Forget the Legalistic Wax, Hear the Gospel Song.

Erik Raymond —  August 17, 2011

I appreciated this quote in the midst of a very helpful book by Tim Chester:

In Greek mythology, the Sirens would sing enchanting songs drawing sailors irresistibly toward the rocks and certain shipwreck. Odysseeus filled his crew’s ears with wax and had them tie him to the mast. This is the approach of legalism. We bind ourselves up with laws and disciplines in a vain attempt to resist temptation.

Orpheus, on the other hand, played such beautiful music on his harp that his sailors ignored the seducitons of the Sirens’ song. This is the way of faith.

The grace of the gospel sings a far more glorious song than the enticements of sin, if only we have the faith to hear its music. –Tim Chester, You Can Change, p.57

It reminds me of the truth that flesh cannot defeat the flesh (Colossians 2.23). In order to grow in godliness it must come through the transforming grace of Christ (cf Colossians 3). This sweet gospel song is so attractive and gloriously captivating to Christ’s sheep.

Erik Raymond

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Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids while pastoring at Emmaus Bible Church. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/erikraymond

9 responses to Forget the Legalistic Wax, Hear the Gospel Song.

  1. I remember the first time I read that, in Sam Storms’ One Thing. Was really eye opening. “Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but it’s own…”

    • Excellent. Way to add some value here Dave! (could have only been exceeded with an mp3 file of the comment in a British accent).

      I especially like how you connected it to the hymn. I didn’t think of that. “Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but it’s own…”

      • Eric I follow the beat of a different drummer, if you want to be philosophical about it, it truth though it is not philosophy that makes me follow Him, it is that He has chosen to change my heart.
        I am posting a excerpt for you to read that explains exactly where I come from and why I will resist the promotion of the leisurely use of alcohol, at least the public promotion of such. I have nothing against ones private discretion between that individual and Christ, you just will not find me dancing to that fiddle. If you think I am legalistic then so be it, but this is where I come from and many of your critics come from similar places of pain. It may be a little confusing at first because this is a response to a accusation of being self righteous and self congratulatory. So, please forgive me for the confusion but this is a little bit of my story uncut.

        Who are you categorizing as either one? I have not read anyone here acting in a self righteous or self congratulatory fashion. If anything I see a lot of folks who have had painful or tragic experiences with alcohol and they are trying to warn people of how deceptive this issue of ‘controlled substances and Christian liberty can be.’ I have three daughters that have grown up in the midst of drug and alcohol abuse and because of it we have no family at all, it is very lonely and painful. When my wife was dieing of cancer and she was on morphine patches and a intravenous drip, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, I had to monitor and count pills while my sister in law, my wifes step father, step brother and other assorted family members, self medicated because they could not cope (beer was the general medication of choice). In the end, they all looked at me as the whacked out one because I would not allow my girls to be alone with them. That was in 2001 to the beginning of 2002 and it is all very painful to me still, we are still alone and considered outcast because I will not have anything to do with that life style. Now my girls are to the age where they are challenging me with many questions as to whether, drinking, doing a little pot or what ever else is okay. In my direction to them, they frequently question me and use people of notoriety that they see as examples to refute me. Now, here I have men that I have respected stating that it is their liberty to drink and that if they were concerned about who they would cause to stumble then they would never be able to eat or enjoy any worldly pleasure. I even had one prominent reformed individual state that I was essentially accusing Christ of causing others to stumble when he turned water to wine and used wine in communion. I have to be honest with you, this is all insanity to me.
        Do you understand Chris, do you understand the pain involved with this, not just what it has caused but what it is causing and still has the potential to cause. Shouldn’t those that are leaders be beyond reproach in this kind of stuff. All due respect my friend, this makes me feel like weeping, especially for my girls and those less mature and weak. What does in make you feel like Chris, are you the self righteous and self congratulatory, are you the repentant, broken and contrite sinner. If you are the latter, then the last thing you should be looking to do is support your rights over the rights of others.
        Sorry this has been so long.

  2. I have used the Sirens quote in preaching more than once, so there probably is an mp3 of it floating around somewhere of it said in my British accent somewhere!

    Anyways, thanks for reminding me of it, and for your consistently helpful blogging.

  3. Absolutely….but missed the sermon it needed to be in by 4 days :)
    Thanks for your faithfulness in reminding us constantly of the glory of the Truth

  4. A great illustration that I’d not read before. Thanks Erik.