Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Aug 08, 2013 | Comments (0)

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Bottom Line Spirituality: Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Thirteenth 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.



(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.

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 doing it right to become right with God, to be right with God to do what is right.

The War on Legalism

God declared War on Legalism when He sent His Word into the World. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us … full of grace and truth. John 1:14 Legalism fought back against grace believing the Bible, not Jesus, is the word of God. Grace is based on the Two Great Love Commandments. All the Law and the Prophets have now been changed into “do the loving thing.” Matthew 22:37-40 The New Command is to be in His Presence in order to Love one another. John 13:34 “Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Galatians 3:24 “The law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”

Legalism assumes the way we see things is the way they really are and should be. Grace speaks the Wisdom that only comes from the experience of His Presence.

Luke 12:49-56 "Why do you not know how to discern the Present time?”

The question of biblical authority is ultimately a question of Christology. What we believe about Jesus will ultimately determine what we believe about the Bible.

There are two ways of discerning what we believe about Jesus in Scripture. We can come in with our minds made up about the Bible being the Word of God, or we can believe Jesus is the Word of God. If we believe the Bible is the Word of God than Jesus must fit into our concept of who the Bible says He is. If we believe Jesus is the Word of God then the Bible must fit into what He says it is.

If the Bible is the Word of God,

we already have a List that is based on the Laws of Moses and the Prophets plus all the things that we are to be obedient to do and not to do if we want to keep God happy with us. We are to see Jesus through the eyes of this List. He emptied Himself by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death. Philippians 2:7 According to the List, Jesus sets the example of obedience for us to “earn” merit with God.

The Keepers of the List today are called Legalists. They are, direct descendants of the original Pharisees in the time of Jesus. According to the List, legalistically we follow Jesus by being obedient to the Law as He was obedient. We are all sinners because of Adam’s disobedience to God. Obedience is to know what God commands us to do to live in conformity with all the Laws and commandments including those of Moses and the Prophets.

We labor for Him to receive His commendation of being faithful in message, motive, and ministry. According to Scripture, God graciously rewards us for faithful obedience while simultaneously reminding us that we are an unprofitable servant and when we serve Him, we have only done that which is dutifully expected of a servant.

Jesus, as the Word of God,

switched from legalism to grace. He switched all the Mosaic Law with grace and truth. John 1:14 The Prophets and all that is in the New Testament are replaced with Two Laws and One Commandment. Matthew 22:40, John 13:34 The ultimate principle is to do the loving thing by being in His Presence of Love. Jesus believed apart from Him we could do nothing. He did not believe in condemnation and guilt. He didn’t even believe in obedience but in choice. Grace is the choice to be either in or out of His Presence.

This raises a problem for the legalists

who believe the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. They cannot believe both Jesus and the Bible. In many areas, doing the Loving thing according to Jesus conflicts with doing the right thing according to the Law. The only conclusion the keepers of the List can have is that Jesus made faulty interpretations and applications of Scripture. He believed He was the Word of God rather than The Bible being the Word of God. He actually taught that every Law including the Law of Moses and the Prophets were replaced by only the Law of Love. He was either biblically ignorant, a lazy Bible student or had not been exposed to better models of ministry.

There is a difference between the Pharisees of old and the Legalists of now. The Pharisees totally rejected the teaching of grace. The Legalists embrace grace in their own way.  They attract new believers with grace. Then, once the believers in grace join their church, the bait of grace is switched to the hook of the Law. The lesson is: to know grace, you must know the difference between grace and legalism.

A pharisaic, legalistic church rejects unconditional and inclusive grace members. A grace church permits conditional, exclusive legalistic members unconditionally and inclusively!

Here is an easy way of remembering the difference. What is the difference between the Grace of Elephants and the Law of Fleas? Elephants can have Fleas but Fleas cannot have Elephants. Go Figure!

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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