Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels
I was speaking with my mom the other day. No that is not the purpose of this blog. Although it is a source of gratitude for me. She is older then me and Im old as dirt so Im very grateful to be able to speak with her still. Anyways I was speaking with her and she said she was concerned I say we should not focus on sin in our walk with God. Even though Christ died for our sins we still have to ask for forgiveness. I told her she was right, which confused her. My explanation that followed, I wanted to be the basis of this blog.
In the Covenant of Moses we were given the 10 commandments. These were guidelines we lived under until Christ, the problem was until there was the law sin did not exist. For the law brought the awareness of sin. Unfortunately, awareness of sin was not enough for us to be able to hold the law, The law, instead of being a tool to bring us closer to God, took us further away. I want to stop here for just a moment. I normally like to stay as much as possible with Christ’s words and we will be going to those in just moment. It is just that, Paul did such a great job in laying a foundation for the rest of this. He also tells us in the same chapter “4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code”. This is what John was speaking of in John 3:16 when he said “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. See as Paul explains in Romans 5:18–21 “18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’. Her question was not unlike one Paul himself asked rhetorically and answered in depth in Romans chapter 6. I will not paste the whole chapter here but from the start of it. 6:1–3” What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”.
When Christ taught us to worship him in Matthew 6 in his prayer he told us to ask our father for forgiveness, however he also told us “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”. This chapter is the meat and potatoes of where I believe we as modern followers of Christ are being led astray, since the opposite is being taught by the leadership. I know, one of the main things I hear everytime I say something like is people saying I shouldn’t make generalized statements cause at “my church” this isn’t so. Friends I am here to tell you, If you and your congregation are not speaking out about the corruption of the word globally and by the main religious leaders nationally, you and your church are just as guilty. If your church is telling you that God doesn’t want you to pay so much in taxes and you don’t have to care for lazy people and it’s good to be rich, find a new church. They are deceiving you. That is a different blog however; for now we need to talk regarding my views that the Church needs to stop focusing on sin and start focusing on the words of Christ. In Matthew 22 34–40 the Pharisees were trying to trap Christ again. They got had an expert in the law ask him which was the greatest commandment. There was a purpose to it. If Christ answered one he would picking favorites when all were valid and commanded for us to follow. Christ answered in 37–40 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”. I titled this after one of my favorite chapters by Paul, where Paul says that no other spiritual gift is as important as love. Not prophesy, not speaking in tongues, not wisdom, not even charity. He also breaks out what he means by love. “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”.
Let’s take a second and I will reveal why. Let’s go back and look at the 10 commandments for a moment through the lens of Jesus’s answer and Paul’s description of love, one at a time.
And God spoke all these words:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.3 “You shall have no other gods before me.4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.13 “You shall not murder.14 “You shall not commit adultery.15 “You shall not steal.16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
1). You shall have no other Gods before me. I have a very limited understanding of love compared to God’s. However if someone who professes to love me puts others before me I don’t feel loved. Christ actually puts more bluntly though going back to the chapter of Matthew 6:24 “24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”. Going on to Mark 12:41–44 “41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”. If one loves God they will have no desire to put anyone or anything before God, it is impossible to break this commandment.
2). You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. If you read above you will see how impossible it is to worship an image and love God.
We can continue down the list however I would recommend that each do this on their own, in prayer and meditation, and you will quickly see why Paul said that love is the greatest of all spiritual manifestations or gifts. It is impossible to break any of the commandments in love. It is also to understand why Christ said what he did in matthew 5: 21–48.
In another blog post I made, “Where the Christian Right got it wrong” I talked about the need for the Church to return to the teachings of the bible and the walk of Christ. Afterwards I was asked if I thought it ironic that I was calling out the bride for cheating on her bridegroom. The answer is no. I don’t feel we, as followers of Christ, should be upset that the bible isn’t being taught in schools, when we aren’t teaching it in our churches. I don’t think we as a body should be upset that prayer is not being done in schools, when Christ taught the exact opposite. Imagine what this world would be like if we focused on teaching others to see the glory of God in God’s creation and themselves, we fed the poor, housed the homeless, healed the sick and championed the least of us. Do you think abortion would be an issue, crime, etc? Even better imagine for a moment an entire congregation or the entire body of Christ out in the world ministering the teachings of Christ, not by handing out bibles or preaching, but instead as Christ told Peter to. By caring for his flock. Until the body stops sowing the seeds of sin, we have no right to speak of the problem of sin in the world. Yes, Christ forgives our sins, to the degree that we forgive the sins of others. That statement should be a frightening concept for the body considering how badly we treat those not of the body.