Ours is a religion of relationship, not rules. Oh yes, rules matter but not as an end unto themselves. That’s why we aren’t Cynics or Stoics. Paul and Seneca use similar words in entirely different meanings. Paul’s concern is not harmony with the universe, but harmony with God. Big difference! Even wisdom has different meanings. For Seneca, the wise man remains “inwardly inviolable” but Paul’s concept of wisdom derives from God’s ways in Christ which are received as a gift rather than achieved as a goal.
All parents get this. When kids are little they try to get around the rules by finding loopholes in what parents actually say. Nothing exasperates a parent like a kid trying to twist their words around in order to justify a rebellious heart. Parents want their children to live obedient lives because they trust them to know what is best for their ultimate well-being.
In his book Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace, Robert Farrar Capon wrote:
Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassations to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears.
Welcome to Christianity.
I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.