Flirting with Moses

moses 1I didn’t realize I still had my name tag on. I had just made a pastoral visit at the hospital. I had one more stop to make on the way home – the carwash.

When I got there, I started chatting with the guy who always checks me in. Suddenly he looked down.

“I didn’t know you were a pastor,” he said with a smirk.

“Yes, sir,” I replied, not knowing what to expect next.

Dramatic pause.

“If you’re flirting with Moses, you’re cheating on Jesus,” he declared with a nod as he got into my van and drove away.

I stood there for a moment like a deer caught in the headlights, surprised by his abruptness and the poignancy of his words.

If you’re flirting with Moses, you’re cheating on Jesus. Moses was the great law giver. On Mt. Sinai, God gave him the laws which were to govern the lives and worship of the nation of Israel. On Mt. Sinai, God gave Moses a succinct summary of his moral law for all people – the Ten Commandments.

To flirt with Moses is to flirt with God’s law. But what’s so bad about that? God’s law is good. In fact, it is perfect. God wants us to obey his law. He expects us to obey his law.

The problem is that in his law God expects and demands perfection. If you want to earn heaven – to earn God’s favor – by obeying the law, you have to obey every commandment every moment of every day. If you’ve broken just one little command, you’ve broken them all.

You can’t and haven’t obeyed God’s law perfectly. You can’t and haven’t earned heaven or God’s love.

Thankfully, God loved us anyway. Thankfully, he sent his Son Jesus to obey his law perfectly in our place. Thankfully, Jesus suffered the punishment of our disobedience for us on the cross.

In Jesus, we have forgiveness. In Jesus, we have heaven. He did it all for us in his amazing grace.

Though as Christians we love and believe in Jesus, we are often tempted to flirt with Moses. We flirt with Moses when we think that God loves us because we go to church. We flirt with Moses when we imply that Christianity is simply a set of rules to live by. We flirt with Moses when we depend even a little bit on ourselves and what we do instead of depending completely on Jesus for our salvation.

What we do as Christians is simply our thank you card to God for his love and mercy. As Christians, we obey God’s law, not so we can go to heaven, but because we are going to heaven. In loving thanks for his forgiveness and all the blessings he showers on us day after day, we follow the moral guide God gave Moses on Mt. Sinai.

But we don’t trust in that law to save us. We don’t burden consciences by telling people that God will love them or forgive them only if they do certain things. We don’t make heaven dependent on what we do. That’s flirting with Moses.

And flirting with Moses is cheating on Jesus.


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