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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Jan 23, 2014 | Comments (0)


Fourth Sunday in Epiphany

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the Fourth Sunday in Epiphany

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The Strength of Christianity is Grace

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Another name for Jesus is "Grace". Another name for God is "Grace". We are saved by GRACE. "Love" is not Love if it is not grace. This is true for "Faith", "Hope", "Joy" and all other theological words of significance in the scripture.

Until someone experiences the grace gift in their lives, all other theological words have no real meaning. Why not begin to use the word "grace" in place of "Jesus", "God", "the Spirit", "Love" and so on? It might seem inappropriate to do so. However, until it is actually experienced it will make no sense at all.

That is what this year is all about. Grace, did you get it?

Finding Grace in Our Life

Prayers are from the Collects for the weekly Scriptures.

Pray this prayer:

“Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Now quietly move into God's Presence and pray the prayer again:

“Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

What is the difference?

Epiphany

Matthew 5:1-12 “Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. His disciples came to Him.”

Jesus’ teaching of the Sermon on the Mount gives us the opportunity to understand the transforming power of grace. We can only know the difference experiencing grace makes if we note how our lives change as we shift from a legalistic mode of interpreting scripture to an interpretation based on the Grace of God.

Our Legalistic response to scripture is based on a belief that we receive God’s blessing by first changing our lives to do His will; something that is impossible to do through our own efforts. Grace promises to transform our lives through His blessing in order to do His will; possible in the Grace Presence of God.

The Beatitudes are good examples of the perils of legalistic translation. The Greek word “oti” can be translated as “for” while in a majority of cases it is translated “because”.

“For” is the goal or purpose we do things.

Legalistically, in the Beatitudes we do things for the blessing.

“Because” is the reason we do things.

Gracefully, we do things because we have the blessing.

Legalistic:

We will be blessed when we become poor in spirit for we will be given the Kingdom of Heaven.

Grace:

Because we are given the Kingdom of Heaven, we are blessed to become poor in spirit.

Legalistic:

For when we mourn for we will be comforted.

Grace:

Because we are comforted, we will mourn.

Legalistic:

For when we become meek we shall inherit the earth.

Grace:

Because we have inherited the earth, we become meek.

Legalistic:

For when we hunger and thirst after righteousness we shall be filled.

Grace:

Because we are filled, we will hunger and thirsts after righteousness.

Legalistic:

For when we show mercy we will receive mercy.

Grace:

Because we receive mercy, we will be merciful.

Legalistic:

For when we become peace makers we will be called the children of God.

Grace:

Because we will be called the children of God, we will be Peace makers.

Legalistic:

For we will be persecuted to receive the Kingdom of God.

Grace:

Because we receive the Kingdom of God, we will be persecuted.

Legalistic:

You will be rewarded when people revile you as they did Me, for you will rejoice and be glad in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Grace:

Because you are in the Kingdom of Heaven, you will rejoice and be glad when people revile you as they did Me.

For more practice on the difference between legalism and grace see “The Bottom Line” exercises.


THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group: Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.


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