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All You Have To Do Is Jump To The Moon

Posted By Tullian Tchividjian On June 28, 2013 @ 7:30 am In Uncategorized | 25 Comments

[1]J. Gresham Machen counterintutively noted that “A low view of law always produces legalism; a high view of law makes a person a seeker after grace.” The reason this seems so counter-intuitive is because most people think that those who talk a lot about grace have a low view of God’s law (hence, the regular charge of antinomianism). Others think that those with a high view of the law are the legalists. But Machen makes the compelling point that it’s a low view of the law that produces legalism because a low view of the law causes us to conclude that we can do it–the bar is low enough for us to jump over. A low view of the law makes us think that the standards are attainable, the goals are reachable, the demands are doable.

I love this illustration from Max Lucado’s book, In the Grip of Grace [2], on how judgmental instincts are anchored in a low view of God’s law:

Judging others is the quick and easy way to feel good about ourselves. A convenience-store-ego-boost. Standing next to all the Mussolinis and Hitlers and Dahmers of the world, we boast, “Look God, compared to them I’m not that bad.”

But that’s the problem. God doesn’t compare us to them. They aren’t the standard. God is. And compared to him, Paul will argue, “There is no one who does anything good” (Rom. 3:12).

Suppose God simplified matters and reduced the Bible to one command: “Thou must jump so high in the air that you touch the moon.” No need to love your neighbor or pray or follow Jesus; just touch the moon by virtue of a jump, and you’ll be saved.

We’d never make it. There may be a few who jump three or four feet, even fewer who jump five or six; but compared to the distance we have to go, no one gets very far. Though you may jump six inches higher than I do, it’s scarcely reason to boast.

Now, God hasn’t called us to touch the moon, but he might as well have. He said, “You must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). None of us can meet God’s standard. As a result, none of us deserves to don the robe and stand behind the bench and judge others. Why? We aren’t good enough. Dahmer may jump six inches and you may jump six feet, but compared to the 230,000 miles that remain, who can boast?

The thought of it is almost comical. We who jump three feet look at the fellow who jumped one inch and say, “What a lousy jump.” Why do we engage in such accusations? It’s a ploy. As long as I am thinking of your weaknesses, then I don’t have to think about my own. As long as I am looking at your puny jump, then I don’t have to be honest about my own. I’m like the man who went to see the psychiatrist with a turtle on his head and a strip of bacon dangling from each ear and said, “I’m here to talk to you about my brother.”

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25 Comments To "All You Have To Do Is Jump To The Moon"

#1 Comment By John Dunn On June 28, 2013 @ 9:45 am

The very Spirit that raised Christ from the dead (Rom 8:11, Eph 1:19-20), who now indwells the saints, has touched the moon for us(Rom 8:4), seats us in the heavenly places with Christ, and sets our affections on heavenly things.

Man can never “keep” the Law. It is an impossible yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1-3).

But Spirit-wed union to Christ causes men to “fulfill” the Law in the new way of love (Gal 5:13-15).

#2 Pingback By Destinations | Luggaged On June 28, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

[...] Jumping to the Moon: I used this concept in my sermon on Sunday. Tullian helpfully quotes Max Lucado using this idea. Because the law is impossible to keep we desperately need the salvation that comes through Jesus. [...]

#3 Comment By Ben On June 28, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

Reminds me of Matthew 19:26 – “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

#4 Comment By the Old Adam On June 28, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

“Yeah…but you can’t just live any way you want!”

(as if we are not doing that already…ha ha ha)

#5 Comment By John Reid On June 29, 2013 @ 10:57 am

So, is “pleasing” God even possible for a Christian? Paul states in Colossians 1:10: “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Are ANY of us walking WORTHY of the Lord, FULLY pleasing, bearing fruit in EVERY good work? Does God lower the standard of “touching the moon” for those “In Christ”?

I would really appreciate feedback about this. Paul says please God with behavior, but the gospel says aside from Jesus, we can’t. Thanks.

#6 Comment By Tullian Tchividjian On June 29, 2013 @ 11:00 am

Hi John!

Great questions. I found this to be helpful…I hope you do too: [3]


#7 Comment By John Reid On June 29, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

I think I get it….

Love, faith and trust are the proper motivations for our desire to “obey or please” God, not because of possible merit or demerit. If we are hoping to get something because of our “works” or fear losing something because of our lack of works, our motivation is wrong.

We ARE pleasing to God “In Christ”. So hard to believe, I need to re-read article to let it sink in.

Thanks Tullian. As always, thought provoking and encouraging!

#8 Comment By anonymous On June 30, 2013 @ 7:04 am

thanks for the ‘danger warning’ reminder-anything done ‘in the flesh’ …each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Cor 3:13 -15

so glad too for the Lord’s own word about pleasing Him, for those whom He loves, He reproves and disciplines, for God’will is our sanctification. He does not delight in sacrifice nor is pleased with burnt offering, but the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. He tells us He is pleased with love; faith; service; toil, perseverance; endurance; intolerance of evil men; apostle testing; hating Nicolaitans deeds; unsoiled garments; keeping His word; and not denying His name. He tell us He is not pleased with those who have left their first love; the dead; the lukewarm; those holding to Balaam, Balak, Nicolaitan’s teaching or tolerating Jezebel.

#9 Comment By the Old Adam On June 30, 2013 @ 10:14 am

Yes the Lord has spoken as to what pleases Him.

When they came to Him and said, “we did this, that and the other thing in YOUR NAME!”

He said, “get lost…I never knew you.”

But those who didn’t have a clue that they were DOING pleasing things to the Lord, “When did we do those things?” He said, “Come on in. You’re just the kind of selfless, trusting souls that I want up here.”
Paraphrased, of course.

So. concentrate on pleasing the Lord. Have what you ‘do’ on your mind. Be aware of those rearwards for yourself. And see where that will get you. Or..be free. And trust in the Lord. And live.

#10 Comment By Christina On July 1, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

Awesome…Max is my pastor! Pastor Tullian…would love to have you speak at Oak Hills sometime.

#11 Comment By Randy On July 1, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

I John 2:3-6 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

#12 Comment By the Old Adam On July 2, 2013 @ 12:05 am

Good luck with that one.

“If you are angry with your brother, you are a murderer.”

Ever been angry with someone?

So much for keeping His Commandments.


#13 Comment By anonymous On July 2, 2013 @ 7:20 am

old adam -probably shouldn’t respond since you likely are trying to stir up controversy, and we know what the Lord says about that- but a final comment to yours below-

“Have what you ‘do’ on your mind.. And see where that will get you. Or..be free”

old adam, promoting ‘laissez-faire’ is a clever strategy of the enemy, but the word is clear,the battle rages; we have been called for purpose since Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, suffered for us and we are to follow in His steps, just as intentionally as He did-whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

Love the brothers- proclaim HIS opinion and let it be your only opinion… now to go and pray that more for myself….

#14 Comment By John Reid On July 2, 2013 @ 8:00 am

According to Jamieson, Fausset, Brown commentary – John was refuting the Gnostics who boasted in “knowledge” but set aside “obedience”. Context is everything. He was not expecting perfect obedience.

Keep – Not faultless conformity, but hearty acceptance of, and willing subjection to, God’s whole revealed will, is meant.
commandments – injunctions of faith, love, and obedience.

Christians should agree with and try to follow the guidelines set forth in the NT, but we will inevitably fail. Even the Lord’s commandment summary to: Love God with all our heart soul, mind, and strength – and love your neighbor as yourself…. is impossible for us.

Tullian addresses these things consistently in his messages. He covered a number of “the commands” 2 weeks ago with his message on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. See “No Strings Attached Part 6″ [4]

Excellent! Highly recommend a listen. The Good Samaritan is not US! First time I heard that.

#15 Comment By Christina On July 2, 2013 @ 8:42 am

Well said John Reid!

#16 Comment By the Old Adam On July 2, 2013 @ 8:56 am


Promoting “laissez-faire”? Huh?

I’m promoting death! Die to yourself! Forget about what ‘you do’ as a way to move closer to God.

I don’t believe that the gospel is meant for your ears, at this time. You obviously haven’t hear it yet. but the law.

Maybe at some point down the road.

#17 Comment By Randy On July 2, 2013 @ 11:06 am

Truly you have experienced and are experiencing His grace. You are the one who is truly expressing grace.
the Old Adam:
You would do well to learn from John. I Cor. 13:1

#18 Comment By the Old Adam On July 2, 2013 @ 11:18 am


Why do you think I go to all this trouble? Because I DON’T LOVE you folks?

I want people to hear, and be liberated. That is what Pastor Tullian is doing with all these posts on the grace of God. keeping the focus on Him…and off of us.

#19 Comment By the Old Adam On July 2, 2013 @ 11:21 am

This is only 16 minutes long.

But don’t listen to it unless you want to better experience the freedom of the gospel:


And get rid of those water-wings.

#20 Comment By John Reid On July 2, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

@John Dunn – I didn’t acknowledge before but – good post.

@ Randy and @Christina – thank you. Tullian’s messages have helped me “get Grace” immensely. Still working on it. Must preach Gospel to self daily as Jerry Bridges and many preachers have suggested, or fall off grace track. Have a blessed holiday weekend!

#21 Comment By Christina On July 2, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

John Reid…same here. I was in the deepest despair of my life because I felt like a complete failure as a Christian, but then God led me to Tullian’s sermons as well as Matt Chandler’s and I feel more alive and freer than I ever have before. I can fall into legalism so easily and that is why I try to listen to one of their sermons nearly everyday, along with reading my Bible in a fresher way. I wrote about it in this post: [6]
Max Lucado’s book, Grace, has also been a big help…his sermons too.

#22 Comment By John Reid On July 2, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

Christina….AMEN! Thank God for podcasts!

I saw this on Dane Ortlund’s blog here on the gospel coalition and had to share.

“No one among us would like to see his true history inscribed on his forehead. . . . If the sins known to my heart were published to the world, I would deserve the gallows. To be sure, the world now respects me. But if it really knew me, it would spit on me; for I would deserve beheading”.

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works 22:403

#23 Comment By Christina On July 2, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

Love that quote John…and so very true! Did you hear the sermon where Pastor Jono Linebaugh was talking (at Coral Ridge) about Martin Luther’s encounter with Satan? Amazing!

#24 Comment By Secure in Christ On July 6, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

Wow! wonderful quote Mr. Reid. Christina, I read your post. Praise God!! Same here! God totally see God’s grace and mercy to my husband and I when He brought Tullian’s sermons into our lives. We have heard Matt Chandler too, so, so helpful. We are very thankful to God for Jesus.

#25 Comment By Randy On July 9, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

Indeed we all deserve hell, but by God’s grace and mercy we are saved to live in newness of life.

Article printed from Tullian Tchividjian: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian

URL to article: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2013/06/28/all-you-have-to-do-is-jump-to-the-moon/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/files/2013/06/trying-to-reach-the-moon.jpg

[2] In the Grip of Grace: http://www.amazon.com/Grip-Grace-Father-Always-Caught/dp/0849946336/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372345227&sr=1-4&keywords=in+the+grip+of+grace+by+max+lucado

[3] : http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2012/01/18/the-danger-of-trying-to-please-god/

[4] : http://www.crpc.org/media

[5] : http://theoldadam.com/2012/11/30/the-reformations-truly-radical-understanding-of-the-christian-faith/

[6] : http://christinamariehernandez.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/im-the-ugly-kid/