I got home from church last night and to my surprise the NFL game was still on because of the double header and late game on the coast. I am not at all a Raiders fan and because I lived for a time in San Diego, the Chargers have been a sentimental favorite. However, the overruled call by the refs after replay against the Raiders was a horrible call and a great example of adhering to the letter of the law without any regard to the spirit of the rules. Just what we fans fear most from the instant replay challenges, long delays while refs try to find marginal rules violations that would never be discernable without super slow motion replay. When a catch is made and the replay has to be slowed down to such a degree to find any sort of movement of the ball to determine if the receiver had “control” of the ball is a disregard for the spirit of the game. The catch would have been ruled complete 100 out of 100 times by the naked eye and even with instant replay all announcers agreed it was a good catch and should not have been overruled.
Unfortunately what seemed to be a good idea has turned replay refs into Pharisees of Jesus’ day. The refs remind me of many Christians today who love to point out the violators of the law without any regard to the spirit of the law. Jesus was adamant about his distaste for those who were the legalists of his day. He knew the hearts of those who tried to follow the law to gain their righteousness and Jesus strongly rebuked them. Legalism is bad news for the game of football but deadly in the game of life. I can choose not to watch the football games but having to deal with Christian legalism is much more difficult. It brings discord to the body, turns non-believers away from Jesus and brings a false sense of security to Christian brothers and sisters who try to gain their right standing by keeping the rules. If indeed we believe that somehow our obeying the laws and even our good works gain us any better standing before God, then we must believe the work of Christ alone is insufficient for our final salvation. Don’t fall into that trap.
Grace Point Church