When I was first studying at Bible College, a while ago now, we were talking about the role that the prophets had in ancient Israel. They were there to warn the Israelites whenever they were straying from the covenant that they had made with God, whenever they were flouting God’s laws. It was suggested that maybe the prophets were like police, warning the people. But we all thought about it and realised that wasn’t quite right. The prophets didn’t enforce the laws of God, God did that Himself. No, the prophets were more like TAC signs. Billboards along the highway of life, warning people with things like “Don’t fool yourself, sin kills”, or a “15-minute prayer could save your life.”
Nowadays we don’t have those prophets anymore. I mean, we are no longer under the old law, since Jesus fulfilled the law and took on all of our sin on the cross. But does that mean that we don’t need our own TAC signs?
I think we all know the answer to that! After all, most of Paul’s writing in the New Testament would be fairly redundant if the story went ‘Jesus took away our sins, the end.’ Even though the law has been fulfilled, we still have our role to play. Jesus himself summed up our role, our response when he said: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:37-40). We don’t have to earn our salvation, for sure, but we do have to respond to it. We have our part to play, in growing our faith, becoming more like Jesus and putting our old, sinful selves to death (Romans 8:13).
So, I have two questions for you, one that we’ll answer here together, and one that is more personal. The first is this: what are our TAC signs? I would say that we actually have a few things that we can turn to, that warn us of behaviour that is not honouring to God, that is not living in the way of the Spirit. The first is the Bible, especially the New Testament, although don’t discount the Old Testament if you want to find out what is pleasing to God! And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God, – that’s from Micah 6:8. The second TAC sign we have is the Holy Spirit living within us. If you’re not sure if behaviour is in keeping with God’s desires for you, and the Bible isn’t black and white on the issue, then check with the Holy Spirit within; He won’t let you down.
The third TAC sign I would say is each other. Ange and the Ministry Team at church, certainly, but also your brothers and sisters in Christ. Tim Keller says, “Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws.” Paul tells us that mature Christians “speak the truth in love” to help each other become more like “him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15). We can do this for each other through active discipleship, accountability and even just checking in on each other regularly.
Now we come to the personal question I want to ask you. We’ve seen that we all have plenty of TAC signs in our lives, warning us, steering us back to the way that Christ would want us to live. So, my question is, what might be on your TAC sign today? What sorts of behaviour are you engaging in that would not be pleasing to your God? Do you obey the commandment to love God with all your heart, soul and mind? Do you work every day to put your old, sinful self to death, and walk instead in the Spirit? Let me challenge you today to pay attention to your TAC signs, so that we can each of us “throw off everything that hinders”, instead “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
SONG: ‘Create in Me a Clean Heart’ by Keith Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPmMcDeRpM
(Written by Natalie Crawford)