Stephenway's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway Perfect Love? "Perfect love casteth out fear."  Living in grace has a boldness that is not brash.  Living in grace offers a freedom that is not licentious.  Still, if a person's love is not yet perfect, then there will be, and should be a certain fearfulness.  Imperfect love should always be on the guard and wary of shortcomings which could result in some sin.  There should always be a certain fearfulness of the consequences of sin.  True- the Bible teaches, and everyone quotes that ‘perfect love casteth out fear’ from 1st John.  One major problem I have is that my love is not yet perfect.  Is yours?

As to forgiving others, some people brought a prostitute before Jesus.  They said she was caught in the act of sinning and that the law said that they should stone her.  Jesus did not say that they were wrong.  Jesus did not say that the law was wrong.  Jesus did not say that her sin should be exempt from the law.  Jesus told the men who brought her to him that the man among them who was not guilty of sin should be the first one to cast a stone.  No one dared.  The men left in chagrin.

Another illustration Jesus gave that anyone can apply to himself: Suppose I owe a man a lot of money.  When it came time to pay, I did not have it.  I went to the man and he understood my predicament and gave me more time.  Then I went out and found a man who owed me a very small amount.  I beat him up and had him thrown in jail.  Would not the man to whom I owed so much have reason to be angry with me for being so cruel to someone who owed me so little, after he had been so generous to me?

If God forgives me of so many sins, but I neglect to forgive someone for some small sin, then does not God have reason to be angry with me?  If someone hurts me then I want to hurt someone.  But if I hurt God, and God forgives me, then I should certainly be able to forgive someone who hurts me.  If someone hurts me, and I try to hurt him back to get even with him, then everyone that I have ever hurt in my life, certainly has the right to hurt me back to get even with me.  That’s the law of ‘an eye for an eye’ and it is a good and true law.  But the law of love says to forgive those who hurt you.  Everyone on earth has hurt others at some time or another.  But the law of love says to forgive one another.

We all have the law to live by.  We will all be judged by the law we live by.  If we choose to live by the law of revenge ("an eye for an eye"), we will be condemned by that law, for there is no one of us who has never broken that law.  If we choose to live by the law of LOVE, which only God can give by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we can all learn the need for and value of forgiveness.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  "Greater love hath no man than that He lay down his life for his friends."  "But God commendeth His love toward us (showed us His great love) in that while we were yet sinners (dying in sin) Christ died for us."  "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."  "God is LOVE."  All of this is in the Bible- look it up (search the Scriptures- don’t take what I say for granted).

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Sun, 05 Jul 2015 19:16:00 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/05/perfect_love http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/05/perfect_love "Perfect love casteth out fear."  Living in grace has a boldness that is not brash.  Living in grace offers a freedom that is not licentious.  Still, if a person's love is not yet perfect, then there will be, and should be a certain fearfulness.  Imperfect love should always be on the guard and wary of shortcomings which could result in some sin.  There should always be a certain fearfulness of the consequences of sin.  True- the Bible teaches, and everyone quotes that ‘perfect love casteth out fear’ from 1st John.  One major problem I have is that my love is not yet perfect.  Is yours?

As to forgiving others, some people brought a prostitute before Jesus.  They said she was caught in the act of sinning and that the law said that they should stone her.  Jesus did not say that they were wrong.  Jesus did not say that the law was wrong.  Jesus did not say that her sin should be exempt from the law.  Jesus told the men who brought her to him that the man among them who was not guilty of sin should be the first one to cast a stone.  No one dared.  The men left in chagrin.

Another illustration Jesus gave that anyone can apply to himself: Suppose I owe a man a lot of money.  When it came time to pay, I did not have it.  I went to the man and he understood my predicament and gave me more time.  Then I went out and found a man who owed me a very small amount.  I beat him up and had him thrown in jail.  Would not the man to whom I owed so much have reason to be angry with me for being so cruel to someone who owed me so little, after he had been so generous to me?

If God forgives me of so many sins, but I neglect to forgive someone for some small sin, then does not God have reason to be angry with me?  If someone hurts me then I want to hurt someone.  But if I hurt God, and God forgives me, then I should certainly be able to forgive someone who hurts me.  If someone hurts me, and I try to hurt him back to get even with him, then everyone that I have ever hurt in my life, certainly has the right to hurt me back to get even with me.  That’s the law of ‘an eye for an eye’ and it is a good and true law.  But the law of love says to forgive those who hurt you.  Everyone on earth has hurt others at some time or another.  But the law of love says to forgive one another.

We all have the law to live by.  We will all be judged by the law we live by.  If we choose to live by the law of revenge ("an eye for an eye"), we will be condemned by that law, for there is no one of us who has never broken that law.  If we choose to live by the law of LOVE, which only God can give by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we can all learn the need for and value of forgiveness.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  "Greater love hath no man than that He lay down his life for his friends."  "But God commendeth His love toward us (showed us His great love) in that while we were yet sinners (dying in sin) Christ died for us."  "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."  "God is LOVE."  All of this is in the Bible- look it up (search the Scriptures- don’t take what I say for granted).

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Liberty Does Not Mean Freedom to Sin By becoming a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ a person's spirit is made alive.  It is this spirit which struggles with the flesh.  It has nothing to do with simple logical reasoning concerning right and wrong.  It is the law of love impelling a believer to love even when he does not feel very loving; to love even when the person to love seems so unlovable; to love even when one is down-cast, down-trodden, down-graded, and down-right run down.  The belief that brings the spirit to life is the same belief that guarantees to the believer a new body in the resurrection.

This present physical body is still subject to the law of the flesh, and the drives of this world.  This is what makes the struggle so great.  Paul explains in 1st Corinthians that a believer who revels in his sin may have his body subjected to Satan's abuse even to the destruction of his body, if need be, that his believing spirit might be set free from that body.  The more a believer lives in the law of his flesh, the more power Satan has over his fleshly body.  But the more a believer submits to the law of love in his spirit, the more power he has over Satan until the Lord delivers him to his heavenly home.

God said in Genesis that "… every imagination of the thoughts of his (man's) heart is only evil continually." (6: 5, 21).  God hates evil.  It is because of evil in man that Christ was nailed to the cross.  But from the cross, Christ said of evil man, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  Hereby the believer learns compassion both for other struggling believers and for others in this world who are unbelievers.  Hereby the believer learns the real meaning of "Love thine enemy; love those who would persecute us and seek to cause us harm."  Just as Jesus loves all who would spit on Him and nail Him to a cross, God calls on us to love those who would despise us, use us, spit on us, and nail us to a cross.

When Paul spoke of freedom from the law, he was not saying that Christians were permitted to be lawless.  He was referring to Judaizers who were instructing new converts to Christianity that they were required to observe all the Jewish rules and regulations.  Paul certainly instructed Christians to be good citizens in subjection to their governments.  He informed them that these governments would have no authority except that granted them by God.  He exhorted Christians to pray for their rulers to be guided by God's love that laws might not be a burden too grievous to be borne.

Paul instructed Christians to follow the highest law given: the law of love.  Love does not spring full grown into a new Christian's heart.  It is planted there as a seed in the bed of the Christian's newly enlivened spirit.  It is to be cherished and nourished.  When properly tended this seed of love sprouts, grows, blossoms, and spreads seeds of love to neighbors and throughout the world.

What about punishments for violation of the law?  This is proper, but is to be left in the hands of proper authorities.  Pray that the authorities do not abuse this function.  This function begins with instructing children.

Proverbs 13: 24- "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."  I am a firm believer that there are times for a child when a rod is useful for instilling a certain fearful respect for truth, righteousness, and justice.  But this "certain fearful respect" is not intended to drive a wedge between parents and their children, or to cause the children to live in fear.  We are to live in love.  A rod used in love is not intended to cause hurt but instruction.  A rod is to be used with reluctance to teach a loved one that wrong actions result in hurts that affect all of mankind.

Using the rod, or the law, for the purpose of finding revenge or soliciting spiteful recompense ("an eye for an eye") leads to making one's self subject to the law that Jesus calls people to be free from.  The law one lives by is the law one will die by.  The law one judges by is the law one will be judged by.  To live by the law of love, and to judge by the mercies of forgiveness, teaches people to live with grace and true freedom.

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Sun, 05 Jul 2015 06:53:09 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/05/liberty_does_not_mean_freedom_to_sin http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/05/liberty_does_not_mean_freedom_to_sin By becoming a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ a person's spirit is made alive.  It is this spirit which struggles with the flesh.  It has nothing to do with simple logical reasoning concerning right and wrong.  It is the law of love impelling a believer to love even when he does not feel very loving; to love even when the person to love seems so unlovable; to love even when one is down-cast, down-trodden, down-graded, and down-right run down.  The belief that brings the spirit to life is the same belief that guarantees to the believer a new body in the resurrection.

This present physical body is still subject to the law of the flesh, and the drives of this world.  This is what makes the struggle so great.  Paul explains in 1st Corinthians that a believer who revels in his sin may have his body subjected to Satan's abuse even to the destruction of his body, if need be, that his believing spirit might be set free from that body.  The more a believer lives in the law of his flesh, the more power Satan has over his fleshly body.  But the more a believer submits to the law of love in his spirit, the more power he has over Satan until the Lord delivers him to his heavenly home.

God said in Genesis that "… every imagination of the thoughts of his (man's) heart is only evil continually." (6: 5, 21).  God hates evil.  It is because of evil in man that Christ was nailed to the cross.  But from the cross, Christ said of evil man, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  Hereby the believer learns compassion both for other struggling believers and for others in this world who are unbelievers.  Hereby the believer learns the real meaning of "Love thine enemy; love those who would persecute us and seek to cause us harm."  Just as Jesus loves all who would spit on Him and nail Him to a cross, God calls on us to love those who would despise us, use us, spit on us, and nail us to a cross.

When Paul spoke of freedom from the law, he was not saying that Christians were permitted to be lawless.  He was referring to Judaizers who were instructing new converts to Christianity that they were required to observe all the Jewish rules and regulations.  Paul certainly instructed Christians to be good citizens in subjection to their governments.  He informed them that these governments would have no authority except that granted them by God.  He exhorted Christians to pray for their rulers to be guided by God's love that laws might not be a burden too grievous to be borne.

Paul instructed Christians to follow the highest law given: the law of love.  Love does not spring full grown into a new Christian's heart.  It is planted there as a seed in the bed of the Christian's newly enlivened spirit.  It is to be cherished and nourished.  When properly tended this seed of love sprouts, grows, blossoms, and spreads seeds of love to neighbors and throughout the world.

What about punishments for violation of the law?  This is proper, but is to be left in the hands of proper authorities.  Pray that the authorities do not abuse this function.  This function begins with instructing children.

Proverbs 13: 24- "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."  I am a firm believer that there are times for a child when a rod is useful for instilling a certain fearful respect for truth, righteousness, and justice.  But this "certain fearful respect" is not intended to drive a wedge between parents and their children, or to cause the children to live in fear.  We are to live in love.  A rod used in love is not intended to cause hurt but instruction.  A rod is to be used with reluctance to teach a loved one that wrong actions result in hurts that affect all of mankind.

Using the rod, or the law, for the purpose of finding revenge or soliciting spiteful recompense ("an eye for an eye") leads to making one's self subject to the law that Jesus calls people to be free from.  The law one lives by is the law one will die by.  The law one judges by is the law one will be judged by.  To live by the law of love, and to judge by the mercies of forgiveness, teaches people to live with grace and true freedom.

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Eye for an Eye? Many people have noted that the Bible seems to have a number of contradictions.  For instance the law says "... an eye for an eye …".  That is the law, and the law is true, righteous, and just.  So if someone purposely puts out my eye, by the law I could put out his eye and be even.  If someone lies to me, I could lie to him and be even.  Jesus said that we should do good to those who do us wrong.  If someone puts out my eye, should I seek to have his put out?  That is the law, but that is not what Jesus taught.  Should I do what the law says, or what Jesus says?

Basically the law says that I should not put out someone's eye; but that if I unjustly put out someone's eye, then I deserve to have my eye put out.  If someone puts out my eye then it could be inferred that I may justly put out his eye.  But if I say to him, "I love and forgive you; I will not put out your eye," then I have not broken the law.  Jesus was teaching a higher law: the law of love, the same love that God has for those who come to Him.

Paul explained it this way: The law was given to teach what is true, right, and just.  No one on earth (except Jesus) has perfectly lived a life that is true, right, and just.  The ultimate penalty for violation of the law is death.  No one is good enough to gain the eternal life that God gives.  But God has a higher law of love which shows mercy and forgiveness.

If people live by the law that says, "… an eye for an eye …", then those people will be judged by that law.  That law is, I reiterate, true, just, and righteous.  All who are judged by that law will be found guilty, and the judgment is death (in this case meaning eternal separation from God).  But people who find God's higher law through the Lord Jesus Christ, can learn the blessings of love, mercy, and forgiveness.  God wishes to give man eternal life, but man can only find it in the love, mercy, and forgiveness found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sin is the violation of God's law.  One man, Adam, brought sin into the world, and all men (except Jesus) have become subject to the death that comes with the violation of God's law.  But that one man (Jesus, who is God who became man) came and took the judgment for sin upon Himself, and offers God's eternal life to those who accept His free gift offered to mankind.  In His free gift, man learns the higher law of love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Now generally people may think of life and death in terms of life in this present time and world and death as the end of life in this world.  But we were created with an eternal existence that we received from the ‘breath’ of God.  Breath from the Hebrew perspective comes from the word ‘ruach’ which can be translated as ‘wind’, or ‘breath’ (as the wind that comes from ones mouth when breathing), or ‘spirit’ as that ‘breath (wind) of life’ is a euphemism for that existence that God breathed into us.  From the Hebrew perspective, death in this life means separation from life in this world, but death in the eternal sense means separation of that ‘breath of life’ from the home prepared by our eternal Creator.

Paul (a Jew who spoke in Hebrew terms) in Romans 6: 23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Everyone knows that countless Christians, those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, have died, and many graves of professed Christians are known to all.  Christians hold in faith that just as there is a fleshly body with life and death, there is also a spiritual body beyond this physical, fleshly body.  This fleshly body was born into a world of sin and is unsuitable for the eternal life that God offers.

Those who come to know Jesus as their Savior, have their spiritual lives "awakened" or "made alive" within them.  There begins a struggle within of knowing and desiring to do what is right within the spirit, but this earthly, fleshly body keeps pulling us down from reaching our highest ambition.  This is the law of Christ in our spirits struggling with the law of the flesh in our bodies.  All people will be judged, both physically and spiritually, by the law which governs them.

This physical, earthly, fleshly body has been tied to the law of the flesh, which is the standard of this world.  For Christians the death of this worldly body sets the spirit free to be joined to a new body prepared by God.  Romans chapter seven defines the struggle, and proclaims the believer's victory in the grave.  Romans chapter eight explains that though the believer's earthly body has been judged and is destined for death, absolutely nothing can separate the believer's spirit from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

This in no way means a believer should seek death.  This life in the flesh is intended by God to be a beacon to unbelievers drawing them to the law of God's love, mercy, and forgiveness.  Though the Christian is to look forward to the death of this body (or our Lord's return, whichever comes first), he is to love having the opportunity in this life to share God's love with those who do not know it.

The Christian is still struggling with the law of the flesh in his earthly body.  In this earthly body he will not reach his highest aspirations of the law of the spirit.  This is why he is not to be judgmental of those who are, much like himself, still subject to the laws of the flesh.  Believers are to have compassion and patience for other believers who are struggling with this law of the flesh.  Believers are to be more so patient and compassionate to unbelievers who do not even know the law of the spirit.  In the flesh all are falling to certain types of judgments in this world.

To live by the law of the flesh is to be judged by the law of the flesh.  To strive to live by the law of the Spirit (that is the Holy Spirit as given by our Lord to those who accept Jesus into their lives) is to pass through the judgment where the works of the flesh have been purged and the spirit has been pronounced "clean by virtue of forgiveness through God's love in Christ Jesus our Lord".  Then at our Lord’s return the believer becomes his pure and true "eternal self" as his cleansed spirit is united with a perfect eternal body.

Sin results in death for the physical body which even believers are still subject to.  Spiritual death is also a result of sin which has not been overlooked. For those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, spiritual death results in eternal separation from God’s Heavenly Kingdom to a place that Jesus described as a place of eternal torments.  Sins of those who know Jesus have been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Just as Adam's sin brought death to the whole world, because we all are his descendants (we have inherited it, if you will), Christ's shed blood upon the cross offers life to all who believe.  God's chosen people, the Jews, offered the sacrifice of a lamb.  The shed blood of this lamb was to symbolize the cleansing of sins.  The lamb symbolized Jesus.  That is what is meant by having our sins washed away in the blood of the Lamb.  Christ's death paid the penalty and took eternal judgment away from those who believe in Him.

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Sat, 04 Jul 2015 16:03:12 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/04/eye_for_an_eye http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/04/eye_for_an_eye Many people have noted that the Bible seems to have a number of contradictions.  For instance the law says "... an eye for an eye …".  That is the law, and the law is true, righteous, and just.  So if someone purposely puts out my eye, by the law I could put out his eye and be even.  If someone lies to me, I could lie to him and be even.  Jesus said that we should do good to those who do us wrong.  If someone puts out my eye, should I seek to have his put out?  That is the law, but that is not what Jesus taught.  Should I do what the law says, or what Jesus says?

Basically the law says that I should not put out someone's eye; but that if I unjustly put out someone's eye, then I deserve to have my eye put out.  If someone puts out my eye then it could be inferred that I may justly put out his eye.  But if I say to him, "I love and forgive you; I will not put out your eye," then I have not broken the law.  Jesus was teaching a higher law: the law of love, the same love that God has for those who come to Him.

Paul explained it this way: The law was given to teach what is true, right, and just.  No one on earth (except Jesus) has perfectly lived a life that is true, right, and just.  The ultimate penalty for violation of the law is death.  No one is good enough to gain the eternal life that God gives.  But God has a higher law of love which shows mercy and forgiveness.

If people live by the law that says, "… an eye for an eye …", then those people will be judged by that law.  That law is, I reiterate, true, just, and righteous.  All who are judged by that law will be found guilty, and the judgment is death (in this case meaning eternal separation from God).  But people who find God's higher law through the Lord Jesus Christ, can learn the blessings of love, mercy, and forgiveness.  God wishes to give man eternal life, but man can only find it in the love, mercy, and forgiveness found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sin is the violation of God's law.  One man, Adam, brought sin into the world, and all men (except Jesus) have become subject to the death that comes with the violation of God's law.  But that one man (Jesus, who is God who became man) came and took the judgment for sin upon Himself, and offers God's eternal life to those who accept His free gift offered to mankind.  In His free gift, man learns the higher law of love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Now generally people may think of life and death in terms of life in this present time and world and death as the end of life in this world.  But we were created with an eternal existence that we received from the ‘breath’ of God.  Breath from the Hebrew perspective comes from the word ‘ruach’ which can be translated as ‘wind’, or ‘breath’ (as the wind that comes from ones mouth when breathing), or ‘spirit’ as that ‘breath (wind) of life’ is a euphemism for that existence that God breathed into us.  From the Hebrew perspective, death in this life means separation from life in this world, but death in the eternal sense means separation of that ‘breath of life’ from the home prepared by our eternal Creator.

Paul (a Jew who spoke in Hebrew terms) in Romans 6: 23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Everyone knows that countless Christians, those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, have died, and many graves of professed Christians are known to all.  Christians hold in faith that just as there is a fleshly body with life and death, there is also a spiritual body beyond this physical, fleshly body.  This fleshly body was born into a world of sin and is unsuitable for the eternal life that God offers.

Those who come to know Jesus as their Savior, have their spiritual lives "awakened" or "made alive" within them.  There begins a struggle within of knowing and desiring to do what is right within the spirit, but this earthly, fleshly body keeps pulling us down from reaching our highest ambition.  This is the law of Christ in our spirits struggling with the law of the flesh in our bodies.  All people will be judged, both physically and spiritually, by the law which governs them.

This physical, earthly, fleshly body has been tied to the law of the flesh, which is the standard of this world.  For Christians the death of this worldly body sets the spirit free to be joined to a new body prepared by God.  Romans chapter seven defines the struggle, and proclaims the believer's victory in the grave.  Romans chapter eight explains that though the believer's earthly body has been judged and is destined for death, absolutely nothing can separate the believer's spirit from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

This in no way means a believer should seek death.  This life in the flesh is intended by God to be a beacon to unbelievers drawing them to the law of God's love, mercy, and forgiveness.  Though the Christian is to look forward to the death of this body (or our Lord's return, whichever comes first), he is to love having the opportunity in this life to share God's love with those who do not know it.

The Christian is still struggling with the law of the flesh in his earthly body.  In this earthly body he will not reach his highest aspirations of the law of the spirit.  This is why he is not to be judgmental of those who are, much like himself, still subject to the laws of the flesh.  Believers are to have compassion and patience for other believers who are struggling with this law of the flesh.  Believers are to be more so patient and compassionate to unbelievers who do not even know the law of the spirit.  In the flesh all are falling to certain types of judgments in this world.

To live by the law of the flesh is to be judged by the law of the flesh.  To strive to live by the law of the Spirit (that is the Holy Spirit as given by our Lord to those who accept Jesus into their lives) is to pass through the judgment where the works of the flesh have been purged and the spirit has been pronounced "clean by virtue of forgiveness through God's love in Christ Jesus our Lord".  Then at our Lord’s return the believer becomes his pure and true "eternal self" as his cleansed spirit is united with a perfect eternal body.

Sin results in death for the physical body which even believers are still subject to.  Spiritual death is also a result of sin which has not been overlooked. For those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, spiritual death results in eternal separation from God’s Heavenly Kingdom to a place that Jesus described as a place of eternal torments.  Sins of those who know Jesus have been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Just as Adam's sin brought death to the whole world, because we all are his descendants (we have inherited it, if you will), Christ's shed blood upon the cross offers life to all who believe.  God's chosen people, the Jews, offered the sacrifice of a lamb.  The shed blood of this lamb was to symbolize the cleansing of sins.  The lamb symbolized Jesus.  That is what is meant by having our sins washed away in the blood of the Lamb.  Christ's death paid the penalty and took eternal judgment away from those who believe in Him.

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The Law/Constitution on the Heart Many take pride in saying that we were made in God’s likeness and image.  How many think much about how we lost that likeness in the Garden of Eden?  And even in the Salvation experience we have not gained that likeness back.  Don’t believe me?  Consider what John meant when he said, “… it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1st John 3: 2)  So we have not yet regained that likeness, because it doth not yet appear what we shall be.

We stipulated (from God’s Word) that the law on stone is not capable of bringing Salvation from the law which results in death.  Salvation plants (as it were) the Law of LOVE (God is love; God’s law is built on love) in a believer’s heart.  We really needed to clarify ‘believing in man’s Salvation through Christ’s sacrifice as allowed by God’s LOVE, mercy and forgiveness.’  Believing is not simply a matter of, “Oh, I heard and read all about it in Sunday School, and I believe everything I was taught there.”  This is as it were learning taught by the ‘precept of man.’

Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men; therefore behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work … (Isaiah 29: 13- 14)

Knowing our Savior means more than, “Oh, I know all about Him, because I studied in Sunday School.”  Going to Sunday School and Church is wonderful, but people really need to understand that what is learned there needs to be absorbed into their hearts, not simply arm loads of head knowledge.

The Pharisees believed early on in “God’s Word” as it appeared to them from their parchments (their scrolls).  They studied it diligently and elaborated (overly elaborated) on it greatly.  But they failed to understand that “marvelous work” noted in Isaiah’s passage above.

I fear that many preachers and church lobbyists to Congress are falling back into the trap of that knowledge “taught by the precept of man.”  The law on stone was not sufficient for man.  The parchments were not sufficient.  The US Constitution will never be sufficient.  The law (on stone, parchment, or bound in books called the Bible, or in the US Constitution) may constrain man’s actions to a degree, but will never satisfy what God is demanding that His under-shepherds, the pastors and preachers, are supposed to be sharing with mankind.

Pharisees and politicians may work on the law from now till Kingdom come but that will never take the place of God’s intentions for His church.  Believers are to reach mankind with God’s law of LOVE.  They have a Living Word (not just a Book called Bible) that is sharper than any two-edged sword that may be wielded by any constitution.  The Living Word is God’s Word, which became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1)  Believers are to be Christ-like dwellers among people of this world, recognizing that this world is not our home.  Our ‘Constitution’ is alive and preparing a place for us, because ‘Our Constitution’, the constitution of Christians, is Jesus Christ Himself written on our hearts.

I’m not trying to suggest that God may not call certain people to enter the sphere of politics.  But I do believe that He would only call the most mature believers to such a position, because it is such a precariously circumspect position.  I realize too that such a position carries weighty matters that are put into ink and paper (or was that chisel and stone?).  But a believer in such a position must realize that his sphere of influence is so much more important and powerful than the ink and paper of the US Constitution.  He must realize that God’s law will always be God’s law, regardless of any constitution and that the law of LOVE on man’s heart will always supersede and accomplish so much more than any law on stone (or was that ink and paper?).  We are to reach people with LOVE, God’s law written on the heart, not a constitution written on human documents.

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Sat, 04 Jul 2015 09:23:01 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/04/the_lawconstitution_on_the_heart http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/04/the_lawconstitution_on_the_heart Many take pride in saying that we were made in God’s likeness and image.  How many think much about how we lost that likeness in the Garden of Eden?  And even in the Salvation experience we have not gained that likeness back.  Don’t believe me?  Consider what John meant when he said, “… it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1st John 3: 2)  So we have not yet regained that likeness, because it doth not yet appear what we shall be.

We stipulated (from God’s Word) that the law on stone is not capable of bringing Salvation from the law which results in death.  Salvation plants (as it were) the Law of LOVE (God is love; God’s law is built on love) in a believer’s heart.  We really needed to clarify ‘believing in man’s Salvation through Christ’s sacrifice as allowed by God’s LOVE, mercy and forgiveness.’  Believing is not simply a matter of, “Oh, I heard and read all about it in Sunday School, and I believe everything I was taught there.”  This is as it were learning taught by the ‘precept of man.’

Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men; therefore behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work … (Isaiah 29: 13- 14)

Knowing our Savior means more than, “Oh, I know all about Him, because I studied in Sunday School.”  Going to Sunday School and Church is wonderful, but people really need to understand that what is learned there needs to be absorbed into their hearts, not simply arm loads of head knowledge.

The Pharisees believed early on in “God’s Word” as it appeared to them from their parchments (their scrolls).  They studied it diligently and elaborated (overly elaborated) on it greatly.  But they failed to understand that “marvelous work” noted in Isaiah’s passage above.

I fear that many preachers and church lobbyists to Congress are falling back into the trap of that knowledge “taught by the precept of man.”  The law on stone was not sufficient for man.  The parchments were not sufficient.  The US Constitution will never be sufficient.  The law (on stone, parchment, or bound in books called the Bible, or in the US Constitution) may constrain man’s actions to a degree, but will never satisfy what God is demanding that His under-shepherds, the pastors and preachers, are supposed to be sharing with mankind.

Pharisees and politicians may work on the law from now till Kingdom come but that will never take the place of God’s intentions for His church.  Believers are to reach mankind with God’s law of LOVE.  They have a Living Word (not just a Book called Bible) that is sharper than any two-edged sword that may be wielded by any constitution.  The Living Word is God’s Word, which became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1)  Believers are to be Christ-like dwellers among people of this world, recognizing that this world is not our home.  Our ‘Constitution’ is alive and preparing a place for us, because ‘Our Constitution’, the constitution of Christians, is Jesus Christ Himself written on our hearts.

I’m not trying to suggest that God may not call certain people to enter the sphere of politics.  But I do believe that He would only call the most mature believers to such a position, because it is such a precariously circumspect position.  I realize too that such a position carries weighty matters that are put into ink and paper (or was that chisel and stone?).  But a believer in such a position must realize that his sphere of influence is so much more important and powerful than the ink and paper of the US Constitution.  He must realize that God’s law will always be God’s law, regardless of any constitution and that the law of LOVE on man’s heart will always supersede and accomplish so much more than any law on stone (or was that ink and paper?).  We are to reach people with LOVE, God’s law written on the heart, not a constitution written on human documents.

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Do You Know Jesus? I believe that it would be superfluous for me to discuss more on being judged by the law that you judge by.  But I believe that more understanding on judging can be gleaned by considering the following passages.  Also, considering judging can add to understanding the following passages.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Matthew 6: 14 (Also refer to Matthew 18: 21- 35: How many times shall I forgive?  Parable of the Unmerciful Debtor.)

The law on tablets of stone cannot allow salvation for any, because all are guilty.  “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, … “. (Acts 15: 11)  “… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, … “. (Acts 16: 31).  Simple?  Believe what and why?  Saved from what?  There is more to those verses than many modern readers readily see.

Paul who was a Hebrew scholar originally wrote them in Hebrew or had a secretary who wrote them for him either in Hebrew or Greek.  In his times names were used to convey a valid meaning.  Many people today who may say, “Believe in Tom, Dick, or Harry,” may not associate real meaning to the terms ‘Tom,’ ‘Dick,’ or ‘Harry.’  Just believe in any or all of the people designated by those names.

Lord is the master.  Jesus means, “Yahweh (or Jehovah, the One True Creator and God) is Salvation.”  Christ means anointed or specially designated (it is from the Greek translation of the Hebrew term transliterated as ‘Messiah.’).  To believe in (or ‘on’) the Lord Jesus Christ from its original perspective is to believe that He is to be the Master of your life and that He is God’s specially designated plan for your Salvation.  Why do we need salvation?  Because not one of us can be saved from the Law on Stone without an escape.  The law’s judgment would mean death for all who are judged by that law.  God sent His Son, Jesus, who did not break the law, and therefore was not subject to die by it.  But He chose death at the hands of our sins, to take our judgment on Himself and offer us the gift of eternal life by God’s gracious mercy.

That study by ecclesiastical scholars is called soteriology.  Do they use these terms to make it difficult for us who are not scholars?  No, just when translating so many ancient languages as Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, it’s just only natural that they would talk that way amongst themselves and this provides them reference points in understanding one another.  But they really try to understand the ancient intentions in the wording of those languages to try to better explain it to those of us who are not schooled in those languages or customs or cultures of those times.  Their understanding of the customs and cultures helps them to better understand the terms in their languages so more meaning and understanding can be derived.  With so many changes in customs, cultures, and languages, we should all sincerely thank the Lord that there are people who are dedicated to these studies.  We should also pray that the Lord will send more people to explain these things to the world which is in so much need of understanding.

Many may ask, “Do you know the Lord?”  Many may say, “I know the Lord.”  But do we consider what it means to “know” (K N O W) the Lord.  It could be said that Satan ‘knows’ the Lord.  Satan came before God in Job’s trials and came to Jesus in the wilderness.  The English language has a number of terms related to and meaning similar to know: understand, comprehend, recognize, see (as in, “I see.”), and others you may think of.  So it was in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  This is why sometimes there are issues in sorting out the full meaning.

In Genesis Moses taught that “Adam ‘knew’ Eve … and she conceived …” (Gen. 4: 1)  The Hebrew (without inflections or accent marks) was ‘yada’.  This can accurately be translated “know,” but one must recognize that this does not mean simply, “have a certain knowledge of.”  It means to know in a full, encompassing sense of the word; to personally have a relational knowledge that can only be gained by having a personal experience or relationship with.

Jesus said that on the judgment day many will be told to depart from Him because He never ‘knew’ them. (Matthew 7 22)  But could Jesus say that He never knew Satan since encountering him in the wilderness (and not only there)?  So this knowing Jesus is not simply a matter of having knowledge of Him through the Written Word, but is really more of knowing by experiencing a personal relationship with Him.

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Fri, 03 Jul 2015 08:08:59 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/03/do_you_know_jesus http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/07/03/do_you_know_jesus I believe that it would be superfluous for me to discuss more on being judged by the law that you judge by.  But I believe that more understanding on judging can be gleaned by considering the following passages.  Also, considering judging can add to understanding the following passages.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Matthew 6: 14 (Also refer to Matthew 18: 21- 35: How many times shall I forgive?  Parable of the Unmerciful Debtor.)

The law on tablets of stone cannot allow salvation for any, because all are guilty.  “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, … “. (Acts 15: 11)  “… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, … “. (Acts 16: 31).  Simple?  Believe what and why?  Saved from what?  There is more to those verses than many modern readers readily see.

Paul who was a Hebrew scholar originally wrote them in Hebrew or had a secretary who wrote them for him either in Hebrew or Greek.  In his times names were used to convey a valid meaning.  Many people today who may say, “Believe in Tom, Dick, or Harry,” may not associate real meaning to the terms ‘Tom,’ ‘Dick,’ or ‘Harry.’  Just believe in any or all of the people designated by those names.

Lord is the master.  Jesus means, “Yahweh (or Jehovah, the One True Creator and God) is Salvation.”  Christ means anointed or specially designated (it is from the Greek translation of the Hebrew term transliterated as ‘Messiah.’).  To believe in (or ‘on’) the Lord Jesus Christ from its original perspective is to believe that He is to be the Master of your life and that He is God’s specially designated plan for your Salvation.  Why do we need salvation?  Because not one of us can be saved from the Law on Stone without an escape.  The law’s judgment would mean death for all who are judged by that law.  God sent His Son, Jesus, who did not break the law, and therefore was not subject to die by it.  But He chose death at the hands of our sins, to take our judgment on Himself and offer us the gift of eternal life by God’s gracious mercy.

That study by ecclesiastical scholars is called soteriology.  Do they use these terms to make it difficult for us who are not scholars?  No, just when translating so many ancient languages as Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, it’s just only natural that they would talk that way amongst themselves and this provides them reference points in understanding one another.  But they really try to understand the ancient intentions in the wording of those languages to try to better explain it to those of us who are not schooled in those languages or customs or cultures of those times.  Their understanding of the customs and cultures helps them to better understand the terms in their languages so more meaning and understanding can be derived.  With so many changes in customs, cultures, and languages, we should all sincerely thank the Lord that there are people who are dedicated to these studies.  We should also pray that the Lord will send more people to explain these things to the world which is in so much need of understanding.

Many may ask, “Do you know the Lord?”  Many may say, “I know the Lord.”  But do we consider what it means to “know” (K N O W) the Lord.  It could be said that Satan ‘knows’ the Lord.  Satan came before God in Job’s trials and came to Jesus in the wilderness.  The English language has a number of terms related to and meaning similar to know: understand, comprehend, recognize, see (as in, “I see.”), and others you may think of.  So it was in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  This is why sometimes there are issues in sorting out the full meaning.

In Genesis Moses taught that “Adam ‘knew’ Eve … and she conceived …” (Gen. 4: 1)  The Hebrew (without inflections or accent marks) was ‘yada’.  This can accurately be translated “know,” but one must recognize that this does not mean simply, “have a certain knowledge of.”  It means to know in a full, encompassing sense of the word; to personally have a relational knowledge that can only be gained by having a personal experience or relationship with.

Jesus said that on the judgment day many will be told to depart from Him because He never ‘knew’ them. (Matthew 7 22)  But could Jesus say that He never knew Satan since encountering him in the wilderness (and not only there)?  So this knowing Jesus is not simply a matter of having knowledge of Him through the Written Word, but is really more of knowing by experiencing a personal relationship with Him.

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