Christian Vision for Men – Men and Motives #3 Codelife

Christian Vision for Men is launching a new initiative called “Codelife“. This is a set of twelve aspirational values taken from the bible. As I heard the 12 codes explained at a CVM seminar last Saturday it occurred to me that many of the codes are derived from the 10 commandments, see the table below. Where there is no obvious link with the law of God I’ve listed a passage where the code might come from.

Codelife Ten Commandments
Jesus is my Captain, Brother, Rescuer and Friend. Commandment 1: 

I am the Lord your God (Captain), who brought you out of Egypt (rescuer)

I owe everything to Him. I will do anything for Him. Commandment 2:
Do not have any god before me.
I will unashamedly make Him known through my actions and words. Commandment 3: 

Do not take my name in vain

I will not cheat in anything, personal or professional. Commandment 9:
Do not bear false witness
I will look away from the gutter, but be prepared to pull people out of it. Hebrews 12:1-2
I will keep my body fit and free from any addictions. 2 Corinthians 7:1
I will put the welfare of those closest to me before my own welfare. Ephesians 5
I will treat all men and women as brothers and sisters. Commandment 8:
Do not commit adultery
I will lead as He would lead. I will honour my leaders provided this also honours Him. I will follow Him in company with my sisters and brothers. Commandment 5: 

Honour your father and mother (and elders)

I will use my strength to protect the weak and stand against the abuse of power. Ezekiel 34:16
I will protect the world that God has made. Genesis 1:28
If I fail I will not give up. He never gives up on me. Grace of God in the death of Christ for my sin means I can make the law aspirational but never fear its penalty.

I really liked the way Andy Drake emphasised the aspirational aspect of Codelife. Men need something to aim for, to set the bar high, and the 1st and 12th Codes set these values in the context of the grace of God. I also like the way the codes are an individual response to the commandments or values of God. Just as the people of God respond to the giving of the law in Exodus 20 by saying “we will obey everything the Lord has commanded us” (Exodus 24) so the codes allow us to respond to God and make a personal commitment to do what God demands of us.

There is one weakness to Codelife which I believe stems from a classic confusion of the law of God and the gospel.  CVM want to say that we must not be legalistic about the Code.  By legalistic, I take this to mean, we don’t want to make the law the way to get right with God.  That’s good and right theology.  No one is justified by the law.  We are justified by being in Christ.  The question is “what does it mean to be justified?”

The law of God comes with penalties for breaking it. By reducing the law to a code I might break the code, and I’d feel bad about that, but there’s no concept in a code that God might punish me for breaking it.  Unless I know the law comes with sanctions I will completely overlook the need for Christ as my rescuer who died in my place to save me from the wrath and justice of God.  And so for men to get the gospel of Christ Codelife must be more than an aspiration.

The law of God is aspirational.  In the sermon on the mount Jesus sets the bar impossibly high to put any possibility of self-justification beyond our reach and yet we are to aspire to it.  The law of God with the penalty of hell for transgressing it is also what drives us and keeps us in Christ as rescuer.  CVM has the great aim of reaching men for Christ and Codelife is a step in the right direction but without the penalty of the law Codelife will not convince real men to be humbled by the death of Christ for their law breaking.

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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