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fulfilled the law…

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:8-14, NRSV)

Have you ever wondered how you might fulfill the law?

Paul tells the Romans here how to do that and it is really simple.

Love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law! It is that simple. Then Paul goes on to explain the commandments and how by doing them you are really loving your neighbor. So if we can love each other, we will fulfill the law.

That is what Jesus came to show us. That we need to love as He loved us. Without exception and where we were.

So fulfill the law and love your neighbor!

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gift or burden?

170317Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:1-12, NRSV)

Why did God give the people His laws?

As a burden to over come?

Rules to win His love?

Remember that God gave the Laws to the people after He said they were His chosen poeple. The Law is not a way to win God’s favor. It is a guide to help us live as His chosen people.

The Law and the way He guides us is a gift to help us live the life He has prepared for us, not to hold us back or to give us something to overcome.

Live in the life He gave you as freedom not as burden.

 

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no one…

170314Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” (John 7:53-8:11, NRSV)

Jesus was in the temple and the leaders brought a woman caught in the act of adultery. Now, why only the woman, because that was the mind frame of the time, and the woman was guilty, but the man, well. But they bring this woman who should be stoned to Jesus and ask Him what should they do.

Jesus looks at the leaders and says, “Let the one among you, who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

And one by one I imagine they drop their rocks and walk away with their heads down.

And then Jesus asks the woman where are those who were condemning you? And they were gone, no one was found to condemn her. And the one who could have cast the first stone says, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Jesus came to save us, not condemn us. The law is about love, to fulfill the law, we love others.

 

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I have done all these…

160920Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. (Matthew 19:16-30, NRSV)

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven…

Some say this is a gate that had a camel had to be unencumbered and then lower to its knees and crawl through. This, however, has not been proven.

The interesting thing this read of the passage is, the rich young man said he kept all the commandments Jesus brought up to him. This of course after he asked which ones. It is like he knew the ones he had broken, but thankfully the ones Jesus mentioned he was good on and therefore he would be fine getting into heaven.

I think the commandments are Jesus way of helping us live the way He came to show us to live. Yes, I know that approaches on the third use of the Law, to make us righteous, but if we are worried about living the right way, we will be doing what God is leading us to do. It is when we think we have kept the laws, that Jesus ups the ante and shows us that we don’t get it, and only by truly following Him will we make it.

 

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follow the law!

Wheat near Mount Nemrut, Eastern TurkeyOne sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.” On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. (Luke 6:1-11, NRSV)

The Pharisees asked why Jesus’ disciples worked on the Sabbath, and later wondered if He would heal on the Sabbath.

You see the Sabbath is the day of rest. See Remember for more details…

You couldn’t pick or get the grain out, or heal. This was all forbidden on the Sabbath because God rested on the Sabbath and so should we.

But we all need to eat, and if the only food is available to you is grain in the field which must be picked and threshed, then you pick and thresh so you can eat.

And if someone needs to be healed, why should they wait any longer than they already have to be healed?

Which is more important, God’s mission that everyone be brought into His presence and live out His life, or the man’s law?

 

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Salt and Light

Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:13-20, NRSV)

A lot of places I read about this verse talk about us living in such a way that we will be the salt of the earth and the light for the world.

If we can only do what Christ calls us to do, and follow all of the commandments and not lead any of our brothers or sisters away in sin, then we might be salt and light.

But read the passage again.

There is no hesitation. There is no you can be. There is no you will be.

Jesus says, “You are!”

You are the salt of the earth and the light to the world.

So go and show the world whom you follow and whose you are!

 

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Justified

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;  yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.  But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:15-21, NRSV)

Paul is telling the Galatians that he and his companions are Jewish by birth and followers of the Law, while those hearing this could be considered to be Gentile sinners, those who do not even attempt to follow the laws and are therefore not living up to them…

Yet after this introduction he goes on to say that it is not through the works of the Law or following the Law that saves us. We are justified by Jesus, through the faithfulness of Christ to go to the cross for us. Not for anything that we have done, or will do, but because of who Christ is and what He has done for all of us.

We have all been buried with Christ in our baptism and it is no longer us who live, but it is Christ who lives in us. Therefore we are justified by Him.

 

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