Monthly Archives: March 2014

IN THE WORDS OF JESUS–Part 993

ON LOVE; PART DLXXXII

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GoodWill IS Love in Action

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The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

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Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40).

As we continue with our discussion of the words of the Apostle James, we should consider again his audience and his perspective; that he IS writing to those aspirants and disciples that are scattered through the region and that he IS offering guidance and instruction for them to stay the course, that the man would understand the dynamics of his words and understand the ultimate Truth that he must “keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). This IS offered in a series of ideas ranging from temptation to understanding that the things of God ARE NOT found in the world, and then on to the Truth of keeping His words and finally, the most important part, that every man who seeks God must Love. And James takes on the extra idea in this Love, an idea that is parabolically offered by the Master but not clearly seen by men, that this Love MUST be a Universal Love offered freely to ALL men equally and without any observance of who they may be or what their position in the world. James way of telling us these things is parabolic as well and this IS likely done intentionally so as to offer these Truths to the man who can understand and accept them, and, we should note that in James’ choice of Greek words he creates much confusion for the translator and the interpreter and this too IS much like the words of the Master.

The last word that we discussed is mercy and while mercy may mean what they say in English, the intent of the apostle’s use of this word IS NOT that it should be seen as: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them 2, unless these ideas of the miserable and the afflicted are seen from a spiritual perspective; that the man in the world whose focus IS on the world IS miserable in his affliction by the illusion and the glamour from which he must escape. It IS only in one’s being miserable and afflicted by the “works of the flesh“, as the Apostle Paul paints this for us, that this definition can work properly in James’ context as the reality of these works DO keep a man from his realization of God’s Presence. Here we can see the greater reality of James’ intent as these words on mercy and judgment follow upon the idea of this Universal Love, this Love without “respect to persons“, as the activity of the man who seeks God and who understands the Truth of the royal law. And just as the ideas of “fatherless and widows in their affliction”  (James 1:27) precede this and show the idea that these who may have been neglected and slighted in the past CAN NOT be treated so by the True seeker, these words on mercy succeed James’ words on the royal law and show forth the Truth that regardless of the waywardness of any man in the world, that he should be shown mercy and not shown judgment regarding his ways. The wayward man in the world IS as much a brother as IS the fellow Christian or the saint that John Gill sees in this idea of mercy as he says: that is merciful men, who have shown mercy to the poor saints 8, and this IS the reality of James usage of this idea. Here again we should remember that we are speaking about the idea of NO “respect to persons” and that the very idea of separating out the Christian from the rest of the world IS contrary to this True expression of Love.

We can see this in Paul’s words as that this mercy should be shown to those who are of the world and who live wholly or partially in these works of which he says: “the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God“. Here we should try to see the deeper meaning behind these words which we discuss in some detail in In the Words of Jesus parts 750-752. We should understand the apostle’s idea here and James’ idea as well: it IS the man who desires to express the “fruit of the Spirit” as Paul tells us, that must be able to show this mercy, this expression of Love to those whose lives are encumbered by these works of the flesh. This IS of course the Master’s self-proclaimed mission as well as He tells us: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:13) and in this we should see the greater ideas of the Great Commission as it reflects the Truer work of discipleship Life in this world. It is these Truer ideas that are offered by Paul as well as he tells us of the ways of the man whose focus IS on God and the things of God; the man whose expression IS the fruit of the Spirit. And Paul defines this expression for us saying: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:19-22) and here again we should seek the deeper meanings of these words. This IS then James’ intent in speaking of mercy in conjunction with the Truth of the royal law and its application to ALL men as mercy which we should define as simply that: the application of Love to ALL in the world, and this IS DONE by the man who can express the fruit of the Spirit as this man IS the True seeker, the aspirant and the disciple of the Lord. We must remember here that ALL things spiritual come to us by degree.

Next James speaks on faith and works saying:

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:14-20).

We should see this as a continuation of the previous ideas as directed to the man who may believe that to have faith is sufficient and, as we have ventured previously, perhaps to counter the misconceptions of faith as we find in the wrong understanding of Paul’s intent in saying like this from the same place in Galatians where we find the actual doing and not doing of the  fruit of the Spirit versus the “works of the flesh“. Paul says here: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” and, out of their context these words can be seen to say those same ideas that ARE used by doctrine regarding faith. This doctrinal trend IS also found in words like: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). The Christian logic here in these ideas on faith and works is founded in a lack of understanding of the Truth of Life and of Repentance and of the nature of the journey on the Path to God; Paul’s approach has led many to this misunderstanding, most of which IS found in the lack of context in which the individual sayings are viewed. Perhaps the best example is in the ideas from Galatians above and the lead in to the ideas of the “works of the flesh” and the fruit of the Spirit; we read:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:1-18).

The reality of these sayings unfolds from the first verse; Christ has indeed made the disciple free. The disciple and to a lesser degree the aspirant ARE freed in the Truth that the Master espoused and it IS he that should not again be entangled. The ordinary man in the world, religious or not, IS yet entangled if he has NOT DONE what IS necessary for this freedom and this IS that a man keep His words. The apostle goes on to tell men that circumcision, while it may have been an indicator in the past of one’s religious affiliation, IS NO longer such and that this man IS still required to keep His words. It IS for this man that relies on the circumcision and on the letter of the law, to do this and not do that, by rote and by force of the law, that Christ has NO effect. It IS for the man that sees the liberty offered by the Christ, the liberty to freely choose the Path of Love; it IS here that faith, understood as that KNOWING of the Truth of the Kingdom as espoused by the Master and by one’s own Soul, brings a man to righteousness, that same righteousness that Paul yet waits for….the righteousness of God. There IS a great reality here but it IS NOT one that says that a man should NOT work our his own salvation but rather to understand that it IS in Love that ALL righteousness exists. Speaking to these disciples who have followed the Ways of the Master IS the apostle’s commendation that they ran well and were unhindered and they are reminded that they were not persuaded to “obey the truth” by the Master but by the Power of the Love in their own hearts where we find the Truth of the leaven; that that inkling of Love creates a man of Love. Next the apostle reminds them to stand, to stand against any that may speak or act against him and we should remember the Master’s words “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:36). Here we should see not so much persecution as disagreement with the chosen Path.

The apostle goes on to tell the disciples that they should not teach circumcision and the law as the way to God but they should teach the law of liberty as James phrases this; the royal law. We should pay special note here to the Paul’s caution that they “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh“, that is that they do naught for personal gain but that they should “by love serve one another“. Then, in perhaps some of the most important sayings in the entirety of the New Testament the apostle says that great Truth, that ALL is accomplished in this Love, that the new reality IS that ALL the law IS kept through “faith which worketh by love“. This IS the Truth of the new dispensation, the realization that “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“. This IS the ultimate reality of Paul’s words that are interpreted to be against works; he DOES NOT speak against keeping His words, he speaks for DOING as does James who holds out the royal law as that one thing that the DOER must DO. Both Paul and James say the same thing in the end; that the expression of Love, Universal Love to ALL men, IS the accomplishment of ALL the law and this without ever thinking about the individual aspects of the law. This is perhaps the greater meaning of Paul’s use of this idea of circumcision here, not only as the physical indicator of religious affiliation with the Jews but as the attentive attitude to the details of the law which in the end DOES NOT move ones focus to God. And this IS the point of walking in the Spirit, that one will walk in the Love that IS God and that steams forth from the Inner man, and, so long as one walks in this Love, the “the lust of the flesh” holds no more power. This lust becomes as James idea of temptation and the reality of James words “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 112) becomes the reality of the man.

ALL of this builds up to the last words that “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” and it IS when these words are removed from the context that they take on the doctrinal meaning which IS shattered by an honest look at the Truth of the entire segment of Paul’s words. It IS “faith which worketh by love” that IS the reality here; it IS in this sense of KNOWING that comes to a man who keeps the words of the Master by way of his expression of Love to All that encompasses ALL the law. It IS this “faith which worketh by love” that enables the man to be the disciple and to be Truly “led by the Spirit” and it IS in this state of realization that a man keeps ALL the law, not because he is “under the law” but because he is BEYOND the law; in this state of KNOWING there IS NO thing that a man would do that is contrary to his expression of Love for ALL. Universal Love covers ALL of the law from the perspective of the Great Commandments and the Golden Rule.

While this may not have been the words of Paul that are most cited in regard to the matters from James Epistle on faith and works, this does contain most ALL of the points of contention that are held by doctrine that has come to say that a man can just believe and have faith and then he IS saved. James’ words of course seem to contradict Paul’s but this is the error of doctrine; Paul and James DO say the same basic message which we can see in our ideas above and which we will try to make clearer as we proceed. The ultimate Truth IS in the reality of Love and that in the expression of this royal law ALL things are accomplished; the missing Truth of doctrine IS this whole idea of Love and the understanding that in this Love a man will DO ALL things righteous, DO ALL things that are in the law, but he will do them without thought and without effort; this is the greater Truth and Paul’s intended message.

We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.

Aspect of God

Potency

Aspect of Man

In Relation to the Great Invocation

In relation to the Christ

GOD, The Father

Will or Power

Spirit or Life

Center where the Will of God IS KNOWN

Life

Son, The Christ

Love and Wisdom

Soul or Christ Within

Heart of God

Truth

Holy Spirit

Light or Activity

Life Within

Mind of God

Way

Note on the Quote of the Day

This daily blog also has a Quote of the Day which may not be in any way related to the essay. Many of these will be from the Bible and some just prayers or meditations that may have an influence on you and are in line with the subject matter of this blog. As the quote will change daily and will not store with the post, it is repeated in this section with the book reference and comment.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful (Colossians 3:12-15).

In this Quote of the Day we find the Apostle Paul speaking to the followers and believers at Colosse and instructing them in how it is that they should act and be. These are the virtues which establish the ways of disciples of the Master. We note here that Paul tells us the importance of Love which is translated here as Charity but which we know from previous posts is from the same Greek word as Love. We should see also that it is the same Love that we defined as a combination of our English definitions of both words, Love and Charity:

In a general sense love is 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. Plus the ever important High Ideal as taught by the Christ: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

Paul ends this with what comes naturally when we are in the Presence of the Master and this is to be in His Peace; as we seek and we strive toward Him we should notice the aura of Peace that overcomes us and in that Peace we find all of the virtues enumerated above.

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts!

  • 2 New Testament Greek Lexicon on BibleStudyTools.com
  • 8 Bible commentaries on BibleStudyTools.com

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