Love is the Fulfilling of the Law
ON GOD; Part CLXXX
GoodWill IS Love in Action
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:1-13).
We have reached a statement that encompasses ALL that we have been dealing with for quite some time regarding these ideas of discipleship; this statement by the Apostle Paul cuts to the heart of the matter showing to whom he is writing by inclusion in his words. He says “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit“. Simply put this is the division between those that serve God and those that serve mammon and we must remember that in the Master’s words a man can not serve both. While the Master tells us of the results of trying to live on both sides of this equation we must be able to see the relative futility in His words regarding how one will be toward each side and the finality is to be found in that last line which we covered in some detail in In the Words of Jesus part 388 and which we have covered much elsewhere as well. Jesus’ saying and the last line are: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13) with the difference between the translated versions being in Luke’s use of the word servant in place of man.
In this should be our understanding of the idea of sin as we should be able to clearly see the relationship here to Paul’s use of the word flesh and which he yet further explains as we move on through this text. Paul is clearly pointing out the difference in the Life of the man who attends to the things of the world, the flesh or mammon, against he who attends to the things of the Spirit, the things of God. Now to the benefit of us who consider ourselves as aspirants to the High Calling of discipleship we should add here again that it is by the Plan of God that we are thrust into and “made subject to vanity” (Romans 8:20), which is the ways of the world, from which we must escape or rather must come to be able to say with the Master that “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). There is nothing essentially evil in this although, as we discussed in the last post, there are degrees and there is depth to one’s involvement in the world of things and this can be seen in how much attention one’s Life in the world requires; how much is one’s self-centered attitude to Life, how much is the greed and avarice, etc.; and these are measured against how much is the Love that one expresses and how much one’s Life is centered on the Christ Within. This does not detract from the Master’s words as we repeat them above but rather confirms them as we who have sensed the duality well KNOW. Until one can consciously register the call of the Soul, the Christ Within, this duality does not exist; a man is in the world and he believes that this IS his Life and where he belongs, he is serving ONE master and his Life’s conduct is related to his responses to the ways of the world, the vanity which we see as the illusion and the glamour of it all. At some inevitable point in the long journey of the Soul through Life in form, the Soul’s prompting will be registered and the man will begin to sense the duality of Life and it is here that the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit begins; this is, as we said, a matter of degree and of the depth of the man’s involvement with either side. This can range:
- From the same or similar attitudes as the man who has not sensed these promptings of his Christ Within, and this can be for a variety of reasons; because the man ignores them, because he is confused by them and finds no Truth, or because he consciously chooses the pleasures of the world of men to name but a few.
- To the sense of duality which is common among men who have been awakened by the pangs of conscience; they try to share their lives between the acknowledgment of this conscience and their understanding of Life in the world of men; they strive more toward the world than toward the Lord and if religion should enter into the equation they will go to church as a part of this shared Life.
- To the sense of duality as it effects the aspirant where the pangs of conscience are replaced by a desire or even a need to follow in the ways of the Lord. Still in the world and still bound by its rules, they try to better balance the relationship between the flesh and the Spirit and in this religion need not play any part. These men understand the essential nature of Love for ALL and they try to concern themselves with the expression of this Love in what they do.
- To this same sense in the aspirant who comes to the realization that although he is still in the world and bound by its rules, that he need not focus upon those things nor attend to the things of the world. His focus is upon the things of God and what he can do to further the Kingdom in Earth and to foster Love among the sons of men. The world IS and he IS and his interests in the world are turned to better understanding of his brothers and the advancement of the Truth of the Kingdom of God. This is a most difficult place as the realization of the mission is sensed.
- To the level of the disciple of the Master and this is well documented in His words which tell us in essence that a man can no longer focus at all upon the Life of the flesh but only upon the Life of the Christ Within, the Soul. In His words we see this reality as He says: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple…..So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath , he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, 33).
The above is of course but a broad brush approach to this duality in the Life of the man in whom the Inner Life has registered any kind of a conscious response. There are likely as many variations of this as there are people on this planet for this is, from a spiritual perspective, the note of the individuality of each. So sin as the word is intended in the New Testament is not limited to the egregious acts that a man can perpetrate here on the Earth but it is rather ALL things that take a mans attention away from the things of God. The clarity of this word is sorely missing in the thoughts of men and likely because from the beginning the ideas of evil and sin have been locked together by the church and those who do not give proper weight to the teachings of the Master and His apostles on the subject. This reality has in itself caused much harm to the proper understanding of Life in form as sin in not recognized for what it Truly is. Let us look at some ideas on sin as they effect our understanding.
- Modern language interprets sin as: noun 1. transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam. 2. any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle. 3. any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense: It’s a sin to waste time. verb (used without object) 4. to commit a sinful act. 5. to offend against a principle, standard, etc. verb (used with object) 6. to commit or perform sinfully: He sinned his crimes without compunction. 7. to bring, drive, etc., by sinning: He sinned his soul to perdition7.
- Older understandings of the idea of sin from our 1828 and 1913 dictionaries are a bit harsher:
- The 1828 version of Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary tells us: The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God”s commands or law. 1 John 3. Matt. 15. James 4. Sinner neither enjoy the pleasures of nor the peace of piety. Among divines, sin is original or actual. Actual sin, above defined, is the act of a moral agent in violating a known rule of duty. Original sin, as generally understood, is native depravity of heart to the divine will, that corruption of nature of deterioration of the moral character of man, which is supposed to be the effect of Adam”s apostasy; and which manifests itself in moral agents by positive act of disobedience to the divine will, or by the voluntary neglect to comply with the express commands of God, which require that we should love God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This native depravity or alienation of affections from God and his law, is supposed to be what the apostle calls the carnal mind or mindedness, which is enmity against God, and is therefore denominated sin or sinfulness. Unpardonable sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is supposed to be a malicious and obstinate rejection of Christ and the gospel plan of salvation, or a contemptuous resistance made to the influences and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Matt.121.
- The 1913 version of this same work tells us this about sin: 1. Transgression of the law of God; disobedience of the divine command; any violation of God’s will, either in purpose or conduct; moral deficiency in the character; iniquity; as, sins of omission and sins of commission. 2. An offense, in general; a violation of propriety; a misdemeanor;as, asin against good manners. 3. A sin offering; a sacrifice for sin. He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. 2 Cor. v. 21. 4. An embodiment of sin; a very wicked person. [R]1.
- The secular works cited above give us a picture of how doctrine and not the reality of the teachings has pervaded society in this matter. In an unusual twist, as least for us, the normally religiously oriented and doctrinal based lexicon gives us a clearer picture saying of the Greek word hamartia, which is translated as sin, that it means: to be without a share in; to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong; to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin; that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act; collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many2.
- Strong’s gives us a short version that requires one to interpret it on his own by way of understanding what is the Will of God; they say of hamartia: sin, wrongdoing, usually any act contrary to the will and law of God3.
We could go on here to Vine’s but this work is rather wordy and takes both sides of the issue as noted above into account. We should see above that the common idea of sin is not what we are purporting it to be but it is rather that idea of wrongdoing and, from the perspective of the Soul, this can be seen as essentially true. From the perspective of the man in form who does not KNOW or realize the Life of the Inner Man perhaps the secular ideas work well as he would not understand the deeper meanings; this stance is however counterproductive to the proper ideas of what is right and wrong in Spiritual terms. Wrongdoing from the perspective of the Soul is that the form Life is not attending to the things of God but rather to the things of the world and the degree of this is largely determined by the intensity of the worldly feelings and thoughts and how the man uses these. This can range from the hard working, pleasure driven man who gives his all to his career and his family, to the grossest of criminal minds who takes from others what he believes that he requires. In the stark contrast of these ideas we should see that both of these are sin according to the spiritual Truths as spoken by the Master and His apostles and according to the ideas of God and mammon.
Since we have gone so long on this topic let us look at how it is treated in the New Testament away from the understanding implied by doctrine. From the perspective of the idea that sin is the transgression of a commandment of God which of course includes those things that the Master tells us, regardless of whether He may call them such or not, let us look simply at the idea of Love where we KNOW and are clear on what it is that is meant.
- First if we deny that the reality of Love is for ALL our neighbors and our brothers in the widest possible understanding of these terms then we should consider this attitude a sin and one that may qualify as a sin against the Holy Spirit which is as we understand it the activity of the Christ Within in the world.
- Next, if we do not exercise this Love in our relationships with our neighbors and brothers, this is also sin as we are commanded by the Great Commandments to do this and this is reiterated for us by both the Master and His apostles.
- Closer to home, many believe that this Love should be interpreted as that the of Love for one another as spoken by the Master in the Gospel of John where He is speaking to His disciples. These verses are sometimes used by doctrine to paint the Master’s words as only the Love of fellow Christians and at times to the exclusion of the words that we speak of in the above two points. Yes, this Love of one another as believers and disciples is a part of what the Master is telling us but it is not to the exclusion of the rest; in John’s Gospel we should see the discourse on Love is between the Master and His disciples and so the language is such but this does not detract from His words elsewhere. In the real world however how many do really Love their Christian brothers universally….this again would be sin.
Can we understand, from the definitions above and the simple topic of Love, the reality of sin as it effects man in form?
We close here for today and bring our attention to the Quote of the Day which we leave again today and which puts into perspective the reaction of the apostle to the importance of this thing called Love. We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
Note on the Quote of the Day
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:1-13,13 (New King James Version)
Regardless of our daily theme, the underlying theme of our posts and of this entire blog is Love. In these words from Paul we should be able to see the overriding importance of Love in the Life of each of us. This is a common theme throughout the gospels and the other writings of the apostles and a theme that is not nearly understood. In our theme today regarding Paul’s writings to the Romans and in the previous discussions on them we seek to impart the better understanding of the reality of Life, the Life of the True man as the Christ Within, the Soul, as it is from this perspective that we can gain that revelation of Truth and, as Paul says above, be free from the condemnation and the vanity of Life in form, free from the illusion and the glamour. We repeat here what we said about these verses in a prior post:
Today’s Quote of the Day from the Apostle Paul is his testimony to the power of Love. After speaking at length about the gifts of the Spirit that one should desire in order to be of service to the Lord, he says plainly that Love is a more excellent way. Love in the context of these verses is not the sentimental or affectionate kind that we ordinarily think of but rather benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men. This defining of Love is covered in some depth in a previous post; In the Words of Jesus part 47.
- 1 Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1828 and 1913
- 2 New Testament Greek Lexicon on BibleStudyTools.com
- 3 Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – 2001
- 7 Dictionary.com Unabridged based on Random House Dictionary – 2011