Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Oct 17, 2013 | Comments (0)

Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost

Bottom Line Spirituality: Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Twenty-Third 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 trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The War on Legalism

God declared War on Legalism when He sent His Word into the World. John 1:1 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

The Gospel of grace is rather than thanking God to feel His Love for us but feeling How Thankful He is in our feeling His Love.

Luke 18:9-14 Thank God!

Literal thinking sees the form.

Grace understanding discerns the function.

The story is a simple one. Two men are in the Temple for prayers, one a Pharisee and the other a Tax collector. The Pharisee prays to himself about how faithful he is. He is not at all like the tax collector. The tax collector merely prays, “Lord have mercy upon me a sinner.” He leaves justified and the other not.

There is some background to the story. Rome would make conquered counties pay a tribute to them. Rather than collect the taxes themselves they would sell parcels to the citizens of the country. The parcels would include areas such as bridges, lakes and roads. The tax collectors would pay off the cost to Rome and whatever they could collect over and above was theirs. Some tax collectors were fair and others were greedy. The Jews despised all of them as quislings and traitors.

The Pharisee is not much different than some in America. They see themselves as religious people. They are rich enough to follow all the laws. However, they do all they can to legalistically not follow the laws. They hate paying taxes and they see themselves as patriots. They are not thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like the tax collecting traitor.

The literal form of the story is to not trust in ourselves to be righteous and regard others with contempt. The result would have Jesus making another law to be sure to follow.

The grace function is to understand the difference between legalism and grace. In legalism we must do God’s will to abide in His Presence. In grace we abide in God’s Presence to follow His will. Jesus states “apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4

In legalism we earn and deserve the right to abide in His Presence. Anyone who has not earned it does not get to abide. If we were able to follow all of the law we would not need to abide in His Presence. In grace, we are not worthy to abide in God’s Presence. The only reason we can abide in Him is through the grace of God by moving from our rational head to our conscious heart.

Some will argue that having to open our heart is to have to do something to abide in Him. The word “grace” refers to a free gift. It does not cost anything. At Christmas, we receive gifts. They will do us no good unless we unwrap them. When we unwrap our heart we are able to receive grace. If the gift we unwrap has a price tag of one thousand dollars then it would no longer be a gift. We would have to earn and pay for it.

When we want to experience God’s gift of grace in us but think it is not for others, we exalt ourselves over “the others”. We will be humbled in the worst sense of the word. When we can see the grace in others we shall be exalted in the best sense of the word.

The obvious literal point is do not be like the proud Pharisee, be humble like the sinner. Our problem is our concept of sin. We confess our immoral and broken acts to find forgiveness. Once we do this we are good enough to receive forgiveness.

In legalism, being a sinner means being not worthy, and never will be worthy, to be in God’s Presence. If we ever get to the point we are worthy then we earned it and it is not grace. 

The reason we get into the grace of God is because we are not worthy to receive His grace. That is the whole point of grace. When we are in the Presence of His Love, Joy and Peace we become transformed not to be worthy but to be loved and able to do acts of Love.

We need never worry whether we are worthy or not. Shifting into His Love, we are different persons than we are out of His Love. Knowing the difference is what makes the difference.

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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