense of peace (or lack of it) does not provide an adequate basis for decisions on how to live. That would be tantamount to antinomianism, or lawlessness – playing the game of life without rules.
But the umpire needs to know the rules and then apply them to each situation as it unfolds in the game. We really are governed by an inner sense of peace, the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit – so there is no room for legalism. But that inner sense of peace, like an umpire, is to be informed in every response by a clear understanding of the rules of the game (the teaching of Scripture). It will take wisdom to apply the principles of God’s Word to everyday realities – just as a good umpire is able to know the rule book, to be observant of all that is going on in the game, and make the appropriate connections between rules and actions in order to make the game flow successfully.