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Sunday, May 12, 2013, 1:39 PM
My apologies to my friends, as I have been out much and have not had much opportunity to read so many of the posts of others that I usually read regularly, either on Beliefnet or Facebook. My post based on my Bible study today is somewhat long, but trying to shorten it seemed only to distort what seemed to be God’s message to me this morning.
Many thoughts came to me in my Bible study this morning. The Christian church is to come together to learn and practice growth and teach others in Christianity. What does this mean. First things first. To begin with, for one to be a Christian, he should understand what it is he needs to be, and why he needs to be one. We recognize ourselves as sinners in need of redemption to be made acceptable by our Creator. Then one learns that our Lord Jesus Christ came to redeem us, and in believing (trusting, beginning a faith in) Him, we become a follower of Him, believing in Him and all He taught, and striving to follow Him. There are things that people need to learn and understand about this, because without this, why would anyone see a need for being a Christian to begin with. There is much to study just in the things above, but the beginning of Christianity doesn’t require much study, but a realization of one’s own self, and one’s own need for our Creator, and our own unworthiness to approach Him on our own, to realize that we need a Savior that will make us acceptable to Him.
Then as we grow as Christians, we learn to better understand God’s law of love. Becoming a Christian is first and foremost, then learning to grow in God’s law of love is next. Without finding our Savior to make us acceptable to our Creator, then we cannot approach our Creator by learning the law without our Savior. So we need the Savior first; then we need to learn and grow in that law of love. In that law of love we learn justice, which includes that sense of fairness and rightness between one another, and also the penalties for violating that justice (the chastening and scourging taught in Hebrews 12: 6). In that law of love, we see that justice means setting aside selfishness not to respect one person above another (which selfishness is respecting self above others).
Also in that law of love we also learn humility. Humility demonstrates love by seeking to meet the needs of others as opposed to living the boastful life of promoting our own goals and seeking to satisfy our own needs (our perceived needs- as more often than not, what we ‘want’ is what we think we ‘need’). This generosity is a form of humility as it seeks not to elevate the worth of self in self-satisfaction as opposed to raising the worth of others in sharing to meet the needs of others. Humility seeks to recognize the worth of others above bragging and boasting of our own worth.
Also in that law of love we see truth. Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Love sees the truth. When Satan tempted Jesus, he quoted the Scripture. Sometimes lies come in many forms. Using Scriptures to tell lies can come in different forms. One can slightly change the wording of a passage of Scripture to try to make it sound as though it means something different from what it says. One can easily take a passage out of context. This happens often, and even the best of Bible students may find occasional misdirection by not quite grasping the context or intent of a passage. Though this may happen even to Bible students, this is why we must, as Paul taught, diligently search and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One who may use the Scriptures to misdirect someone may try to convince another by applying some esoteric or unnatural symbolism to something in a way that isn’t clearly indicated and/or may be contradictory to other teachings in the Bible.
In learning to practice that law, we find that we are all so far from being all that we should be, and since living in God’s law is our highest striving, we should put that learning and teaching above all else (after becoming a Christian- remember becoming a Christian is first in importance because without Jesus, the law will profit us nothing; but once we have Jesus, then His law of love is our purpose in life).
Now faith was part of becoming a Christian (the gift we received by God’s grace for our belief in His Word- and Jesus is the Word of God (Romans 6: 23; Ephesians 2: 8,9)) and love results in our obedience to that purpose for which we were created- that life of good works that He hath before ordained (Ephesians 2: 10). Jesus said that with the faith of a grain of mustard seed, we could move mountains, but Jesus continually chided his followers about how weak and puny their faith was, even as they were seeing miracles before their eyes. Even so, there were religious leaders who wouldn’t accept Jesus teaching, who asked Him to prove Himself by performing some miracle which brings me to my first passage in my today’s Bible study.
Matthew 16:1- 4 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying him asked him to show them a sign from heaven. But he answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the heaven is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the heaven is red and lowering. Ye know how to discern the face of the heaven; but ye cannot discern the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonah. And he left them, and departed. (ASV)
People can look around and see so many things, but they seem oblivious to what direction the world is going around them. Even so, many of the leaders of the Synagogues had seen Jesus heal sick people and cast out demons and still didn’t accept Him as God’s Son, and even accused Him of exercising Beelzebub’s powers (another name for a powerful demon ruler). Jesus worked many signs then, and is still working powerful signs (miracles, wonders, anything that those of this world would call supernatural, etc.) today, He still teaches that ‘an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign …’.
Acts 14:8- 11 And at Lystra there sat a certain man, impotent in his feet, a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked. The same heard Paul speaking, who, fastening eyes upon him, and seeing that he had faith to be made whole, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped up and walked. And when the multitude saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. (ASV)
Paul saw that the man had faith. The man was made whole. Paul accepted this as a natural part of what God expected. In other words, Paul didn’t see this as ‘supernatural’. However, the citizens of the city who were of this world saw this as a supernatural event, and wanted to venerate Paul. People who are citizens of God’s kingdom are not to go seeking or chasing after or be entertained by studying the ‘supernatural’. Only those who are evil and adulterous seek after such signs as supernatural events. Citizens of God’s kingdom live in faith, and accept God’s works as a natural part or outcropping of that faith.
We are ‘saved’ by our faith, and we are to ‘live’ by our faith, and we are to accept ‘God’s providence’ by our faith, whether the way seems difficult or the cross too heavy to bear. Jesus was in one community where it was said that He could not do many mighty works because of the weakness of ‘their’ faith. Jesus could work with all His power, but for God to respond to our needs, we are to demonstrate our faith in Him. Jesus didn’t need ‘their’ faith to give Him more power, but He needed them to show more faith in His being sent from God. When the disciples couldn’t cast out a demon at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus wandered at their little faith. Often when Jesus displayed God’s forgiveness or someone was healed, Jesus said that ‘their’ faith had saved/healed them. We are not to seek the ‘supernatural’ events of signs and wonders. We are to live with the faith and hope- the earnest expectation- that God will perform on our behalf in such a way that all things will work together for the good of those who love Him and serve according to His purpose.
James said that we ask and don’t receive because we ask amiss, for our own lusts. Now the Greek word translated as lusts means desire, and not necessarily an ‘evil’ desire. Remember earlier I had mentioned that often what we ‘want’ is what we think we ‘need’. These ‘wants’ are our ‘lusts’ in James 4: 3. We may think we ‘want’ them for good intentions, but if it is outside of God’s will, then it is not a need, and we ask amiss. But we are to live in faith that He will supply what we need. We may think we need ‘healing’, but sometimes a sickness may be intended to serve His purpose. That doesn’t mean we are not to seek healing, or that we are not to strive to live by faith that He will heal, or that His purpose will be accomplished even if there is no healing. As we live by faith, then if His healing is willed or intended, then that faith will cause us to continue on in our confidence that He is able to use us to serve His purpose, even in our own ‘weakness’. If we live by faith, then healing is by no means supernatural, as it is a natural part of walking with God. But those who don’t walk with faith in God may see it as supernatural. So if you are a part of the evil and adulterous generation Christ spoke of, then you may well seek supernatural signs and wonders. However, if you are a child of God’s kingdom, then you have no need to be concerned with supernatural signs, because you seek to live by a faith that sees God’s handy-work as a natural (by no mean supernatural) working out of His purpose.
Friday, May 10, 2013, 11:09 AM
To say that all of the gospel authors gave different accounts of various words and events in Jesus life does not mean that any are totally inaccurate or any way untrue. Slight variations in some events do not change the significance of the event and memories (not being entirely perfect) may be slightly different. Also, information in the writings were remembered and retold by various individuals to others so that one different gospel writer had information from some things that perhaps another didn’t recall or wasn’t a witness to. Most people are certain that in Jesus itinerary travels He preached much the same message again and again to different groups, maybe omitting some things that weren’t meant for one group and adding things that may have been meant for another group. In Luke’s version of the message spoken at what is called the Sermon on the Mount, someone who gave information to Luke concerning Christ’s words remembered this portion that is missing from the Matthew account. But remember, this message was likely preached on other occasions, and at times there may have been slight variations in the message.
Luke 6:24- 26 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you, ye that are full now! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you, ye that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets. (ASV)
Whereas the Beatitudes pronounced blessings for those who did rightly, this counter concept above tells of the troubles that will come upon in the judgment for those who are rich- because they have received their consolation. Remember Jesus said not to seek your rewards in this life, and Abraham told the rich man in torments that he had received his rewards in this life. Those who seek their rewards in this life may well receive those rewards, but as Satan is the ruler of this world, then consider where the reward originates. Even if many in this world speak well of someone, remember that down through history false prophets have been venerated by this world.
Paganism and wiccan practices are abhorrent to God, so Christians see these as on a level with the false prophets. This is why it is foolishness to think that all religions can be lumped into one church called unity and universal. I may love a pagan, a witch, a Muslim, or a Jew, but I could wish they were Christian, and we do not worship together. Any one of them may love me, and wish that I would believe as they, but they also recognize that our worship practices are different, and that we could not all worship in the same service. This is why the concept of Unitarianism is ludicrous. The belief system of one faith is so vastly different from the belief system of another faith that you could not believe in the teachings and fundamental beliefs of each system at the same time. If the Jews say that the Messiah has not come, and the Christians say that Christ is the Messiah, and the Muslims say that Jesus is only a prophet and not the anointed Savior, then how could they worship together. If Buddhists teach reincarnation and Christians teach that we live and die and then comes the judgment, then who could they worship together. How much intelligence is required to see that when people believe differently, you can’t expect them to worship in the same way under the same roof?
Luke 6:31- 35 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for even sinners love those that love them. And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much. But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. (ASV)
How many times may one entertain house guests, say for instance by a dinner party, and they can suppose that later their guests will return the invitation? What have they done for anyone? They expect to receive what they gave, so they expect to break even. Who does for someone without expecting a return? But if you wish to be rewarded by your Heavenly Father, you should serve others without regard for their ability to reward you back. He will give rewards for service, but don’t expect those rewards to be in this life (not saying that there will not be any reward in this life- but as Jesus said, store up your rewards where they will shine forever).
Luke 6:36- 38 Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful. And judge not, and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: release, and ye shall be released: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. (ASV)
Remember that in ‘judging not’, calling sin what it is does not constitute judging- it is only telling the truth. Still, if sin needs to be called to attention, it should be in a private, discrete fashion as possible. As we are all sinners, then it shouldn’t be necessary to go around pointing out everything about everyone- remember, how can you pluck a speck from your brother’s eye, if you have a beam in your own eye?
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 11:58 AM
Been busy- still behind on many things. Just totaled debit cards from yesterday. Surprise. I knew my budget was behind, but sometimes you can think, “Oh, it’s a little behind, so it won’t hurt if it gets a little more behind.” Then you think a little later, “A little more won’t hurt more than it already is- it’s just a little.” Then you forget how many ‘littles’ there were, and realize you stuck your card out way more times than you originally thought. Anyway- I’ve been in trouble before, and probably will again, so I just have to remember to leave the plastic at home.
My PC is still very slow, but I still have to run cleaning program and clean register and defrag and optimize. Will try to have that started this afternoon. Still not fully caught up on daily Bible study, but though hearing the Word is important, doing the Word is more important, and doing the Word means doing as Jesus taught to serve one another in love.
Romans 14:7- 12 For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God. So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God. (ASV)
There are those who love to sit on church pews and talk about how close they are to God, because they spend so much time in prayer, Bible study, and praising. But, though these things are important, remember, James said that faith without works is dead. So how do we “work” for God? He is all in all, so what could we do for Him? Jesus said that if you do it for the least of His brethren, you do it for Him. What we do for God is to obey God’s law of love, not for self, but for others. It is easy for people to deceive themselves into thinking how good they are when they think they are doing what God requires, but they are really living in selfishness. “Oh, look how good my life is. I try not to do anything to displease God. I’m filled with faith that God will work all things out. I know that God will take care of me.” For many, it’s all about “ME”. How good I am! How much God will do for me! I’m not going to say that there is not some truth in this, but people need to remember that it is also about God doing for other through you. It’s not “all about you”. It’s about how we are not to live for ourselves, but for the Lord, as Christ lived and died for us. And living for the Lord doesn’t mean just sitting on church pews praying and praising and studying the Bible. Living for the Lord means serving others.
Just as it is easy for people to deceive themselves, it is also easy for people to be deceitful to others. Being deceitful is propagating a lie. Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Are saved people protected from being deceitful. No. Saved people are not perfect, and often fall. Sometimes it may be trying to ‘not’ show the entire truth, so though you may not tell an absolute lie, you may still propagate a lie by not telling the entire truth. Then if someone is misinformed, you can always say, “That’s not what I said, that’s what you thought.” But often people are not realizing how guilty they are for allowing someone to believe a lie, because they didn’t publish the entire truth. Then you can realize that someone believes something is one way, and by not straightening out the matter, you allow them to continue in a misconception, thus propagating a lie. Then sometimes if you need something from someone, you may not come right out and say what you truly think, but you may ‘hint’ at certain things to lead people to believe something, then again you can say, “You’re putting words in my mouth. That’s not what I said.” In truth, that may not be exactly what they said, but by adding something that wasn’t necessary and leaving out something that completed the story, then one can lead another to believe that is what they meant, when it is entirely the opposite. Then sometimes someone could not quite tell the whole truth because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. This can be delicate, because while the truth should be known, at the same time, it may not be necessary for everyone to know all the truth, especially if that truth could be hurtful to someone’s feelings. But if the truth would hurt someone’s feelings, and you don’t tell it because you need them to help you, then you may be being devious in order to keep someone from knowing the truth so that you can get that help.
Then people can be honest, and still have their actions to be questionable. You could stand in a public place and announce loud enough for all to hear how much you think someone else is ‘ugly, worthless, and no one would want to have someone like that for a friend’ and then sit on a church pew and tell the Lord how much of a Christian you are, because you can tell the world the whole truth, even if the truth hurts other people’s feelings or reputation. But there are a lot of church-pew-sitters who think themselves so ‘blessed’ and so close to the Lord, yet they are either deceitful to others for the purpose of taking advantage of them, or they are so brutally ‘honest’ that they don’t care whose feelings they destroy. So often Christians have to remember that as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day treated Him, so Christians may expect to be treated by others today.
So as the passage above says that we are not to live for ourselves, but for the Lord, and Jesus said that living for Him means loving and serving one another. Then, as people strive to serve others, there are many who will take advantage of those who do for others, and use them, and make it clear that all they will be worth is what people can get from them, and they will never be worth as much as others who didn’t treat them so well, and that once they have nothing more to give, they can be cast aside like an old shoe. In other words, Jesus said to love others, but don’t expect others to love you, because He loved many who treated Him as though He were worthless.
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 12:47 AM
Busy day- can’t get to all missed calls on caller id, emails, & updates. Booted up machine, but sluggish & freezing up. Ran anti-virus check. Tomorrow will clean hard drive, register, & defrag. Also, got a ton of clothes from clothes line day before yesterday need to put away. Read very short Bible study- 1 chapter Old & 1 chapter New. Didn’t plan to post (late time). A few verses gave some pause for thought.
Psalm 10:1- 4 Why standest thou afar off, O Jehovah? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? In the pride of the wicked the poor is hotly pursued; Let them be taken in the devices that they have conceived. For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, And the covetous renounceth, yea, contemneth Jehovah. The wicked, in the pride of his countenance, saith, He will not require it. All his thoughts are, There is no God. (ASV)
Sometimes when we see how greedy some people and corporations can be, and how many are struggling to make ends meet, one may ponder if God is really in control. We must remember that Satan is called the prince of the power of the air and the ruler of this world. Even so, to call him the ruler, it is mankind that extended that position to him. God gave sovereignty of earth to man, but man bowed down to listen to Satan rather than to his Creator. In this, man subjected himself to Satan, and lost the sovereignty over this earth. So in this world, Jesus told those who followed Him to expect to be treated by this world as this world treated Him. So the greedy in this world will stand in pride and not have concern when the needy struggle. But though Satan may rule this world for now, there will be a day when our Creator will bring judgment upon all living, and who have ever lived.
Romans 13:8 Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. (ASV)
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: love therefore is the fulfilment of the law. (ASV)
The whole of God’s law can be tied in to love. This love is not found in the greedy ones mentioned in the Psalms passage above. This love seeks to help in all possible ways the needy who have been trampled by the greedy.
Still, love in the Bible carries different connotations. There is the godly love for mankind, but when we were created, we were instilled with this other godly love for companionship in a more personal relationship. This is why God said that it is not good that the man should be alone. Certain traits were created into the fabric of our being that seeks that other companionship. Though this is intended to be a godly relationship, just as the greedy seek to oppress the poor, there is another greed in this special relationship that people may use to take advantage of others. Many in the area of prostitution seek to gain earthly material rewards from this relationship. Still others fall into the area of prostitution from dire desperation to meet other obligations. It is not for us to judge, but to seek to lift others up in this struggle in life. But many seek to take advantage of other’s bad situations. Others seek to judge others in bad situations. Sometimes it seems that there are very few who will reach out to lift others up.
Also as there are some who strive to reach out to others, sometimes it may seem that there are so many that are looking to use and take advantage of that reaching out, that they seem to expect it to always be there. When people reach out to others, they often have to remember that nothing is to be expected in return. One has to put self aside for someone they are reaching out to. This can sometimes be difficult, because it seems to be built in that people always want someone to be there for them. If you are there for someone, then are you there for them, because they need someone to be there for them? But if you expect them to be there for you, then you are not so much doing anything purely for them, because you are expecting to be repaid by them in having them to be there for you. So this is a trade-off. But if you do something for someone without expecting anything in return, then you have given of yourself.
Still, people have these yearnings for someone to be there for them for many reasons. People need one another, and as God said, “It is not good that the man be alone.” So just as you may be there for someone else, at the same time, you feel this desire and need for someone to be there for you. Sometimes when you do something for someone, you have to remind yourself that this doesn’t mean you are to ever be owed anything for your service, because the Lord will reward all who know Him for any service done for others as needed in accordance for the good works which we were really created for.
The lesson to be learned is that the reward the Lord prepares for those who love Him and in love serve one another is a reward to be found in the eternal life in His kingdom which we do not deserve. So though we may expect a reward in our heavenly home, we can’t seem to forget that we still live in this earthly fleshly body, and it always cries for attention. As we can expect this world to treat us as it treated Christ, we can expect this world to use us, take advantage of us, take us for granted. We may often expect to feel that we are not worth the attention of others. We may feel that we are not worth as much as others. We can strive to forget that we are only servants seeking to help others, and we have to be careful that others don’t see the tears when we hurt for feelings that others don’t see us as worthy of having. But we can only do what we can do by the grace and in the strength of Christ. So if it seems that we are out of resources, then we must decide that perhaps we are striving to do more than was meant for us to do. So as Paul says in Romans 7, we may often feel wretched in this fleshly body, knowing that it cries for its own concerns while in our minds we seek to serve the Lord. That is when we must remember to praise the Lord and that He will deliver us from this fleshly body. Still, we ache to know that we haven’t been fully delivered yet, as that awaits us meeting Him in the air, and seeing Him face to face as He is. So in this flesh we suffer the subjection to this law of the flesh as told in Romans 7, yet with the mind we yearn for that day when we will escape the hurts of this fleshly body.
And this world may continue to take advantage of us, and treat us as though we are not even as deserving of enjoying the life of others in their world, yet we must continue on. Though we feel that we are worthless and that all we could ever be worth is what others can get from us, we must remember the words of Christ as He said that when we have done all we can do, we must say that we are only servants and have done only that which was expected of us.
Sunday, May 5, 2013, 1:18 PM
Sometimes in Bible study (especially depending on the version selected) there may be sentences that seem so long that by the end of the verse or passage, it seems that there is difficulty remembering what was the original subject and predicate and the main thrust (or intent) of the passage. Often when reading such a verse or passage it seems that the last impression of the reading is where one gets the most of the meaning, but those end thoughts may sometimes take a person away from the real meaning or intent. Much thought and prayer must go into reading the passage with a real earnest desire for the Holy Spirit to reveal the message. Sometimes there may be a passage that is difficult to understand, and we may have to say, “Lord, I’m not sure what you’re saying here, but I know that it is truth and in its proper time, You will reveal it to me, though that may not be revealed until we meet in the air.” Sometimes people read part of a passage, and try to reason out their own understanding of what the “symbolism” may mean when a fuller explanation may be in the passage, but not revealed until later on. For instance, one may read the story of the sower who sowed his seed on different grounds and start thinking about what it means, and be in error, when shortly later in that passage, Jesus reveals what He is saying to His disciples.
Another passage I have heard misapplied that way is in Ezekiel chapter 17: 1- 10. This passage is about two eagles and I have heard people try to surmise that these two eagles represent certain nations in certain times, though they don’t go further into the chapter where the real interpretation of the eagles is exposed. The Lord explains that the kingdoms of Babylon and Egypt will go after Jerusalem, and the eagles represent this struggle, but Babylon will prevail. This is in reference to Jerusalem being taken into captivity by Babylon.
The following passage contains at least one very long sentence. This post would be too long if I tried to fully outline it and take apart each word and show it’s relation to the overall sentence structure, but this is something that would be a good exercise for any serious Bible student.
Romans 3:19- 31 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it speaketh to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.
Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law- of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: if so be that God is one, and he shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law. (ASV)
Now each citizen of each country is under the laws of that country. Next, each member of each religious group or sect is under the law (covenant, oaths, by-laws, etc.) of that group. In Paul’s speeches, normally a reference to those under the law is a reference to his people, the Jews, under which laws he was raised. Commonly, those who were not considered Jewish were not considered as being under the law (that law of Moses handed down to the Jews). This can be where it becomes difficult to understand. Paul, elsewhere, had stipulated that in truth, all are under the law (that law of God, which for the Jews was the Mosaic law or Torah), because all are created by God, and that sense inside each person that discerns that murder is a crime and whatever other standards of living are right or wrong indicates (by nature) that we should all be able to discern that the law of our Creator should be applicable to all His creation. Our Lord Jesus Christ summated that all of the law of God could be summed up in that law of LOVE, for God foremost, and then for our fellow man. But in John’s epistle, John points out that how can we love God whom we haven’t seen if we can’t love other people who were also created by our Creator. So then we go back to Jesus statement that if we do it to the least of these, we do it even unto Him. So we show our love for God in how strong is our love for one another.
It may appear that I have left the subject of the passage, but when discussing law, one must make clear which law one is referring to, that of a country, or that of a specific group of people, or that law that applies to all creation. But there is no human being that has ever fully, perfectly lived by that law of love. Many may love to talk ‘flowery words’ about ‘loving all,’ but in reality, we all fall short of that pure and perfect love. Because we are all guilty of falling short of God’s law, then we would all be condemned to live apart from our Creator, because we are not good enough to be with Him. He is so good and perfect, that anything less than perfect would be unthinkable for Him. Yet in His love for us, as imperfect as we are, His love for us is so strong that He came Himself in the form of His Son (very much a part of Himself) to bring us deliverance from that guilt of the law that we are all so guilty of. But we can never be saved by living in that law, because we have all already violated that law. So as is said above, we cannot be justified by the law that condemns us, so our only hope for justification is by faith in Him through whom we may find justification, apart from the law.
Romans 4:1- 8 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, hath found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not toward God. For what saith the scripture? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.
Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness. Even as David also pronounceth blessing upon the man, unto whom God reckoneth righteousness apart from works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, And whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom, the Lord will not reckon sin. (ASV)
The one who the Lord will not reckon sin to is the one referred to as the one who will not be found guilty of violating God’s law. Though we have all violated that law, and in that sense, we must confess our GUILT, at the same time, God offers to cleanse (absolve, declare us ‘not guilty’) by virtue of His grace and love in offering that cleansing to those who come to Him in faith through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1- 2 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (ASV)
We cannot expect to start living by that law, and by living it to work our way up to being good enough to win His favor. Why? Because we find that we live in a fleshly body that is subject to the pulls and concerns of this world, which has already been seen to be so contrary to the world our Creator has prepared for those who believe, trust, and come to Him. When we come to the Lord through faith, we still live in this fleshly body, which means that we have not yet come into our eternal home. So in our hearts and minds, we can strive to come closer to God, but at the same time, living in this fleshy body, we become concerned with caring for our fleshly obligations. We need earthly food, so we seek means of providing for our earthly needs. This concern with our earthly needs pulls us from our reaching for that eternal rest, because we are distracted by all that seems necessary to maintain our earthly needs.
Remember, Jesus said to take no thought for the cares of this world, because His Father, Who feeds the birds and clothes the fields, is capable of supplying our needs, if we only exercise that faith. Yet how many among us do not have such a faith that we worry about waking up in time to go to work, because we ‘know we need money’ to pay for our daily needs, etc? So it is plain to see that those of us who are saved are not yet completely saved, as we are still attached to the drudgeries of this fleshly life. Then in the drudgeries of this daily life, we seek some earthly rewards and pleasures to placate the desires of this earthly flesh.
Paul explains this more fully in chapter 7 of Romans. In our minds and hearts, we seek to serve the Lord, yet in this fleshly body, we find at work the laws of the flesh. So, for those who are the children of God, as we strive to follow the Lord with our hearts and minds, we would still not be found innocent of violating God’s law in the flesh, except that His grace, mercy, and love for us recognizes our shortcomings and covers us with His love, even though we fail to be all the perfection He desires us to become. But we will not become all that we are intended to be until we “see Him face to face as He is,” as John expresses it. So in this flesh we will continue to fall to this flesh, though we strive to escape its pull, but in the flesh, we are still subject to the law of the flesh that pulls us to these earthly concerns.
This is why Paul said in chapter 7, “Oh, wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Then he exults in his faith that his Lord Jesus Christ will deliver him, though he recognizes that he is not yet fully delivered. This is what is referred to as living in that ‘hope’ (that fervent expectation) of salvation. We are ‘saved’ already, in the sense that it is our ‘faith’ that makes us ‘right’ in the eyes of our Creator, but we have not been fully ‘saved’ (fully delivered) from this earthly existence to that glorious ‘hope’ that awaits us.