Aloha Friday Message – February 10, 2017 – The Law and Then Some

1706AFC021017 – The Law and Then Some

Isaiah 64:4 From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,those who
who works for those who wait for him.

1 Corinthians 2:9-11 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God.

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you!

Before I start this one off, I want to share with you an excellent insight passed on from a longtime friend, brother, mentor, and Bible coach – Rev. John K: John pointed out something I omitted in my discussion of repentance in previous messages. I stated, “In previous posts we have looked at the word repentance. You may recall it means “to turn around.” Jesus and John the Baptist used the word μετάνοια, – metanoia {met-an’-oy-ah}. It is a change of heart, a change of mind, or a change of direction as in a one-eighty turn. A closely-related word is μετανοέω – metanoéō {met-an-o-eh’-o}. John pointed out – quite rightly – that μετάνοια, – metanoia is a change not only in heart and mind but also (and most importantly) a change in actions and behavior. Thanks, John. That’s in important point, and I am happy you shared it with me. Now, onwards to today’s post.

Aloha pumehana, ʻŌmea. May the Peace of God in our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you through the actions of the Holy Spirit. Do you want to be a saint, just an ordinary servant of God in his Heavenly kingdom? Are you ready? Do you want to go to Heaven? Are you prepared to die? How’s that “good and faithful servant” kind of life going for you?

Yeah, me too.

I plan to go to Heaven pretty soon – comparatively speaking. I’m not trying to rush it, you know, but I do contemplate what I might expect. Isaiah’s statement is from that amazing chapter in that book of the Bible that speaks of the potter and the clay, and laments that all our righteous deeds are like an unclean rag – worthless and filled with defilement. Isaiah – and with him Israel – expresses grief for failing to listen to and obey God. The chapter begins with an expressed hope that God would return to the world at large and Israel in particular and set things aright with mighty deeds and awesome power. At that time, indeed no one had any clear idea of what God had in store for their future. It was beyond human understanding. The Apostle Paul takes the wrapping off that mystery. Look again at verse 10. He says that the things God has prepared for those who love him are revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. Mere human knowledge won’t get us the information, nor will it get us to heaven, either.

Just how does one get to heaven? If we had asked Moses, or David, or many of the other prophets, they would have pointed to fulfilling the Law. Time and again Israel heard that if they would only obey the Law, God would make them great, God would save them, and eventually – with Isaiah, Amos, Hosea – the prophets began to describe a better future than just the shadowy depths of Sheol. The idea of an afterlife has been around for a long, long time. In Judeo-Christian traditions it flowered into something along the line of a new or renewed Eden. Nonetheless, the path that led to that better life was the Law. That is, until Jesus showed us what the Kingdom is really like. Israel strove to “keep the Law,” but still recognized that sin just didn’t go away despite constant sacrifices, prayers, ablutions, and rituals. Sin was always there because the Law was always there. So what changed – or what didn’t change?

Well, for one thing, what didn’t change was the Law. It’s still there even now. God told Israel that he wanted them to be Holy in Leviticus 11:45 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; you shall be holy, for I am holy. Jesus’ carried that forward to his Disciples as well when he said in Matthew 5:48 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Here we see a word we’ve come across before: teleioi – from teleios – the consummated goal of completion and fulfillment of every goal and requirement of every form of integrity and virtue. Previously we looked at this root word as associated with “Paid In Full,” tetelestai. (← Check it out!) Easier said than done, eh? I’m a sinner. I can’t be perfect! Oh, really?

What about Romans 6:23? Remember what Paul said? He told us that the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Since Eternal Life happens in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is in Heaven, and in Heaven “nothing unclean will enter it” (Revelation 21:27), we’re going to have to be perfect to get there, right? Yes, that is right! By now, we have probably realized that we cannot do that on our own; perfection will always elude every effort we put towards achieving it. But “nothing is impossible with God.” The Apostle Peter had some pretty wise words about how to achieve this perfection: 1 Peter 1:13-16 13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” In and through Christ, then, we can approach the Law with confidence. Gather up your Bible and open it to Matthew, chapter 5 (← Check it out!). That’s where the Beatitudes (or “Be-Attitudes”) can be found. Go ahead; I’ll wait until you find it. Now, look for verse 17. Ready?

YOUhaveHearItSaid

 

Jesus says he’s not going to abolish the law, so it’s still there – all of it – right down to the smallest part of the smallest word of the law. If you break the Law or teach others to do that, you get demoted to the lowest place in the Kingdom. Then he starts with the “You have heard it said” quotes. He lists several of the commandments – don’t kill each other, don’t commit adultery, don’t divorce your spouse, don’t bear false witness (take a false oath) – and then he makes each of those even more difficult! If you call your brother or sister a fool or stay angry with them, you are liable for great punishment, even the fires of Gehenna. As for adultery, just a lusting look at another human is equivalent to following through on that intent. Divorce gets similar escalation because Jesus asserts it is a Divinely-fashioned foundation for family, community, nation, and worship. As for oaths, there is no point in “strengthening” one’s assertions with name-dropping. Our “yes” or “no” is sufficient. He commands us not to retaliate, but rather to go beyond what human emotion evokes when we are persecuted. He continues in Matthew 6 with an admonition against creating a false impression of piety, and seeking public recognition for your “prayerful nature and deep spirituality.” When we fast, he wants us to keep it secret instead of making a big show of it. In all things – whether with God or other earthlings – we are to be humble, generous, just and – yep – holy. We just have to remember that God is Holy and we are too when we are in Christ. We get tempted constantly to be “unholy,” but we can also make that one-eighty change in behavior over and over. Why would we do that? We would do that because we love God and want to spend our eternity with him in heaven. Why do we have such a strong desire for that place in Heaven? Because God loved us first and loved us so much that he first built that desire to love him into us, and then provided the one and only way to achieve that love – Jesus. But he still wasn’t done with giving us the Graces to be complete as he is complete. Jesus had something more for us.

Besides fulfilling the Law, besides giving us his Saving Grace, he also gave us a Comforter who will help and guide us, who will be our Advocate who will stand with us against our adversary the Devil, a Paraclete who will testify to our innocence before God. We have the Law and then some to live up to, but we also have the fulfillment of the Law and then some to live on through all the way to Eternal Life. Not all of you will be able to look this one up in your Bibles (but go ahead and read all of Matthew 5 & 6 anyway), but it says a little something about how God looks after us: Sirach 15:20 He has not commanded anyone to be wicked, and he has not given anyone permission to sin. That isn’t a very popular point of view anywhere in the world these days. So many, many people believe that they are not accountable to anyone, especially to rules, or laws, or persons, or even deities they cannot see or understand much less accept. Because of that, they have the right to destroy whatever they choose – property, liberty, and even the lives they cannot value because they have no values. Others believe their zealous accountability makes them capable of judging and eliminating anyone or anything they consider to be a nonbeliever or anything that is inessential to their views. That which is sin and disobedience is knowable as sin and that is why sin can be chosen. That which is perfection and obedience is knowable as righteousness and that is why righteousness can be chosen.

We have Life and Death, blessing and curse, obedience and disobedience, perfection and imperfection laid out before us. Choose Life and these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. Repent and believe the Good News. We can ask the Spirit to help us choose how to act, then how to act on that choice and then know what God has prepared for those who love him.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Share-A-Prayer________________ †
Thank you for your prayers for RP and his wife BP.  She is still in hospice. Her family is gathering together there. Cover them all with your Peace, please.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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