Sunday, June 03, 2007

What it's about

"It's not about rules, it's all about Jesus."
Mike V. (comment on previous post)

Couldn't have said it better.

21 comments:

Wonder Woman said...

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus - sheesh it's always all about him!

*pouting*

... ;)

Pablo said...

Yup.

MikeT said...

I'm curious, at what point do you say that the rules matter at all? Didn't Jesus say, "if you love me, you'll keep my commands?" It is also about Jesus, but then the entire Bible is about him.

Roland said...

What commands did Jesus say it was all about, Mike?
If you want to keep rules to stay right, that's your perogative. But that isn't how we are saved. It isn't about staying right with God. Good grief. If it were, we would all be dead.
Do you eat pork?
Do you follow all the OT laws?
Does not following them make you bad?
Did you read the previous post and comments?
If not, take a look. If you still want to be right with God by what you do, go for it. I can't. I trust solely on His grace, mercy and love.

MikeT said...

I'm saying that if you make little attempt to behave according to the rules, meaning...

1) You are a heavy drinker.
2) Do drugs.
3) Screw around as you please.
4) Take whatever you want, if it suits your fancy.
5) Lie when you feel like it.
6) Get wrathful toward anyone who annoys you.

And stuff like that, where does that leave you? I'm not talking about strict observance here. I'm saying that if you make no real attempt of any kind to obey his rules that apply to us gentiles, how are you really a target of grace? You aren't even trying to behave like a child of God if you just live as you please.

I'm not being judgmental here, just saying that the rules kinda do matter. They aren't what determines whether or not we go to heaven, but if we don't care much about them at all, are we really saved?

Roland said...

Then by all means, MikeT, do them.
I'm not saying that making an effort isn't a good thing.
I AM saying that the doing isn't the thing that makes us right with God.
I have 'rules' of my own that I try to live out. But that isn't why God loves me.

I'm coming at this from a Galatians angle. Read the letter Paul wrote to them.

And those things you listed should not be my life. And if I am trying to be right with God by not doing those things, I've missed the point.
Galatians 5:23 tells us which things there are not law against.
Those things I try to do. Not by the constraint of rules, but for another reason entirely.
Gratitude.
I have been saved.
What I do now, I do out of love and thanks.
Not because there is a rule, but because it is the best kindest and most loving way to live.
Am I making sense to you, Mike?
Sometimes it would be easier to talk face to face and we are prevented by the distance.
Makes me wish for a provable miracle like Difster is going on about. :)
I understand what you're saying, please try to understand where I'm coming from.
Jesus didn't want to do away with the law and neither do I.
But we cannot fulfill it. He did.
Read Galatians and get back to me.
If you want my phone number, ask Difster. He knows it. Tell him I said it's okay. It would be good to talk more directly. Either that or e-mail me, and I'll send it to you.
I appreciate your comments Mike. They force me to think. I need to do that.
God bless you and keep you.

Pablo said...

Guys:
Romans 7 makes it clear that we are no longer subject to the Mosaic law. Having said that, it's because we have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and as such we will obey his direction in our lives.

So do "the rules" matter? No, not in terms of our eternal salvation.

Do we have to obey Jesus? Yes, and the degree to which we obey him directly impacts our personal relationship with him. If we choose to disobey, we grow spiritually distant from him and enjoy none of the peace and joy which we're supposed to enjoy.

The beauty of it is that he's transforming us into people who want to obey him. And he's patient and understanding when we stumble.

That's how I understand things, in any case.

Roland said...

Thanks, Pablo.
He wants us to obey Him.

Jason said...

I agree with miket. "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments" John 14:15. It's all about Jesus and what he said. Saying things are just a guideline is a total cop-out and justification for your disobedience.

Roland said...

Jason,
I appreciate your concern over my disobedience.
Just a few questions.
1) Could you tell me areas I need to improve in?
2) Could you tell me how I was saved?
3) Could you tell me how I stay saved?

Eaglewood said...

1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.
6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
1 John 3: 1 – 10

Roland said...

You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Did you suffer so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain?
So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU."
So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM."
Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."
However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, "HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM."
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"--
in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
- Paul the Apostle in Galatians 3:1-14

Is there some point you are trying to make Eaglewood?

Geppy said...

Can we agree that we are all saying the same things?

I do not believe anyone disagrees that salvation is by faith alone, not of works lest anyone should boast.

I also do not believe anyone disagrees that once saved we are called to do the works of the Spirit and to produce the fruit of the Spirit within our own bodies.

Defending extremes causes divisions, and we are commanded not to divide the church of God. We are all entitled to our own interpretations and are required to live according to our own beliefs - not the beliefs of others. If by trying to live the beliefs of others, we do the opposite of what we ourselves believes then we have sinned - and the "other" who caused us to change our actions to be contrary to our belief is guilty of causing a brother to stumble. (Romans)

Let us speak the truth in humility. But let us each live in God's peace.

MIke V said...

It's really a battle of those who are determined to tell everyone what they shouldn't do and those who don't get hung up on the don't s and focus on the do s. e.g. Love the Lord your God... Love your Neighbor... Go and make disciples...

The reality if you focus on the don't s you will always be disappointed as we all have sinned and fall short.

If we work on the things that we are told to do, we will, by default do less of what we shouldn't do.

Geppy said...

I do understand what you are saying Mike_V. But I would also say that this is part of the problem that I mentioned. For those who truly believe that there is a list of dos/donts then they must live that way or it is a sin. We cannot force them to live differently, or we cause a brother/sister to stumble.

We can continue to speak the truth (as we see it) and the Creator may eventually use that truth to grow others. Additionally, those others may continue to speak the truth (as they see it) and the Creator may eventually use that truth to grow us.

Only He knows what is really truth and we are all just trying to grow until we become like Jesus. Some of us will have grown more and some less. But we have to live what we believe (Romans).

Peace.

Roland said...

First off, Mike V, THANKS!
I was having trouble articulating a reply to Geppy's comment. But my wife read that one and it lines up with what I see.

Geppy, you wrote:
"For those who truly believe that there is a list of dos/donts then they must live that way or it is a sin. We cannot force them to live differently, or we cause a brother/sister to stumble."

Let's take this to a logical conclusion. When you look at Paul's epistles, he wrote that if you want to not sin and keep the law, you have to do ALL OF IT. Not just bits and pieces. All or nothing. Sin is already there. They just aren't looking at it.

On the stumbling part, you are right on. And that is where Eaglewood and I are having a problem communicating. We both have strongly held viewpoints. If we thought our opinions were wrong, we'd get new ones. We each are trying to get the other to see what we are saying. If I didn't have respect for him, I wouldn't even listen.
I think I understand what he is saying, but come down right alongside Mike V in what I believe.
If Eaglewood is truly interested in the do's more than the don'ts, then I'd like to understand his reasoning in choosing the passage of scripture he left here.

Geppy said...

"Let's take this to a logical conclusion. When you look at Paul's epistles, he wrote that if you want to not sin and keep the law, you have to do ALL OF IT. Not just bits and pieces. All or nothing. Sin is already there. They just aren't looking at it."

And yet that is exactly what Romans says. I have started my blogging on Romans and that will come out over the next few weeks.

Note: Paul actually wasn't saying that if you wanted to follow the law you had to follow it all (though you should). What he said is that if you relied on the law for salvation you had to fulfill the entirety of the law - which only Jesus has ever done.

eaglewood said...

“If Eaglewood is truly interested in the do's more than the don'ts, then I'd like to understand his reasoning in choosing the passage of scripture he left here. “

It was a starting point for conversation. I would like to make something clear. I do not nor have I have held the belief that we as followers of Yeshua are held to the Law. The Law is impossible for us to live up to. If it were possible for us to live up to, then there would have been no need for Yeshua to die in our place.

I think the best way to show my point is to just say what I have found to be true in Scripture. When we accept Yeshua as our Savior and Lord we become a new creation in Him. Our old nature while not completely dead is now in subjection to our new nature. Our new nature is one of love and devotion for our Lord, with a willingness to do the things that please Him. So how do we find out what pleases Him? The only place we have is His Word. In His Word He tells us that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. Note, it does not say we will keep His Law. This willingness to keep His commandments is the outward sign of a heart level change. I believe that what this passage is saying is that you cannot have it both ways. Either you will have that heart level change and follow after His will, or you will continue in your own selfish sinful ways. It is impossible for us to continue in a life of willful disobedience to Him and make Him our Lord. Will we still make mistakes? Sure we will, I still do. That is not the point in this scripture. I have a real problem with those who will tell you not to worry about that ever-present sin in your life, that as long as you have Jesus in your heart you are cool. My point is they don’t mix. If you have Yeshua as your Lord your desire will be to remove those things that are sinful in your life.

MIke V said...

Eaglewood, see all you have to do is get a little frustrated and your position is articulated impeccably :-)

I agree with you whole heartedly.

I can't speak for Roland, but for myself and say that I am very cautious about loving the sinner then hating the sin as opposed to hating both.

What is so difficult is, when an individual's stronghold happens to be an outward one like drug or alcohol addiction, sexual promiscuity etc. we have a tendency to be judgmental yet, we may have a less visible stronghold like a porn or gambling jones. We as believers are instructed to hold one another accountable and that may include some tough love. When it comes to someone whose light is small we need to teach/disciple through our actions and gentle words.

As someone who lived a better portion of my life as a non-follower, I can tell you that one of the greatest turn offs to me was all the rules. As a non-follower I thought I would be missing out on all kinds of fun that I was having as a non-Christian.

I know now that in the fullness of Christ, there was nothing of my former life that holds a candle to the life I now have. I don't have a desire to do those things I once did and do have a desire to exhibit the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)Galatians 5:22-23

The thing is, no man convicted me of my sinful nature, the Holy Spirit brought me to the place of confession, repentance and then instilled in me the desire for better things.

Great thread!

Roland said...

My wife made a great point to me just a moment ago.
We all have different circumstances we have been through that cause us to view things differently.
I agree with what you said Eaglewood. And thanks for chiming in, Geppy and Mike V, also.

If you think back on what I wrote, I never said, "Go and murder your neighbor, sleep with his wife, steal his things (before the murder :) ), and lie about it to cover your butt."
I am advocating the highest principle God gave us. Love each other. (And God most of all) And loving each other, will mean wanting what is best for them, without forcing them to do the best thing. Following God allows us to see what He did while embodied here on earth.
Did Jesus get upset with his listeners when they didn't "get it"? Maybe, but He kept it in check, and waited until they were ready.
Do I get upset with my kids for not listening? Yup.
Do I yell unnecessarily at times? Yup.
Do I keep doing it? Yup.
Do I get better at not doing it every day? Yup.
Should my inability to do it perfectly, prove that I "keep on sinning"? Hmmm... Tough question. I would love to not do it, but am not yet perfect. I will be one day and am greatly encouraged by the fact that Jesus never tried to shame people (Pharisees and Essenes excepted). Too many today try to continue to point out the error, and then forget to realize the grace and forgiveness that has been bestowed on us.
If we all worked our way through this world while loving our neighbors, truly loving them, we would live in a world where the rules, although still present, would not be the focus. Until we do, we still need the rules for things, because we are all still imperfect. But, we need to remember that the "rules" are more like guidelines once you've "crossed over" And even though many are still "of this world", beating them down with the rules doesn't always seem to be the best way. It helps when someone is out of control, to use the rules to make them stop. But it won't get their heart to change. They need to see that need for themselves. And when they do, they will see that the "rules" apply to them as well. Then they become more like guidelines again. The only ones that will have trouble with this system are those who never look to the "rules" and do what they want anyway. And nothing I say will make any difference for them. But for those who wish to be free in Christ, truly free, don't want to be bound up in the rules again and rebuild the old system that has been torn down.
Good grief am I long winded.
Go read Galatians. Really. And when your done, come back and see what I'm trying to say.
Sometimes I wish I could get some kind of internet or phone conference call hook-up thing and talk this all out. It would go so much faster. And then I think of what Paul when through with long letters and months in between replies. And I think, "How awesome is our God!"

Geppy said...

Eaglewood, Mike_V, Roland, I say Amen! :)

I want you each to know that I do love reading your posts, and sometimes piping in. Believe it or not, I am a quiet person - rather introverted.

Anyway, thanks for the posts. I was hoping for and saw now a discussion that notices our common belief with less of a sound of "attacking" (as it were - notice how my introvertedness interprets internet speech "tones").

I would like to think that we are all internet "friends" in Christ - and as such I like even-handed discussions without feelings of who's "right" getting in the way. :)

Anyway, peace. Keep up the discussions. Though I would encourage a look at some of the discussions occurring in religious groups over at tribe.net (which I've mentioned to Roland). There are some very large issues to research and try to enlighten people on. Believe it or not there are "Christians" today that still deny there is a Creator....