The previous strapline for my blog had been annoying me since… well, since about thirty seconds after I put it up there. But I was struggling to find a replacement.
Then I was prompted by a discussion on the BHT to look up Robert M’Cheyne’s introduction to his Bible-reading plan, where he speaks to those who might feel oppressed and guilt-ridden by a fixed plan for reading the Bible, particularly one as challenging as his:
A yoke to heavy to bear. Some may engage in reading with alacrity for a time, and afterwards feel it a burden, grievous to be borne. They may find conscience dragging them through the appointed task without any relish of the heavenly food. If this be the case with any, throw aside the fetter, and feed at liberty in the sweet garden of God. My desire is not to cast a snare upon you, but to be a helper of your joy.
After years of struggling with one Bible reading plan after another, perpetually falling behind and feeling guilty at my inability to stick with the programme, I’ve found it enormously liberating in recent months to “throw aside the fetter, and feed at liberty in the sweet garden of God”.
And these words can be applied more generally, to the experience of living the Christian life in the assurance of the promises of the gospel – particularly the gospel as it comes to us in the concrete realities of baptism, absolution, the proclamation of the gospel and the Lord’s Supper – rather than in the fetters of the law.