Monthly Archives: September 2018

IN THE WORDS OF JESUS–Part 1627

ON LOVE; PART MCCLXVI

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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 doctrines of men have evolved. Our point IS to show that the various doctrines of atonement and salvation through grace alone ARE the product of men whose vision was limited by their own sense of vanity….the illusion and the glamour that clouded the personalities of those we call the church fathers and the generations of men that have assumed doctrinal authority since. Since the apostles, most ALL men ARE seeing spiritual ideas through carnal eyes and this IS the same fault for which the Master rails against the Jews doctrinal leaders. The Twelve Apostles and the few that successfully overcame their carnal instincts, Paul, Stephen and Phillip, of whom we read in the Book of Acts, as well as Barnabas, John Mark, Silas, Timothy and other direct followers of the Apostle Paul carried forward the Truth which was rather quickly diminished by the minds of men who DID NOT see the fullness of that Truth

While we DO KNOW and understand the ‘apostleship’ of Paul, Stephen and Phillip based upon the Apostle Luke’s writings, we ARE NOT as KNOWING regarding the others or their contemporaries and those that followed them. We DO KNOW ONLY what Paul tells us of his followers and, to be sure, some of the misunderstanding of the apostles’ True messages DOES begin early on; this we can see in Paul’s words to “another gospel“. Paul writes to the Galatians that “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:5-6) and it IS in such ideas that we should try to see the beginnings of the doctrines of men.

Paul shows us a similar thought in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians where we read that “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him“. Language DOES NOT allow for a more direct rendering of the apostle’s ideas here, the point, as taken from other translations, seems to be that these Corinthians will:  gladly endure these false teachers 4 as Vincent frames this. Paul goes on to speak of his own nature as an apostle saying that “truth of Christ is in me” which IS, among other things, to help convince them of his direct relationship and then ends this subject saying of those who teach “another gospel” that “such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ”  (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 5, 13).

We should try to see that these ideas of “another gospel” become as it were the True gospel in the minds of many and that “the simplicity that is in Christ” IS lost to the machinations of men whose “another gospel” IS better suited to the ability of men to be men while assuming some ‘religious’ comfort. To be sure the Apostle Paul DOES teach ONLY the Truth of the Master’s own words and example and across his many letters he tries to soften the blow of religion by his many words, words which ARE specifically detailed to the different groups to whom he writes. And while Paul’s many words ARE intended to clarify and amplify the Master’s own Truth, they have become subject to misinterpretation and misapplication; they themselves had evolved into “another gospel” and we should be able to glimpse this from his words to the Galatians saying “another gospel: Which is not another“.

In the idea that this “another gospel….is not another” we should try to see that while this IS based upon the same fundamental Truths, the Life and the teachings of the Master, the doctrinal Truth has drifted in ways that “pervert the gospel of Christ“. We should note here that the idea of pervert IS NOT likely the apostle’s intent which IS better seen in terms of change….that this “another gospel: Which is not another” changes and transforms the Truth into but a shadow of it if we can use that idea here. The Greek word here IS metastrepho which has a literal meaning of: to turn across 9a according to Strong’s and to turn about, turn around 9 according to Thayer’s.

Our idea here should be clear: while the apostles teach the Truth of the Master’s words and example, there ARE others that follow who teach a more human version and this based in some of the same ideas that the apostles themselves had to face with the Jewish converts insisting that the new religion include aspects of the old such as circumcision. We read that Paul and Barnabas should “go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question” and perhaps it IS here that the first compromise is reached among men regarding the more spiritual issues which ONLY detract from “the simplicity that is in Christ“. Perhaps from Paul’s perspective he comes out the winner as among the elders IS James who IS thought to be the brother of Jesus. James concludes this question saying:

Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood” (Acts 15:13-20).

Perhaps here we see James’ Wisdom which IS NOT unlike Peter’s experience where he “saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air” (Acts 10:11-12). Peter’s vision changes his heart concerning those who ARE NOT Jews; his revelation and realization cause him to say “ God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean” and finally that “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:28, 34-35).

James’ words here ARE perhaps the first doctrinal pronouncements and the first compromise between opposing camps and, to be sure, this trend continues into other areas of disagreement. We should note as well that this IS NOT in True accord with the words of Jesus and while we may seek to give the apostles the benefit of their spiritual intent, we should at the same time understand that these ideas ARE developed by men. Again, we should try to see that the apostles ARE first and foremost the closest to the Truth of the Master’s words and actions and that their sense of compromise simply brings the greater Truth nearer to the people who ARE seeking that Truth. However, as time goes on and as we read in Paul’s words on “another gospel“, we should should be able to see how that there IS a steady drift away from the apostles’ sense of compromise that IS most apparent in the writings of the church fathers beginning with Clement of Rome whose only remnant IS an epistle calling for harmony.

After this we have a series of other church authorities beginning with Ignatius of Antioch who have left their writings, some of which ARE in dispute, and it IS here that we can see the beginnings of the political church which, from the outset, IS a far cry from “the simplicity that is in Christ“. We should understand here that it IS their sense of the church and their establishment of the rites and rituals that largely define Christianity yet today; it IS their doctrinal approach to the Lord that takes the simple sense of compromise from James, Peter and Paul and injects it with an ever increasing sense of self rather that a sense of the Truth that the Christ brought to men. We should understand as well that the Truth that was to become the basis for the Christian religion IS still intact and available to ALL who choose to look past their doctrines and into “the perfect law of liberty“.

It IS this same James who tells us “whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25) but these words which clarify the Master’s own words ARE left idle as those who took authority for the spiritual lives of the masses saw their role as instituting their doctrinal views rather than the Truth. And this continues to this day as the Truth IS obnubilated by the doctrinal approach to the Lord which millions cling to as they ARE indoctrinated into the idea that the church has the Truth….this despite the many versions of church Truth in the world today. Again, there IS NO malice intended by the vast majority of those who have assumed authority and this IS True of the early church fathers as well as the pastor, the priests,and the bishops of today.

We should try to see here also how that the Truth of religion has always had a political effect in a way where the politics of the time and place effect the way of religion while the religions of a time and a place effect the politics. It IS in this intermingling of religion and politics that much of the Truth IS lost and a close look will likely reveal to ALL that it IS politics that has ever been the winner over the most simple Truths of the Great Commandments. This brings us back to the way that the church IS ever seeking ways to deflect from their responsibility while maintaining the appearance of preaching and teaching the people. What deflects from the Truth? The various teachings on atonement and salvation ARE the prime movers that deflect men’s attention off of the Truth of the Master’s words but in today’s world we should note as well the church’s obsession on eschatological matters as well as their fixated focus upon such ideas as abortion and gay relationships.

Can we see “another gospel” in these things of which one modern day pastor says: ‘that is why I’m so concerned, about those that say so much—about what God says so little, while saying so little—about what God says so much. And so in my heart, I’m troubled. And I’m worried about the way faith is cynically used by some to serve hate, fear, racism and greed‘. Reverend Doctor William Barber IS NOT the ONLY one telling this Truth regarding those things that deflect the minds of men away from the central New Testament message of Love but such men ARE few in number compared the the many others who actively say so much—about what God says so little, while saying so little—about what God says so much.

Perhaps there have always been social issues that serve to motivate the doctrinal church, issues that were used as a way to encourage participation while NOT focusing upon the most basic Truths from the Master’s words….perhaps there IS always something happening that will cause the church to rally support for or against. Today it IS abortion and gay rights that consume the doctrinal thinkers minds, but we should NOT forget the church position on the constant state of war which IS exemplified during the Vietnam War and the more recent skirmishes between the ‘Christian’ and the Muslim nations. During the former the church position seemed in favor of taking the fight to the ‘enemy’ and this despite the lessons NOT learned from the Korean conflict which preceded it. During the latter the common hatred of Christians toward Muslims IS allowed to flourish with little push back by most of the church and this has now seeped into the protectionist attitudes that more and more countries ARE adopting.

We DO NOT often speak on such social issues and today’s thoughts ARE ONLY cited to show the lack of focus upon the things of God and how that most ALL ‘Christian’ positions on such social issues DO NOT include the words and ideas of the Master and His apostles. In the way of abortion they cite ONLY their own carnal feelings that to kill a fetus IS murder and this regardless of its viability; there IS NO sense of Love in their quest to ban abortion legally and have the world resort to backroom and alley procedures that accomplish the same at far greater risk to the mother who, for the most part, can see NO future for the child or herself. Their quest for their religious belief has always forbidden even birth control in some parts of the church and today most ALL ARE even against medications that will prevent a pregnancy after the fact. DO they believe that the unfertilized egg or the sperm that fertilizes it ARE already children?

There IS naught regarding abortion in the Bible save for a few out of context verses that ARE used by the doctrinal thinker to support their position. To be sure, abortion IS NOT a good thing but, from the standpoint of the Life of the mother and the future of the child, it IS seen as necessary for a wide variety of reasons. The most basic problem IS that the church has been so ingrained in their beliefs that change IS near impossible; for some it IS their singular ‘religious’ focus. And for many their beliefs and actions regarding the subject of abortion ARE hypocritically called pro Life as so much of their other doctrinal leanings ARE NOT so. Again we should try to see how that the church practice of say(ing) so much—about what God says so little, while saying so little—about what God says so much has taken the doctrinal church down a road the leads ONLY to greater and greater carnal focus rather than what it IS that should be their spiritual mission….Truly following Christ.

ALL of this IS “another gospel“, ALL of this IS the carnal leanings of men seeking to control some aspect of the carnal world rather than letting the spiritual Light of Truth shine through their hearts and minds; ALL of this IS but men’s endeavor to control Life in such a way that they ARE convinced of themselves that they ARE on a spiritual Path. This IS the deception that the apostle tell us of and James IS NOT alone in this albeit his words are much clearer and much bolder than ARE those of the other apostles. Again, while the intent of the doctrinal progression of Christianity may NOT be to pull further away from the Truth, their teachings on so many things DO serve to detract from “the simplicity that is in Christ“. This simplicity IS Jesus singular NEW commandment….that men should express Love as agape which flows ONLY from the Soul.

Our point here IS simply that in “the simplicity that is in Christ” there IS but one factor whihc IS agape as the expression of the man who Truly seeks the Lord. This IS Jesus’ overriding message as He shows us the Great Commandments and teaches us that we should “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you“. There ARE NO conditions in this statement, there IS ONLY the singular idea of agape as one’s expression to everyman. This idea IS easy to understand but it IS most difficult to accomplish and it IS in this light that the doctrines of men have painted the commandments of the Lord as impossible. And the Master goes on to show us that it IS this expression of Love that IS the KEY to one’s True relationship with God; Jesus says that it IS  this expression of Truth and Love which enable men to “be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45).

Here, if we connect Jesus’ words together we can then see that the reality of the reward IS the reality of being His children and that everyman’s part in this IS agape; the Master goes on to say “if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” (Matthew 5:46). These words ARE directly tied to the idea of “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” and NOT that one should Love the unloved as some believe. Jesus’ words here, as in so many of His sayings, ARE arranged to allow the hearer to discern His meaning and we should note here that few Truly DO. In the first saying we should see that we should Love everyman with NO “respect to persons” and if we can see this as putting ALL carnal behaviors of others aside and seeing ONLY the spiritual man, the Soul, we can then understand the rest of His message.

The Apostle James clarifies the Master’s point and amplifies it greatly saying that “if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:9). It IS in one’s ability to have NO “respect to persons“, even those who ARE one’s enemies, those “that curse you“, “them that hate you” and “them which despitefully use you, and persecute you“, that makes that man to “be the children of your Father“….to attain that reward. Doctrines however have bypassed this Truth from Jesus’ words to allow their more convenient Truth which IS based in their affirmations and confessions according to Paul’s words or their participation in the rites and ceremonies of the church. In example we go to the writing of John Gill who in his Exposition of the Bible tells us these things:

  • On the idea of “Love your enemies” Mr. Gill says: all men, even enemies, are to be loved with a natural love, as men; though they cannot be loved with a spiritual affection, as brethren in Christ: and in natural affection there are degrees, according to the relation and circumstances that persons stand in to one another 8. This idea of Love IS NOT the reality of agape and especially NOT such Love with NO “respect to persons“. The very idea of agape IS spiritual and the idea of affection has naught to DO with this highest sense of Love.
  • On the idea that it IS in this expression of agape that men can “be the children of your Father” Mr. Gill says: Not that any became the children of God, by doing things in imitation of him: for as in nature no man becomes the son of another by imitating him, or by doing the things he does but either by birth, or by adoption; so in grace no man becomes a child of God by the works he does, as a follower of God, but by adopting grace; and which is discovered in regeneration 8. Mr. Gills words here ARE in direct contradiction to Jesus’ own and her again we should note that the ending part of this saying we ARE shown that we should be as the Father….again with NO “respect to persons“.
  • Finally on the idea of the reward Mr. Gill writes: That is, if ye only love such that love you; for that such who love should be loved again, is both natural and just: our Lord’s meaning is not, that ye ought not to love them that love you, but that these should not be the only objects of your love; for should this be the case, what reward have ye? or “shall ye have?” Do you deserve any thanks for your love now? none at all, it is what you are obliged to by your friend’s love to you. Do you expect any hereafter with God? if you do, you will be mistaken; you have your reward with men, who have loved you as much as you have done them, and therefore none can be due to you, either from God or men 8. Here Mr. Gill reduces the idea of reward to thanks as this IS rendered from Luke’s version from the Greek word charis which should always be understood as grace.

ALL of this totally misses the greater Truth that the Master IS imparting and we should try to see that it misses this Truth through thoughts and ideas that ARE based in the doctrinal view which IS in turn based in their interpretations of the words of Paul. The simple basic Truths, “the simplicity that is in Christ“, ARE set aside for a combination of a lack of True understanding and the proclivity of men to allow for their more convenient Truth which DOES NOT impinge upon the ability of men to be men as they see this idea according to the world. Here we come back to Paul’s words which the Christian doctrinal thinker believes that he has accomplished, Paul tells us to “be not conformed to this world” and if we can see that this IS the very sacrifice that he references, we can then better understand the way that these ideas clarify and amplify Jesus’ own.

As Jesus tells us to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you“, which idea comes squarely under the Great Commandment that “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“, we should most easily see that this idea IS contrary to the ideas of men….the ideas of men who ARE “conformed to this world“. This sense of Love IS NOT possible unless one can begin to free himself from his own personality which IS grounded in the vanity to which ALL ARE subjected; it IS this vanity, this sense of illusion and glamour, that leads men to be so deceived that they CAN NOT even see the greater Truth which Jesus speaks.

We could enter here into a circular idea which tells us that to free oneself one must “continue in my word” as Jesus tells us; in so DOING one “shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free“. Then, from the revelation and realization that flow in this KNOWING one can come to understand the Truth of agape and free himself from his own personality which IS grounded in the vanity. Perhaps it IS these circular ideas that prevent men from trying, trying which we should in Jesus’ term of striving as He tells us to “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). Striving should connote for us the idea of a more gradual move toward our goal; a goal which IS embedded in our trifecta which we repeat here again; we read:

  • 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).

We should try to see that it IS in striving that men can move from being “conformed to this world” to being “transformed by the renewing of your mind“. We should try to see as well that it IS this striving that IS the very act by which men can “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:2, 1). ALL other ideas ARE founded in the deception of the man who IS NOT a DOER of His words. Here again we should try to understand that being “conformed to this world” IS NOT ONLY to NOT be a Christian according to doctrines but it IS being a Christian according to doctrines as well; both ARE yet caught in the vanity which we understand as Vincent presents this saying this idea of mataoites IS: a perishable and decaying condition, separate from God, and pursuing false ends 4.

Can we see that the false ends of the doctrinal Christian ARE really NO different that the false ends of the irreligious or the Hindu, the Buddhist or the Muslim? Can we see that the false ends ARE the common idea of ALL who remain “subject to vanity” (Romans 8:20), ALL who DO NOT strive toward the singular Truth of God that transcends ALL human carnal divisions? While the doctrinal church continues to focus upon select topics which detract the attention of men from the real Truths of the Master’s words, they DO yet believe that they have the high road and it IS this belief that feeds the deception and encourages seekers to look NO further, but rather to accept their ‘faith‘ based ideas of salvation. In their focus upon the moral ideas of abortion and the gay Life style, many paint themselves as better than the non-believer and here we should understand that there ARE millions of non-believers who look upon these moral ideas in the same way.

The reality IS that while abortion IS a wrong path to take, especially in terms of birth control, there ARE many alternatives today that can prevent pregnancy. It IS unfortunate that large parts of the church rail against these counter measures as well and they DO so from the perspective that NO sex IS the only measure that they will accept. In this view IS their failure to abide by the Master’s own words on Love, on agape, and its basis in understanding that ALL ARE “subject to vanity” and that vanity afflicts everyman according to the proclivities of his personality which ARE enhanced by one’s nurturing, indoctrination and experience. What we should see here IS a most basic Truth: men and women ARE sexual creatures and while some can inhibit their own drives, most CAN NOT and this IS especially True in youth.

Here, understanding the power of nurturing and indoctrination, the goal should be to change the effect of these, NOT in terms of religion but in terms of Truth and acceptance that the way that this subject has been approached from the beginning DOES NOT work. The reality of sex should be removed from the realm of the unspoken and placed into a environment were good common sense conversation can become the NEW nurturing and indoctrination that everyman receives. And we should try to see and to understand that sexual sins ARE NOT any worse that the sin of failing to Love and this especially with NO “respect to persons“; this IS according to James words saying: “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:9-10)

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

Quote of the Day:

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts

  • 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
  • 8 Bible commentaries on BibleStudyTools.com

 Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.  

Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher

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