Monthly Archives: March 2017

IN THE WORDS OF JESUS–Part 1493

ON LOVE; PART MCXXXII

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GoodWill IS Love in Action

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FIRST IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENTS: “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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WHAT THEN IS LOVE? 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. While this IS from an older definition of Charity, which IS rendered in the King James Bible from the same Greek word agape which IS generally rendered as Love, we should amend our own definition here to include the idea that in the reality of Love a man will accord to ALL men ALL things that he would accord to himself and to say that Love IS our thoughts and attitude of the equality of ALL men regardless of their outward nature or appearance…that ALL ARE equally children of Our One God

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PLUS THE EVER IMPORTANT AND HIGH IDEAL TAUGHT TO US BY THE CHRIST: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

We ended the last essay with some thoughts on the way that the doctrinal view, the rather superstitious doctrinal view, of Satan, of the devil, of his demons and of hell works against the very Nature of God which IS Love and Truth. How we, as a society and a religion, have gotten here and why we stay here IS certainly a mystery to ALL thinking men, especially those whose focus IS Truly upon God. There IS an answer here that IS veiled in the words of the Apostle Paul but NOT so veiled as that it CAN NOT be seen and understood by any who choose to look away from their own nurturing and indoctrination.

We leave today our study of the thirteenth chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans after bringing back two points. The first IS the opening thought of this chapter which in its context points us to the idea that we should, as men in this world, subject ourselves to the rule of law while understanding that to conform to such rule IS our conformance to the moral code of our society. While some may believe that these words ARE speaking about the church and its hierarchy and its rules, the reality IS that these words concern ONLY the civil law and the hierarchy by which this IS enforced. We should remember that at the foundation of the Jewish state it IS the law of Moses that served as both the religious and the social codes.

This moral code IS “the higher powers” from the perspective of the world and it IS to these the the lives of men ARE subject. Paul uses here the Greek word psuche which IS alternately rendered as Soul and as Life and here, if we can see this as Life, we can better understand his point. While men may think then that such civil and moral code IS “ordained of God” in the common understanding of this idea, the reality IS tied to the apostle’s earlier words that lay out for us the vanity and the “bondage of corruption” that IS Life in this world. This vanity IS also the veil that Paul puts before us as that which obnubilates the Truth and it IS this vanity that men have elevated to a most personal level in their doctrinal ideas of Satan, of the devil, of his demons and of hell.

If we can understand that “the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same” (Romans 8:20, 21) shows us the Plan of God as it relates to this world, we can then see how that what IS under this corruption IS “ordained of God“. And so we should live by the moral code and, while DOING so we should see the second point of the apostle’s words saying that we should “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law“.

And this Jesus DID also; He caused NO revolt against the Roman rule under which the Jews lived and Paul the same as he was subjected to the pressures of the law of the day which both imprisoned him and gave him a larger voice. And Paul condescends to the law in his encounter with the high priest which we read as: “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people” (Acts 23:1-5).

This IS the apostle’s teaching: that we should live by the moral code and, while DOING so we should express Love. It IS to these ideas that men should “awake out of sleep” and that they should “cast off the works of darkness“, which works ARE men’s failure to Love. These simple ideas ARE NOT seen as  the apostle intended and we should try to see here that while there IS revolt and strife and the failure of society’s moral agendas, while there ARE wars and the mistreatment of men by others who see themselves superior, there IS NONE of this in the heart of the man whose focus IS Truly upon the Lord. Repeating the apostle’s words one last time we read:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:1:14).

In the end it IS Paul’s admonition that we “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” that separates the man whose focus IS on the Lord from the man whose focus IS on the things of the flesh and here we should understand that the latter IS ALL men who hold their doctrines, be they religious or secular, above the Truth. And this IS the ONLY separation: on the one side IS the man whose focus IS upon the Truth and the Way to attain that Truth which the Master clearly states for us and here we should see that the man who Truly strives to maintain that focus IS the man who by measure will attain that Truth. On the other side IS ALL others whose lives ARE grounded in the things of this world. It IS this focus that IS the reality of our trifecta which we repeat again; the Master says:

  • “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32).
  • “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
  • “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:21-24).

In striving to keep His words one will find the highest Power, spiritual Power to be sure, and it IS in this that one can come to understand his brother and his brother’s attachment and attraction to his Life in this world; it IS this understanding that IS the epitome of Love, of agape as the Master teaches us. And what IS this Power? Simply put it IS the results of the trifecta; it IS the Truth that frees us from the “bondage of corruption“; it IS the Presence of God in one’s Life, a Presence that IS ONLY measurable by one’s expression of Love without “respect to persons” (James 2:9); and this Power IS that state of being in His Kingdom, apart from the world, while still in this world.

This IS the reality of the Life of the True disciple of the Lord and then, by measure, the Life of the aspirant. This IS the Life of the apostles that IS painted for us in the story of the Apostle Peter, and this IS the story of Paul. These men ARE NOT unique, they had NO special advantage save for whatsoever spiritual collateral they brought into their lives; as men we, ALL of us, DO NOT KNOW our own measure of this collateral, this innate sense by which we can glimpse the Truth. But we can KNOW if we can see past our own nurturing and indoctrination into the ways of Life here in this world, ways which block out the Light of the Soul which IS ever shining into our hearts.

It IS in the vanity, the mataiotes, that our vision IS lost to the illusion and the glamour of Life; it IS here that our Path IS obscured by the diabolos and the satanas that ARE our own thoughts and attitudes focused upon the self and the things of the self in this world. It IS our own satanas that leads us to renounce the Truth in favor of the lie; it IS our own satanas that offers us worldly power and it IS our own satanas that leads us to our own spiritual death, sometimes despite even our glimpses through the fog of illusion and the mists of the glamour which surrounds us. If we can see these ideas on satanas in relation to the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness, we can likely understand the whole of vanity and how that diabolos and satanas ARE the effect of vanity in the minds and the emotional nature of men. The Apostle Luke shows us the Master’s temptation this way:

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying,It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, a all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him,It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:1-13).

Matthew’s version of this event IS a bit different; first he tells us that Jesus goes into the wildernessto be tempted” and then seemingly implies that the temptation begins after the forty days. Both of these differences however can be attributed to the grammatical additions of “to be” and when in the text which we read as “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said….” (Matthew 4:1-3). While Luke’s words ARE similar in context regarding the appearance of “the devil“, he DOES tell us that Jesus IS tempted for the forty days and if we are to understand the words of the writer of the Book of Hebrews, we should be able to see such ideas of temptation as they ARE intended and NOT according to the fantastical ideas of doctrine.

We read in Hebrews that “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). The writer, who some believe IS the Apostle Paul, uses the idea of the “high priest” in regard to Jesus to show the relationship between the Master and the Old Covenant and we should try to see this ONLY as a convenient approach to the Jews and NOT an actual reality of the Christ. Vincent explains the next ideas for us saying: touched with the feeling (συνπαθῆσαι) Only here and Hebrews 10:34. This is more than knowledge of human infirmity. It is feeling it by reason of a common experience with (σύν) men. Infirmities (ἀσθενείαις) Not sufferings, but weaknesses, moral and physical, which predispose to sin and facilitate it 4.

In this we should see that Jesus, the man, had the common experience of temptation with ALL men and that He was able to resist “in all points“; and it IS with this idea that we should understand the Master’s forty days in the wilderness. We should try to see that even at His weakest point that He was able to overcome the vanity, the illusion and the glamour, the satanas and the diabolos, and remain focused upon the things of God. To take these ideas from Matthew and Luke in a literal way DOES naught for our understanding of the complex nature of the man Jesus and the complex possibilities for us ALL.

It IS the vanity that ALL men must overcome. Jesus came among us with the unique ability to DO so and even He seems to have had to prove Himself….to Himself. In the Life of Peter this unique ability IS developed over the course of his apprenticeship with the Master and IS perfected after Jesus’ death and resurrection. In the Life of Paul this unique ability IS also developed and for him through the strength of his own Repentance and his own Transformation from the religious man following his doctrines to the religious man following the Truth.

Paul tells us that “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” and if we can see this both individually and corporately we can then understand our own possibilities through our own Repentance and our own Transformation as we too ARE then “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body”  (Romans 8:21, 23). It IS this “bondage of corruption” that IS our vanity and it IS this that IS our illusion and our glamour….and it IS this that spawns our own individual satanas and diabolos.

It IS in the minds of men that such ideas as Satan and devils and demons originate and this perhaps to compensate in some way for the most natural ways of men whose focus IS upon the self and the things of the self in this world. With this idea we begin a new study in Paul’s writings, a repetition of some parts, in the Eighth Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. We begin with the first part which IS a continuation of the apostle’s thoughts from his own wrangling over his own nature and here we should KNOW that this IS NOT a nature of sin as doctrines paint it but sin as one’s error of focus; we read:

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” (Romans 8:1-10).

Perhaps the biggest doctrinal problem for many Christians IS the idea that they ARE, by way of their doctrinal approach to the Lord, among those of whom Paul says have “no condemnation“, that they ARE “in Christ Jesus“. It IS these that believe that they “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit“. And perhaps the largest doctrinal idea that leads to one’s assumption that they ARE such IS that they also believe that they ARE in accord with “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” through their misunderstanding and misapplication of “the law of sin and death“.

The apostle’s point in this ALL, in this idea of faith versus works, IS NOT any different than the Master’s which IS that the law, the reality of keeping His words, CAN NOT be merely rote but that it must spring from the heart and thereby from agape. Paul IS showing us, and rather clearly at times, that it IS the focus of a man’s thoughts and attitudes that IS the difference between walking “after the flesh” and walking “after the Spirit“. Both ARE works from a religious perspective; the first IS assuming that by such DOING of the tenets of the law that one IS ‘saved’ while the other relies upon KNOWING some measure of the Truth by which “the law might be fulfilled“.

This Truth IS agape and this agape IS the ONLY Way of righteousness. This Paul tells us emphatically in his words earlier in this epistle as he say “he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” and here IS the rub; millions believe that they DO express agape through their wars and their conflicts, their hatreds and their prejudices, their factions and divisive thoughts and attitudes of self devotion and ALL the wrongs that men continually inflict upon their brothers. The Apostle James tells us of these thoughts and attitudes saying: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:6-10).

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.

This is the Prayer of Saint Francis which we repeat from a previous post as our Quote of the Day. We should see in his words the same ideas that Paul presents in our selection from Romans above.  If we were all to accept these ideas as guiding Lights in our lives, we would be expressing the Love and the Faith that the Master teaches. The prayer is attributed to the 13th-century saint Francis of Assisi, although the prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912*. Regardless of the True authorship, the sentiments revealed in this prayer are genuine and are in keeping the intent of the teachings of the Master and His apostles. We should note here that the dying is not the death of the body as doctrines dictate but the death of the carnal man in the world when one is Truly “born again“. In this context we read this about Saint Francis: Francis was the son of a wealthy foreign cloth merchant in Assisi, and he lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier for Assisi. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life**. Here is the antithesis of the rich young man of the gospels. While he may not have authored this prayer, many do attribute it to him and in reading about his Life one can easily see these ideas in his heart.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

This is a prayer that is Truly in line with the teachings of the Master and the ideals encapsulated in this should be those that govern our lives and our prayer should be that ALL can see Life in this same way. The ideas contained in this prayer should show us the True nature of prayer and understand that whensoever Jesus tells us that we can have whatsoever we ask for, His intent IS that we ask for such things as these and NOT the carnal things of men.

Additional background information on Saint Francis of Assisi can be found in a rather lengthy article in the Catholic Encyclopedia; a link to this is provided below.

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts

  • 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition, 1888
  • **Wikipedia contributors. “Francis of Assisi.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 24 Jan. 2013

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