As a Gentile by birth, but a Jew by adoption, see Galatians 3:29, how do I interpret the Old Testament? Is it to be viewed as history? Or better said history only? After all we are no longer under the law. Is it only instruction in the New Testament that is required, such as dietary? Or should I be dualist in my approach, strive to live by the law while being aware that:
1- I will never be able to fully obey or live up to the law.
2- realize that I can not earn God’s approval on my own no matter how good I become at following the law.
Isn’t that part of loving God? I love my sons and because I love them I enjoy pleasing them. For those of you that are married, if you love your spouse don’t you experience joy when they are pleased with your actions?
These are fallible humans capable of being greedy, self-serving, even wrong, but is it possible for God to be any of these things? of course not. So how much safer to strive after pleasing God? Not in order to win His favor, or earn salvation, or force Him to bless us. But because of loving God.
And I please Him when I do His will.Do I fail? Oh much more than I care to admit to anyone else. I think I have one area down cold, and BAM, I screw it up. Or I actually get one area of my life under control, in-line with God’s standard only to have Him point out something else and ask, “That’s great, but what about this?”
Is man free?
Is he truly free to choose? If man is not capable of not sinning does that mean that he is not free to not sin!
Jean-Paul Sartre holds the idea that if God exists, man can not be free. That freedom is not true freedom unless it is absolute. That anything less than full autonomy is not true freedom. But must there be complete, unrestricted freedom in order to be free?
Just an illusion
Is anything short of absolute autonomy only an illusion of freedom? In the movie of the same name a member of the Adjustment Bureau states to the hero of the story, “You don’t have free-will you have the appearance of free-will.” The presupposition being that if we don’t have complete free-will then it is all just an illusion. But is it? Do we have to have complete free will versus having none? Are those the only two options?
What are your thoughts? If you cannot choose not to sin does that mean you don’t have free will?
Let’s be clear from the start I consider myself as a classical liberal. For those of you unclear on that I’m big on the responsibility and the value of the individual, limited government low taxes and states rights. Or what is often referred to as a conservative. Does this matter, probably not but I’m big on disclosure so there you go.
Do we really need more coarse language?
Ok so the vitriol that spews forth against the current President from people who dare to call themselves Christian is to me amazing. Christian leadership needs to criticize, speak out against things you think are wrong, even immoral ie: abortion to your heart’s content, but isn’t it time you remembered that you are commanded to have respect for authority for they are placed in office by God. Read Romans 12 & 13. The magistrate is there to do 2 things. Punish evil, condone the good. For a more in-depth analysis of this concept see “The Truth Project”
Are their laws and actions being taken by the government that I think as a Christian I have a moral obligation to protest, fight against, and do my best to change? Of course. We should stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What you and I should not do is promote hate for people no matter how much we disagree. You and I have an obligation to reflect the one we call Lord. If your daring to call yourself by the name of Christ and then saying some of the things I see floating around on Facebook, twitter, and blogs, I have to wonder what you’re trying to show the world. If your calling yourself a Christian, you are setting yourself up as a witness for Christ. Are your actions, your language really the way you want people to view Jesus?
Hate the action, not the person.
Let me be clear, hate is not disagreeing. Hate is not holding the belief that certain actions or lifestyles are wrong. When my sons were teenagers one of them decided that smoking pot and skipping school was how he would spend his days. I hated what he was doing, because I love him. Because I love him, I want what’s best for him. Not what he wanted to do, and what he thought was best for him.
Likewise if I see someone doing things that aren’t best for them, I hate that too. Before you go getting all bent jumping on the “judge not lest ye be judged” bandwagon, I’m not judging. That’s not my place nor do I have the wisdom or the authority. All I know is what God says. If you have a problem with that, then it’s for you to deal with, not me.
If your going to call yourself a Christian, especially publicly, we are commanded to love our enemies. Disagree with the actions, no problem, hate the actions, what you see government or this administration doing all you want. Oppose it, work to change it. But please stop spewing the hate of the person, instead of the action. We, you and I are give direction that we are subject to the authorities God has put over us.
“If your going to preach fire and brimstone you need to do it with tears in your eyes” – Jim Rohn
What do you think when you see others tearing apart our leaders out of anger, instead of seeking to change things because of love? What about when it is someone who then claims to be a Christian?
Believing hard enough, long enough, deep enough is NOT enough.
Everywhere I turn lately it seems like I am being told that I just need to believe. That if I believe enough everything I want will come to me. But what if I am believing the wrong thing? What if I believe that I’m a car and then go run on to the freeway? Or how about if I believe that all the money at the bank is really mine?
Now these may seem extreme, but these are actually some of the less dangerous false beliefs I could hold. In the first I might get hit by a car or a bus, the other I go to prison. But what if I believe Jesus was a good guy, a really smart teacher but not God in the flesh?
How much do you hate your neighbor?
Letting the people around me keep on believing something that is wrong is not loving them. As Penn Jillette states: How much do you have to hate that person if you see them heading to hell and you do nothing”.
Belief, if its in something that is wrong is still wrong no matter how much, how deep, how thoroughly you believe. I keep checking my beliefs to see where something silly or even dangerous might have snuck in.
What about you? Have you really opened up what you believe to look at all the implications?
Alexis De Tocqueville in his classic Democracy in America, “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and Liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive one without the other”
So what happened? Has this changed? Or is it that as a nation, we have moved further and further away from God? I’m inclined to think that this is the case. As a nation we have taken down the ten commandments, removed prayer from the schools, and we wonder why liberty has deteriorated. Christianity instills , brings about a huge overwhelming sense of love from man towards his creator, and therefore a love for his creation.
If we love God, and by extension his creation then we will want liberty and freedom for others to become the best they are capable of. Even if that liberty allows the other to not love or even curse God. Why should we allow this? Because God allows the same thing. He gives each of us the liberty to be whom ever we choose. What liberty does not do is exempt us from the consequences of our actions and desires.
Consider this, many people would say that I’m a good person I never killed anyone so I’m sure God will let me into heaven when the time comes. But isn’t that God stepping all over your liberty. Your free will? Would anyone think for a minute that God is good if he forced his will upon man? So if it is wrong for God to force himself upon you for 70 or 80 years how much more offensive would it be to do it for eternity? How could a good God force himself upon someone, even if it was for their own “good”?
Now its time for your input. Do you think God should force himself on his creation?
Let me know what you think in the comments.