As we're in the midst of spring the paddocks are green with native grasses, I am reminded of the biblical references to grass and pastures, and the many references to the limitations of this scarce resource. Grass and pastures have so much symbolism in the Bible.
The one central focus at Spring is the idea of limitations — a hot summer is just around the corner.
In Australia when someone reveals something that can hardly be believed, that its verity (truth) has limitations, is “Get off the grass!” (“Get real!”). This expression has a double meaning, as it also gives the impression that green grass, itself, is limited and can hardly be believed, in the harsh Australian climate.
This concept of limitations is very significant and it's also at the very centre of the Salvation story.
The focus of the Biblical message about God's plan of Salvation for man, and his deep love for man, is that it is 'all of God', and man's response can be one of either acceptance or rejection.
Yet, this is the fundamental stumbling block. Our instincts and our positions in society have led us to believe that we should pay for what you get; so Salvation, according to this thinking, must be earned somehow and cannot possibly be something gifted.
This is the 'limitation' in the mind of man.
The Bible speaks of grass as being here today and gone tomorrow. Its limitation is based on a lack of longevity.
The theology refers to the mind of man as having a very finite comprehension of salvation, that he thinks it depends on himself and his behaviour weighing up good over bad in his life. The opposite is true in the Biblical theology of Salvation, that it is 'all of God' and nothing of man. The essential truth of the Gospel is that Christ died on the Cross, the Sinless man for sinful people, it was 'all of God'.
A non-Christian asked me recently: “Didn’t Christ die on the cross 'in order' to help human beings to obtain salvation?” (Echoing the common perception of Christianity, that human beings make a contribution to their own Salvation). This person continued: “In your article, the way you put it was that salvation is a gift... 'because of what' happened on the Cross.” (Yes, this is the message of one hundred percent Grace I had been trying to convey).
This is the critical analysis. Christ's death on the cross is the central focus, it is all of God, and because it is all of God, it is limitless.
Once any of us plays any part in own salvation, our own sinfulness produces the limitations.
The biblical symbolism of grass therefore is central to the Gospel message, in that 'limitation' is a critical theological focus point of man's own inability to win Salvation through his own efforts.
It is 'all of God'. It is then without limits.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html