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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Jun 13, 2013 | Comments (0)


Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

Bottom Line Spirituality: Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

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.

 

Remember: The DISCIPLE-SHIFT

(see Pentecost Sunday Meditation by Clicking Here)

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.

Jesus took common words and gave them the spiritual meaning of being in the Presence of the Spirit.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than us trying to build a life of faith for God, we become a life of faith by God when consciously feeling the Faith He has in us.

The War on Legalism

Luke 8:26-39  “Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.”

There is a spiritual War going on between Grace and Legalism. War is defined as “a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism. A struggle between opposing forces.”

St Paul recognized it when he wrote, “We wrestle … against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly high places.” Ephesians 6:12

The War was declared by legalism on the grace of God at the moment of the Incarnation when the Word of God became Flesh, full of grace and Truth. John 1:14

The culture of Legalism then is the same as the culture of legalism today. It has not changed one bit. It is as prominent among our churches and leaders as it ever was before. The difference is the Life of Grace offers us one of the only two choices to build our life on, grace or legalism.

The War against the grace of God started in the wilderness for Jesus. There Satan attacked Him three times and lost. “The devil departed from Him until an opportune time.” Luke 4:13

Jesus was constantly being attacked by the legalism of the Pharisees, Sadducees and their lawyer scribes wherever He went. In His own home town, the legalists tried to throw Him over a cliff. They took up stones to kill Him on the spot in the Temple. John 8:59 He was in danger of being seized on many occasions. John 11:57 The Sanhedrin finally sentenced Him to death. The legalists cried out to have Him crucified before Pilate.

The idea Jesus, the Prince of Peace and Grace, would fight against anything seems outrageous to some.  They have read but overlooked some of His words and deeds. "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

Jesus attacked back at His enemies calling them hypocrites, blind guides and heaping all kinds of “Woes” upon them. Matthew 23:13 He fought against the temple abomination by physically attacking those who sold doves and changed money. 

Jesus explained the spiritual battle by telling about the King who went to war against his opponent. He discovered the opponent had too many troops and decided to sue for peace. He told this story to remind us about counting the cost. He was not talking about us counting the cost. He was talking about God. God went to battle against Satan. He would not have done so if He had not counted the cost even to the death of His own Son. He counted, paid the price and won the victory at Easter. Luke 14:28

Today there is a battle, more than that it is a war, between legalism and grace. The basis for Christianity is we are saved by grace alone. Most Christian groups stand for grace. However, there are many who stand for grace but cannot fight for grace. This is because there is too much opposition among the legalists of their community and their leadership. If it was not for legalism, some churches would disappear. The Church depends on people and their money to come and find Jesus through the Eucharist, the worship, the preaching and many other tricks.

It is time to face the battle between grace and legalism by telling the truth.

Here are some truths. The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. We do not do God’s will to get into the grace. We get into the grace to do God’s will. All the Law and the Commandments are based on doing the loving thing by abiding in Him.  No matter what the Bible or anyone else says, if it is not the loving thing, then do not do it.

The grace of God is unconditional, inclusive and always in all of us. All of us, all the time, have within us a Love that will not let us go, a Peace that passes our understanding, a Joy no one can take from us and Wisdom to know the difference between legalism and grace. When we open our conscious heart to sense His Presence we live in His grace.

There are graceful people in all communities including other religions. No matter who they are, everyone who is saved is saved by the grace of God, not by works of the flesh. Christianity gives people the choice of legalism or grace. This is why it is important to know the difference between the two. This is how we put on the armor. This is the War. It takes daily wondering what difference grace makes in a culture of legalism.

Put it on and then “Bring it on!”


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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