Saturday, November 5, 2016
A Well Intended Burden...Lifted
I ran across a shared post on social media the other day. I told my
wife about it and she said "what's wrong with it? It sounds right
to me...it is the scriptures.." I sat back and looked again at the
scripture passage. And there it was again glaring back at me.
So what was the scripture?
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is
the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was mani-
fested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.Whosoever
abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him,
neither known him.Little children, let no man deceive you: he that
doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He
that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the
beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that
he might destroy the works of the devil.Whosoever is born of God
doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot
sin, because he is born of God.In this the children of God are
manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not
righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother..."
I John 3:7-10
I asked my wife again what was her conclusion. She did not say
a word. It was the look on her face that said it all. Why? Because
for people like us, this is just another rock in our already over
burdened knapsack.The scriptures here seem always open ended
and thus there is never a satisfaction of it to the point the party
believes that they have made it over the spiritual hump. On the
surface, the Bible is daunting and cut and dried it would seem.
We stood silent.There was nothing to say only a deflating hope.
Ever feel that way?
It is scriptures like this misapplied that suck the hope from people
and spread the pharasaic darkness once again.
What is the knee-jerk reaction? It is to do one of three things:
1> give up - this is what most people do. They go silent and
move towards the exit.
2> justify - say they are no worse than anybody else. It is a
good argument but the standard for comparison is
wrong so it does not lead to the light but to a
continual pull into one's own hell and deception.
3> plead - I won't say it is repentance because I have played
this game before. It is somewhat based on #2. In
the sense we really don't think we are a bad person,
we just need the right formula for victory. We agree
with those that speak so harshly about sin and
personal spiritual failure. Somehow we believe if we
can put more spiritual elbow grease this time will be
different.So we go to the altar and eviscerate our-
selves and the blood gushes but our god does not
seemingly hear us. Eventually we find the weakness
again succumb and again repeat the same process.
Never 'gaining the victory' as those examples that
teach us and smile in our faces with a superior
expression behind a facade so 'spiritually' crafted.
Quite a pickle we are in huh?
What really got me was the person after the quote said "It is so
clear, you don't need to explain it or look at a commentary..."
I thought about that and at the first conclusion, agreed with it.
It WAS clear. It WAS seemingly so obvious that anyone could
conclude the truth from it. The problem is I did not feel any
better and it certainly did not give me any hope. 'I am a goner'
I thought at the time of reading it.
These are the kind of scriptures that in their weight seem to
crush us and we want to run and hide because there is nothing
but dispair. We are without excuse. We have been charged with
a crime and everyone knows we ARE guilty. We are paralyzed
and led off in chains...
Does that sound like the gospel to you? It is like what Jesus said
"For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay
them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move
them with one of their fingers...(Mat 23:4) ... But woe unto you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom
of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither
suffer ye them that are entering to go in...(Mat 23:13)...Woe
unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea
and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make
him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves...(Mat 23:15)
...Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallowa camel.
We cannot argue the law with a lawyer. That is a modern rend-
ition of what is inferred here What is the point?
We have 'masters of the law' today that on the surface tout they
know and do not.
What about the scripture from I John? Is there an answer with
any redemption for an imperfect believer like myself? I believe
there is and it is not one of the three points above.
How can I say that?....one word....CONTEXT.
What is the truth about this passage? When we fold it in with
the rest of the message of John -- the Apostle of Love, we may be
able to take something we can hold onto.
Here is perhaps an alternate application:
John wrote his epistle to the churches (house churches) that were
being assailed by Gnostics.Gnostics were people who had melded
Christianity with Greek philosophy and came up with a witches brew.
In their line of thinking there were two types of people. The fleshly
and the spiritual. The spiritual ones were so special that they
receivedsecret revelations from God and they believed it was proof
that they were so special, it did not matter that they engaged in
all types of sin.They believed that there was such a dichotomy in
the makeup of man that one could be both spiritual and yet have
fleshly appetites that could be indulged and it would make not
one iota of difference. John was combatting this crucible of evil
with the true gospel. In context, in the scripture above John was
comparing these debauched individuals that touted to be great
spiritual giants with the purity of being born of the spirit.
In context, the argument was not that one sins or doesn't sin. It was
to clearly identify one truly born of God and how they act. These
Gnostics were not a 'work in progress' they were the false brethren.
They were of those identified by Jesus in His quote above because
they acted like the scripture above from John.
When we see the scripture from John in such a light and perspective,
we can agree that we are not perfect but we are not lost....we are a
'work in progress'. Now some progress faster than others but we
"There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can
defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they
that defile the man."
So are we of the spirit or of the law: Here is what Paul says:
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me
free from the law of sin and death.That the righteousness of the
law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but
after the Spirit."
"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the
works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?...But if ye be led
of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
Is walking after the spirit a perfect walk? I think you can answer
that one. So what are we to do when we encounter people like
me? We be gracious like our God and give them the benefit of
the doubt? In other words we perform the weightier matters
of the law as Jesus said:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay
tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the
weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these
ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
The scriptures in the hands of one with a pharasaic spirit is very
much different than one with a disciple's heart. Many will be
surprised when they stand before Him and because they leveraged
the Bible -- unintentionally or not-- to condemn and imprison
receive a reproof.The moral of the story is if you are going to be
a teacher do your homework. I came from an environment that
also interpreted scripture in this flat sense and so my advice to
you is take nothing at face value from ANY one regarding the
scriptures. Your faith is worth investing in, so stop borrowing from
people who lend you truth, believe me you will find yourself
spiritually bankrupt. Get to work. Study to show yourself approved.
The key to the scriptures is absolutely the teaching of the Holy
Spirit but He needs something to work with...the rule is
don't jump to conclusions,htey are usually malformed and
will lead you down instead of up. There is no quick fix stop
looking for one.
This was Jesus' message, that was John's reflection of Jesus
in the first epistleand that should be our message as well.