Is the Bible like a vending machine?

If the Bible is a vending machine, we have no way to have a personal relationship with God.  What we have instead is an impersonal machine that dispenses rewards when we perform the correct duties–something that in no way resembles the God of the Bible.

Some people look at the law as “earning coins” for the “vending machine of rewards”.  But the Law was never about rituals–Christ, who perfectly upheld the Law, proved that.  The Law was always about our relationship with God.

And since the Law deals with the heart, not one of us can keep the commands.  To do so, we would have to never be jealous, unkind, thoughtless, greedy, lustful, unjustly angry, or selfish.  Can any of us claim that?  No one except Jesus!

So rather than “getting” something out of the Law–which was all about relationship, anyway–what actually happens is we are condemned by the Law.  We’re not only not earning coins to save up for reward–this is far more serious!  We have severed our relationship with God!

For whoever keeps the whole law and stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10, TNIV)

And if you try to please God by obeying the Law, you have cut yourself off from Christ and His wonderful kindness. (Galatians 5:4, CEV)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. (Romans 8:1-3a, ESV)

I live in a society where I sometimes expect that if I contribute enough, the product will be whatever I wish.  But there is no way I can contribute good works to the Law of God.  I either obey it perfectly all the time or I do not obey it at all.  And, because I have broken the Law, there is no way to get back God’s favor through the Law.  Once Adam–and all of us–made our choice to turn away from God and sin, only Christ Jesus could obey the Law perfectly, fulfill the Law, and make payment for our brokenness through His death on a cross.

And now I don’ t have any need for any gift but the gift given to me by the blood of Jesus Christ.

I’m not trying to save up coins–I can’t!  I am living my life in thankful joy for the gift of Christ Jesus, and hoping others will receive His gift, too.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, NASB)

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See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

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