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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Feb 06, 2014 | Comments (0)


Sixth Sunday in Epiphany

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the Sixth 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:

“O God, we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace in keeping your commandments.”

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

“O God, we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace in keeping your commandments.”

What is the difference?

Find the difference between being transformed by His grace to pray or praying to be transformed by His grace.

Epiphany

Matthew 5:13-20 “I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus’ teaching of the Sermon on the Mount gives us the opportunity to understand the transforming power of grace. We only know the difference that experiencing Grace makes when it is compared with our legalistic actions to change our life.

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.

In legalism, to follow the law you must memorize all of the law. In grace, all you need to do is to be in His Presence to do the loving thing.

 

5:21 You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' 5:22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire.

What difference does it make in your family relationships when you try to change someone while you are angry and out of the Grace or instead being transformed by loving them when you are in the Grace?

 

5:23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 5:24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

Our offerings are not a fruit of our love for God. Our offerings are a fruit of loving others.

 

5:25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 5:26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Legalism tries to change others so that it may always be right no matter what the cost is to the other. Transforming Grace is right with God which does not cost others anything.

 

5:27 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Lust is not caused by others. It is caused by the way we feel when we think of others while we are out of His grace. What we think about others is transformed by the feeling when we are in His grace.

 

5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 5:30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

What we see and feel while out of the grace is what we get. What we get is what we see in the Love, Peace and Joy of being in His grace.

 

5:31 It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 5:32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

When we are out of His Grace, if we are not happy in our relationship we look somewhere else. The joy we feel when we are in His Grace pours out as Love, Patience and Kindness into our relationships.

 

5:33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.

When we are out of His grace we try to change others by making excuses to justify ourselves. In His grace His Love transforms us so there are no reasons to make excuses.

 

5:34 “But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 5:35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 5:36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 5:37 Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

The Word of God is transforming, unconditional and inclusive Love in everyone. Anything more than His Word of Love will compromise His Word and it comes from the evil one.

 

Do you try to change your life for God or do you let God transform your life for you?


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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