Law or No Law – That is the Question!

“What I find contradictory in some Christian circles is the use of Torah as a reason for continuing their condemnation of homosexuality. Always I am told that Jesus did away with the law, it is effect no more, yet when it comes to homosexuality all of the sudden I hear that Torah calls it an abomination!” (Yaelbatsarah)

“Good point. I think we do see a lot of this double talk in the faith about the law being finished yet they refer to it like it’s still enacted – making it tough for one to even know what that person believes. ” (SocietyVs)

“Regarding the law not being in effect. Jesus came to fulfill the law – Matt 5:17 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them“.The law points us to Jesus, the only person who upheld the law. We then believe in Him and we are saved (John 3).” (Jim Jordan)

“My belief is that the law was not abolished by Christs’ sacrifice. Christ ‘fulfilled‘ the law…By repenting and accepting Christ as Lord our sins are covered by His sacrifice. That does not make the law obsolete. Those who have yet to accept Christ as Lord are still under the law” (Brother Ken)

These are competing views from 4 different people – 3 within the Christian realm and 1 from the Judaic faith. So let me lay them out for you – so there is no confusion what is being said.

(1) Yael finds it interesting – and so do I – this contradictory stand within the Christian faith about the law being ‘fulfilled’ and yet the use of the Law is still enacted as a strong basis for judgement (that’s a contradiction). Either ‘it is finished’ or ‘it is not’ – it cannot be both.

(2) Jim and Ken are coming from the camp that Jesus did ‘fulfill’ the law – and through his sacrifice we are ‘saved’ (and the law can be used to point us there). Not only that Ken tacks on the idea the law is still required by people not under this ‘salvation’ offered by Christ – so it is both ‘ways’. Law is and isn’t required.

I also have to raise the question ‘are we still required to follow the law?’. Take a close look at Matthew 5:17 – Jesus does say ‘fulfill’ – but how do we interpret that? I can see 2 ways: (a) fulfill the prophets sayings as is used a lot in the gospels; (b) maybe simply to ‘do’ the law also – or to complete the sayings of the law (as the gospels also point out hypocrisy on the part of the religious groups of the day). Can this be a two-fold idea?

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Law or No Law – That is the Question!

  1. I think first we have to ask what ‘fulfill’ means. It isn’t enough to keep the Law by outward observance only. God wants obedience from the heart. We just aren’t capable of doing that all of the time. Jesus did obey from the heart and fulfilled the Law. His obedience was in accord with the Spirit of the Law. When we accept Him, that perfect obedience is applied to us covering our imperfect obedience. We are not made holy by the Law but apart from the Law vicarously, through Jesus. He paid the penalty of disobedience to the Law for us. He is the sacrifice to end all sacrifice. God desires mercy, not sacrifice and through the sacrifice that Jesus made upon the cross the Way is open for us to receive the full Mercy of God.

    However, the Law is still holy. What it says is wrong is still wrong and what it says is right is still right. All human beings fall short of it and we all deserve the penalty but the penalty has been paid.

    As to why some would use the Law as a justification for treating homosexual people poorly… when people are filled with fear and/or hate, they will use anything within their means to make them feel safe and justified. That is no mystery.

    Pam

  2. **I think first we have to ask what ‘fulfill’ means.**

    Actually, we might have to take a further step back, and define what the law means, and why it was given. My understanding of the Jewish law is that it entailed 613 commandments. (Yael may be able to clarify this for me, because I don’t have a firm grasp on Judaism). So when people say that Jesus fufilled, what law are they referring to?

    The other thing about the Torah is that my understanding said it only applied to Judaism. Gentiles would be judged based on Noahide laws, of which there are only seven.

    I’m also not sure that the Torah in Judaism was a way of earning salvation — Yael, feel free to clear this up for me if I’m way off. But from what I’ve read from scholars: I’ll just quote directly from one: “In the literature where Judaism speaks for itself, Israel’s election, embodied in the giving of the Torah, is viewed as God’s gracious gift. Obedience to the Torah is the proper response to the gift of the Torah, but it does not earn salvation as such. “Election and ultimately salvation cannot be earned, but depend on God’s grace” and mercy.”

    That’s from Paula Fredriksen.

  3. heather,

    I don’t think the Law was a way of earning salvation either (I know Yael knows more about this than I do)even though it gets misconstrued that way. Jesus fulfilled the Law more because He always did the Will of the Father rather than following his own will as we do. Jesus was in constant communion with His Father and He also fulfilled those Laws by His inborn nature.

    Anyway, it is evident today that law cannot cure crime. Law defines the offense and punishes it. That is the power of law. It shows what is lacking in an individual but it can’t fill that lack. As a Christian, the Law, which is of God and holy, showed me how unholy I was and my need not only for Jesus to pay the penalty for the Laws I had broken but also to change my heart. It is the spiritual rebirth that is the true work of Jesus, that which changes our inward nature.

    All of God’s Laws are good for the human family. For our moral and physical good. It would be a wonderful world if we could obey them all from the heart.

    Pam

  4. Pam —

    How are you defining the law, though? Are you going with the 613 commandments? Are you saying those 613 applied to everyone, Gentile and Jew? Because I don’t think the Torah was meant to be applied to a non-Jews.

    **it is evident today that law cannot cure crime. Law defines the offense and punishes it.**

    But this a criminal-justice sense of the law. I’m not sure they had that same picture 2,000 years ago — as in, the law was meant to show how far off the path one fell. And, if we go based on what Paula Fredrikson says, I’m not sure it was used in Judaism to show any lack. Rather, the law was followed out of gratitude for what God already did. It was a way of saying “thank you.” It doesn’t come across, to me, that the law was used to “fix” anything. The “fix” came from God, regardless.

  5. Matt 5:17 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”.

    The first part of this text tells us plainly that Jesus did not abolish the law. Therefor God’s laws are most certainly still in effect. One sin that is not paid for (redeemed) is all it takes to make us unworthy of the Kingdom of heaven;

    Matt 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    Let’s set aside the Mosaic Laws for now to simplify this. Do you think it even remotely possible that anyone could live a life without ever telling a lie, coveting, dishonoring their parents, etc.? Impossible. So what purpose could there be to laws that are impossible to fulfill (satisfy completely). The simple answer is that they bring us to know the majesty of God. How wonderful and majestic is this God that will reward nothing but perfection!

    There are multitudes of rewards for those have the heart to dig into the scriptures to discover who God is and how to live a Godly life. The rewards come from turning away from that which God hates. Learning to avoid gossip is a good example.

    Anyway, the point is that the law was in effect from the beginning and always will be. The best way to explain the law I have heard is this; “The law is a painting of who God is”. God loves life because He said ‘Thou shalt not kill’. God loves obedience because He said ‘Honor thy mother and father’. And so on.

    So what do we know. We know the law is in effect. We know that we must be perfect, only one sin makes us unworthy of heaven. And we know we cannot be perfect IN AND OF OUR OWN ABILITIES. That is why IT WAS NECESSARY for Jesus to pay such a huge penalty. He was perfect and yet He suffered immensely that we may be made cleansed of our sins. When we repent and accept Jesus as Lord we no longer have to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus has already done that on the Cross. He paid the penalty for our sins. Our transgressions of the law are wiped clean and we are perfect in the eyes of God! If there were no law today His death would have no real meaning to me.

    Oh Lord thank you for sacrificing for me and paying for my sins! Let your love shine through me to others that they may also know you!

  6. I think that God gave the Law to the Jews but that it was for the ultimate benefit of us all.

    When I think of the Law, I think primarily of the moral law and I believe that in Christ, those Laws are being written upon my heart. My desires have changed greatly since I first became a Christian. Other than the moral law, I have to admit, I know little about it. I’m in the process of trying to learn more and I am amazed at what I’ve learned about the holidays that I have in Christ and that I look forward to in Chirst. I also still have a lot to learn. Quite a few years ago, I was curious about the health laws and I was simply amazed at what God had given the Jews to protect their health that they could not have known on their own. Some of the other minutia makes my eyes cross but their is probably a subtly in it that I don’t understand. In any event, I think all of God’s Laws are very good and none of them would hurt us other than they go against our natural desires and that is the crux of the issue. We desire the things that bring us death not life.

    I’m not sure how the Jews saw the purpose of the Law, honestly. Cultural knowlege is largely experiential, especially the intent. My understanding of scripture is that the Law was given as a covenent between God and the Jews and it was continually broken particularly in the area of heart attitude among the religious heirarchy. I don’t think this was a surprise to God and as a Christian, I regard it as a percursor to Grace. Law shows us our need for the Grace of God not only to forgive us of sin but govern our desires that bring us death. I see it all as a process that will return human beings to the state that Adam and Eve knew in the garden before the fall.

    This is a difficult subject…I hope I haven’t miandered too much!

    Pam

    p.s. One other point. Jesus teaches that if we love Him we will follow His commandments and His commandment is to love others as ourself. He states that all the Law and the Prophets are hung on this. Ultimately, the Law is Love Who is God.

  7. Check out the definition of the word fulfill:

    http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/fulfill

    It is to make full, to put into effect, to convert into reality. Jesus meant for the law to fill the entire earth so that everybody knows about it, will live by it, and it will be the standard of life for the world.

  8. The problem I’m still seeing here, though, is that the definition of the law is very vague. We have that Jesus followed the law perfectly, we have that Jesus fufilled the law, we have that the law was always in effect … but I don’t see a definition of what law is being referred to. Given that Jesus was Jewish, are we saying that if someone broke a law regarding the food, that person then deserved hell? Or if we talking about someone’s impurity status, in terms of touchign something that defiles them — that automatically sends someone to hell? I realize I keep focusing on this, but considering how often it is said that Jesus fufilled the law when others couldn’t, I think a clear understanding of what that law is, and what Jesus meant by the law, is needed.

    **Matt 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”**

    We’re going to disagree on this: there is no word of “perfect” in Aramiac. I also don’t get the sense, based on the context, that Jesus is saying everyone fails there. Rather, he was giving a bigger idea of who God was, and the “be perfect” is more of describing a copy, or a model made exactly like the original. It’s saying that this behavior is how one truly models him/herself after God.

    **So what do we know. We know the law is in effect** But again — to say that the law is in effect: even to say that the law condemns people doesn’t quite work for me, if the law only applies after someone enters a covenant with God.

    **And we know we cannot be perfect IN AND OF OUR OWN ABILITIES. That is why IT WAS NECESSARY for Jesus to pay such a huge penalty.**

    We’re also going to disagree on this, as well (I’m sure that’s not a surprise 🙂 I may be misinterpreting this, but when I see about Jesus paying a penalty, I jump to the penal substition idea (which, to my understanding, developed around the 15th-16th century), and a criminal system sort of justice, and that’s too wrapped up in the Western world’s concept of justice. But a huge part of Jesus’ death was also a means of subduing all powers against him — he put those powers and such to death on the cross. He put sin to death on the cross. I mean, even if you look at the Gospels themselves, the atonment concepts are very, very vague. There’s a reference to Jesus shedding blood as a ransom, but I see that when people are “ransomed,” it’s delivering people, such as God ransoming Israel in Exodus.

    **Law was given as a covenent between God and the Jews and it was continually broken particularly in the area of heart attitude among the religious heirarchy.**

    Well, from everything I’ve read, though, the NT isn’t precisely accurate on how Pharisees behaved.

  9. Amen, Steve Scot!:0)

    Jesus never went against the Will of His Father, not even in the smallest thing. We who are created in God’s image are to reflect Him through obedience to Him. Eve decided that she’d rather be like God and choose for herself rather than have God choose for her. The problem is that human beings are subject to good and evil, they are not above it as God is, we can’t make good decisions between what is good and evil. We use our desires as a guide and though our intellect is somewhat of a better guide, we still don’t have the perspective of God. So in comes the Law but without the guidance of God, the spiritual connection to Him that Adam and Eve had before the fall, we still goof up and we end up bringing ourselves death instead of life. Jesus was from above, begotten by the Holy Spirit. He has what was necessary to obey God continually. The Spirit equipped Him to do what was impossible for us. He struggled with His flesh but was not overcome by it.

    I agree that what Jesus did on the cross was more that our penal code idea of it. He was the perfect sacrifice. Substitionary death for the sins of others is not really a part of our culture. However, He is different by having done so from all the priests in Israel who had to offer offerings and sacrifices to cover their own sins. Jesus made Himself that sacrifice and has become our great High Priest. Our Mediator and Advocate.

    I seem plenty of people behaving like the Pharasees of the Bible and they aren’t even Jewish! I have also know one very kind and sincere Pharasee.:0) The point is people who like to wear God on the outside to gain human admiration and power over others. Now, that is an abomination!

    Pam

  10. p.s. More succinctly, Jesus is the Law. All that God gave the Jews to keep, the Law, the Prophets, the Ordinances are the character of the Messiah. That which I recognize to be Jesus. They foretold of Him.

    Pam

  11. 10 comments in one night – wow – that was fast. Note to self – throw the law out there when you need some attention – lol.

    “The problem I’m still seeing here, though, is that the definition of the law is very vague. We have that Jesus followed the law perfectly, we have that Jesus fufilled the law, we have that the law was always in effect… but I don’t see a definition of what law is being referred to” (Heather)

    I get what you’re saying Heather – how much do we know about the Torah and Prophets? Obviously our understanding of the law is not very good or in depth and here are some examples:

    (a) In John 8 when the girl is about to be stoned for adultery – Jesus goes above the law (with mercy unto life, not death). Yet the literal penalty for that act was ‘death’. What does fulfill mean there?

    (b) Jesus in Matthew 5 tells people to not make oaths at all – but let your own word be good enough. Now the literal translation in the Tanakh allows for oaths to be made – even on story in Judges see’s a man sacrifice his daughter due to an oath to God. What does fulfill mean here?

    (c) Again in Matthew 5 we see the teaching of ‘love your enemy’ – as opposed to an ‘eye for an eye’ ideology – Jesus’ teaching seems contradictory to the law. What does fulfill mean there?

    This is actually becoming less of a problem for me since I started talking with Yael and saw the Judiac view of the Torah (which she loves) and the rest of the Tanakh – somehow what Jesus is doing as a ‘rabbi’ there makes sense. She has a really great explanation of her view of the Torah (which I do not) – but I think her theology can fill a lot of holes in our theology. I could be wrong – but I am willing to take a chance on this.

  12. As far as fulfill means I liked Steve’s description ‘to convert into reality’ – and maybe this is what Jesus meant. If you think about the Torah and its meanings – mercy, love, faith and community – Jesus seems to reflect that strongly in his teaching and making that a reality for his followers. I’ll go into those examples again.

    (a) There is no contradiction in Jesus forgiving the girl to be stoned in adultery – because mercy is a type of judgment (maybe the highest form and intention behind the law).

    (b) The idea behind oaths is ‘keeping your word’ (being honest) – and Jesus seems to get to the heart of this law by calling out our responsibilities in the process.

    (c) The ‘eye for an eye, life for a life’ law may also find it’s fulfillment in ‘loving your enemy’ – mercy & love for your neighbor being the highest ideals behind the Torah (and maybe this can be reflected in the attitude we have towards ‘supposed enemies’). The idea being how we will conduct ourselves prior to this law being enacted at all.

    The law was meant to be a show of God’s mercy and love for the Israelites – via Moses and the Exodus. We see action and teachings in this regard – and maybe is a reflection of that – a ‘rabbi’. In that sense, we are to learn, follow, and elaborate on what he taught – which will lead us into ideas of community, faith, love, and mercy.

    As for the Pharisee’s thing in the NT – it’s a perspective – and likely one from the more downtrodden and outcast in society. Just as the people who have written about the Pharisee’s in other writings and portray them in a kind light – that is a perspective. For some the reality may have not been the same – especially if you were outside that religious elite or had problems with them.

    But one area I struggle with is the this “When we accept Him, that perfect obedience is applied to us covering our imperfect obedience.” (Pam) or “When we repent and accept Jesus as Lord we no longer have to pay the penalty for our sins.” (Ken)

    I think there is some ‘loop-hole’ theology in that. Basically Jesus was perfect and sinless so we wouldn’t have to be (or couldn’t be) – well this can cause many good people to act badly (namely if they don’t have to pay for their abuses – since they are forgiven). Even if this is true it is being taught in a way that leaves a lot of people irresponsible for their actions.

    All this is based on the idea of ‘perfection’. But when I read that passage in Matthew I see Jesus asking us to ‘follow these teachings’ with no hint of the idea ‘don’t worry I am perfect so you will be also via me’. Actually quite the opposite – and a few parables in Matthew reflect this – the foundations from Matt 7 and from Matt 6 – the trees/fruit parable. In both those parables the thing that was ‘useless’ became null n void – and how did it become useless – 2 ways: (a) lawlessness; or (b) didn’t enact the teachings. So to think this faith requires no obedience from us can lead to actual disobedience – or why does Matthew frame a whole book on the basis of ‘follow me’ if we cannot be perfect (and he teaches this)?

    I think there are questions about this theology that allows for us to ‘cop-out’ on our responsibilities – so much so I would say – it is debilitating the faith.

  13. Hey Society,

    This is one of the best convo’s yet and there is so much to chew on here it has become a veritable feast!

    I want to try and explain my ‘loophole’. Whenever one speaks up for Grace people always object that it is an excuse for lawlessness (and there are some who use it that way but they truly don’t understand Grace and I question their experience of it) but anyone who has experienced true spiritual rebirth in Christ will tell you that the change that occurs makes it impossible to continue in disobedience. The things I did before Jesus was revealed to me can no longer give me pleasure because Jesus put a new desire in my heart. I want to please God, where before, I only wanted to please me. What I have in Jesus is assurance of forgiveness every time I fail in pleasing God, even if I mess up big time. I get up and I try again. This is the way in which Jesus writes the Laws of God upon my heart. He loves me so much that He took my sins upon Him as a permenent sacrifice for my sins. How could I not realize that Love and be so changed by it but to desire what He in love desires for me? There is no more perfect revelation of the Love of God for man than His holy and perfect Law. If I truly love others as I love myself then the Law (the moral law) is kept even if I don’t know the letter of it. Who in their right mind desires to have others steal their stuff, their spouse, be murdered, etc.? We make it hard when it is simple. LOL!

    Pam

  14. ** think there is some ‘loop-hole’ theology in that. Basically Jesus was perfect and sinless so we wouldn’t have to be (or couldn’t be) – well this can cause many good people to act badly (namely if they don’t have to pay for their abuses – since they are forgiven). **

    It does also reflect upon the “just as you are” idea. The concept of Christianity is to come just as you are — but does God really accept you just as you are? The idea seems to be that God must see Jesus in you, covering up the sin, or He can’t be around you. But if everything in a person is covered in sin, then isn’t Jesus covering everything in that person? God’s not really accepting you, or anyone else, He’s accepting thousands of mini-Jesuses (how would one make that plural? Jesi?)

    I don’t say this to be mocking. It’s just something I’ve been mulling over recently — the whole idea of what God sees in us. Under the concept of original sin, God can’t see good in anyone. It must be placed there by an outside source. God can’t really ever bear to see the person, He must see Jesus in that person’s place …

  15. “Who in their right mind desires to have others steal their stuff, their spouse, be murdered, etc.? We make it hard when it is simple. LOL!” (Pam)

    I think following the ethics laid out by Jesus can also be a very simplified exercise – actually I can make it into one easy sentence – love God and love your neighbor. I agree!

    “the whole idea of what God sees in us. Under the concept of original sin, God can’t see good in anyone. It must be placed there by an outside source. God can’t really ever bear to see the person, He must see Jesus in that person’s place …” (Heather)

    Now that’s a deep theological point and I have to say – you make a good case here. God approves of Jesus, and only Jesus, and not me (due to a condition I have no control over – sin) – ergo – I cannot be in heaven unless I have that representation. So I cannot ‘come as I am’ – I am not ‘good’. I say it’s worth a more deep look into – and I am even willing to participate in that discussion.

  16. In Christ, we are becoming like Jesus. Perhaps, God looks into our hearts and sees the Jesus we will become as He molds us into the image of Christ. What He doesn’t see is our sin because it is covered by the blood of Jesus. God is holy and can’t look upon sin. We aren’t sin, just sinners.:)

    Pam

  17. Society,

    **So I cannot ‘come as I am’ – I am not ‘good’. I say it’s worth a more deep look into**

    I’m contemplating a blog post on this, so feel free to contribute. If said blog post gets accomplished. It’s in the vague stage, at the moment.

    Pam,

    **What He doesn’t see is our sin because it is covered by the blood of Jesus.**

    But unless looking through the blood (and that raises another point of how a physical substance can cover a non-physical substance), God can’t look upon people. God can only look upon people through that blood. Original sin (although, this may be more along the lines of total depravity, which pulls from original sin) specifies that everything done is tainted by sin. Everything. There is not one thing that a person can do that is not touched by sin. So in order to see into one’s heart, God would first have to get through the sin. There’s no acceptence as someone is, because the blood is used to cover what’s inside the person. You seem to be saying that without that blood, God can’t look upon a person, or mold that person into anything. God cannot accept the person without the blood of Jesus — so is God accepting the person without hesitation, or is God accepting the Christ seen in the person? And if God is accepting the Christ within the person, can we really say that God accepts the person at all? Because it’s no longer the person, it’s something that has been placed over the person, for lack of a better description.

  18. Heather,

    God lost His whole Creation, including us to sin. That kind of loss boggles my mind…

    Remember what the original sin is: Eve wanted to be like God and choose between good and evil for herself. We weren’t designed to operate that way and yes, it has tainted everything that we are. That is why no one was able to fulfill the Law. The Law gives us the right choices to make but we still want to do it under our own power of choice to lift ourselves to God. We are so prideful that we refuse to accept what we were created to be. We aren’t content to be in the image of God but we all desire to be a god. People misuse the Law to gain their own righteousness rather that recognizing their rightful place in relation to God. In God’s Law, He made provision for sins with various offerings. The problem was they had to be offered over and over because they could not change the sinner and often people, would do as they pleased and then use the offering as a cover, in the same way that many seek to use Grace today. The blood of Jesus covers our sin in the same way that the offerings covered offense but His sacrifice was a perfect sacrifice that covered all the sins of the world, for eternity. However, this is not salvation, but it opened the Way to salvation when He conquered death and rose to Life. His sacrificial death covers our sin but it is His Life that changes us, actually saves us FROM our sin. When our eyes are opened to Him and we recognize Him for Who He is, through faith He imparts His Life to us as the gift of eternal life as He begins to live His life in us and through us. This is the power that sanctifies us and molds us to be the person that God intended for us to be from the foundation of the world. What greater personal acceptance could there be than this act of sending His Son that our sins could be covered, permenently, that He might gift us with eternal life, literally salvaging us from the ravages of sin and death?

    I don’t know if you are a mom, heather. I’m a grandmom and I know what it is like to know who your children are in the most intimate way and then have them willfully give themselves over to the world and watch what the world does to them. Their bad choices and the things we all face out there can change those wonderful children into someone you feel you don’t know and they may do things that you simply can’t bear to know but you know who they really are deep down inside and that the potential still remains. Even if you can’t bear to know all that they have done or are doing, you still love those children and accept them the way they are. I think that is the way God is with us. He accepts who we really are just as we are and through Jesus gives us the power to reach our potential no matter our bad choices or what the world has done to us.

    This is hard…I hope I’m making sense! I’ve given you the theological version and the experiential version, I hope I haven’t botched both!

    Pam

  19. I love the intense interest! It shows that the people posting here are keenly interested in knowing who God is and who we are in relation to Him. We are like little children wanting to be like our father (or mother). Great stuff! Anyway, I am no expert on the topic and I am trying to nail down some of this stuff myself.

    I said; “When we repent and accept Jesus as Lord we no longer have to pay the penalty for our sins.” There is no loophole there. Accepting Jesus as Lord of your life means exactly that. If Jesus is Lord of your life you commit do His will and only His will. If you have truly done this you will not go around saying I have accepted Christ and yet neglect what Jesus taught and exampled. Your heart will be forever turned toward Godly ways.

    This is not something that you decide to do with just your mind. Your whole being has made the commitment and a miraculous change is done in you by the Holy Spirit. Once that transformation of your spirit has taken place it is unlikely (if not impossible) to go back to not wanting to do the will of God. It is not like we can be perfect, but we can be committed to being perfect, growing closer to perfection each time we do wrong and feel the Holy Spirits’ correction.

    That is the best way I can explain it, but it really can’t be explained fully. It has to be experienced and then you wonder why it was so hard to understand in the first place.

    Pam has some great stuff there to chew on also. This topic should be studied and understood much more than is done in most churches.

  20. Pam,

    I realize I’m disagreeing with you left and right, but I appreciate that we’re able to dialogue about this so calmly. 🙂 I hope it’s not coming across as, “Oh, Pam said something, gotta refute her because it’s Pam!” Because that is not my intention.

    **That is why no one was able to fulfill the Law. The Law gives us the right choices to make but we still want to do it under our own power of choice to lift ourselves to God.**

    My complication here is that I’m still not sure how the Law is defined. Nor do I think that’s how the Law worked in Judaism. Rather, following the Law was more of an outward sign of belonging to the covenant. Because by following the Law, a Jew would be showing that s/he has submitting to God and God’s will, and is allowing the grace of God to work through his/her life. By accepting the law, you are specifically saying that I’m not doing it in a prideful way. (I could be off, but this is how I see it based on what I’ve read). Yes, people could misuse this. But people misuse Christianity, as well. Much as one would demonstrate love in Christianity by loving others and trying to turn away from sin, the same would apply to Judaism: you’d demonstrate love that God has made a covenant and chosen you by following the Law. And in either case when there’s a mistake, you repent.

    **The blood of Jesus covers our sin in the same way that the offerings covered offense but His sacrifice was a perfect sacrifice**

    Do you know of one verse in the Tanakh that says only a blood sacrifice is the way to receive forgiveness? The other thing is that why would sins need to be covered: the way I read everything, the purpose was to eradicate evil, so that God may be all-in-all.

    **Even if you can’t bear to know all that they have done or are doing, you still love those children and accept them the way they are.**

    The problem I have here is that I still don’t see this as God accepting us they way they are. It’s more of an if-then statement. If someone accepts Jesus, then God will accept someone as they are. But when you decide to accept someone as they are, you can’t do an if-then statement. You don’t say that you can only accept the person so long as you see perfection — you take the person, flaws and all. If your child or grandchild did something bad, and then came to you for help or just acceptence because they didn’t know what to do with the bad thing, would you say that you couldn’t look at the child/grandchild or accept him/her until you saw perfection in that child? Because if you say that, then are you honestly accepting that child? Or does your acceptence come with conditions? And if you need that perfection in the place of the child, then you’re not accepting the child, you’re accepting the perfection.

    Now, I’m not saying that we don’t help the child to become better, or just let the child do what s/he wants. Acceptence is saying, “I acknowledge all the flaws, and things you have done.” But it’s also helping the person overcome those flaws, if the person wants help. It could be argued that this isn’t acceptence, either, but the difference here is that you never see another person, or perfection, in the first person’s place.

  21. Okay people – time to address something – which I see floating in the comments and need some explaining – these Christian-isms – which border being ‘cliches’.

    “true spiritual rebirth” (Pam) – Okay, I think this does happen but what is it? What are the qualifications for labeling someone’s conversion a ‘true rebirth’?

    “just as you are” (Heather) – Actually Heather, I am not sure this line is the gospels or letters at all – it’s a ‘made up thing by some evangelizers’. Do you think God has to accept us as ‘we are’? If so, why?

    “image of Christ” (Pam) – What does this mean? A reflection of Jesus (like looking in the water) – or we shape out lives into his image? If so, how does he look? Do his looks change from culture to culture, person to person?

    “Jesus as Lord of your life” (Ken) – Alright – this is pure cliché. Explain what ‘Lord’ means and what it all encompasses. How does this look exactly? How will someone know Jesus is actually Lord of their life – since we cannot see Jesus?

    “perfect” (Ken) – This idea has been tossed around – so what is perfection? We can talk about perfect – but lets try define it.

    I think the convo is awesome also – but I thought I would address these slogans – since we use them like they are ‘true’ – but do we know what they mean? I think if we look into defining our ideas we will get a better picture of where the ‘law’ resides in the whole ordeal.

  22. How is it that anyone calling themselves a Christian can even entertain the idea that homosexuality is acceptable to God?

    The Old Testament is totally unnecessary for understanding this!

    “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor 6:9-10

    If you think it is okay for people to miss the kingdom of God, then it is okay for them to practice homosexuality. It’s that simple.

    The love of God transcends (and occasionally suspends) the Law, but it finds no common ground with the spirit of lawlessness apparent in the world, media, and homosexual culture of our day. God’s love means certain things, and one of them is no phony relationships as all homosexual relationships are.

  23. Easy BB, because Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners – quite simply put. But also the idea that ‘God is love’ plays a huge part in it for me – which has to mean God loves people that are gay also (no discrimination here).

    Now if we want to control the idea of hope and salvation – over and above God – then be my guest. But as of now, I cannot see a God that dislikes gay people just because they are gay. Christ still died for them and as he did for us.

    If we are going to judge them on their works – I’d be wary there – is being gay a ‘work’? Now if said gay people want to kill you – then yeah that’s a true problem. But if said gay person lives their life and troubles you not – no problem actually exists at all – unless we make their sexual agenda the problem – and we could do this for almost 1/2 of the western population – young mothers, kids born out of wedlock, kids that have sex, cheaters, porn addicts, etc. But for some reason that group (gay contingent) is the one singled out – like they did something worse than the rest – so bad God wouldn’t love them.

    I go by the motto ‘if God loves me – I have no right not to love you’. Basically, I am not going to control or portion out how I use the love God has given me – that would be judgmental of people. So I have no problem with gay people – they are humans just like us.

  24. I have no problem agreeing with you that God loves people who decide to behave homosexually.

    Let us make some comparisons between homosexuals and, say, the covetous. Paul says no person who is of either will inherit the Kingdom of God, correct?

    Yet the covetous are not trying to get “coveting” to be accepted in the Church, they’re not trying to get openly covetous people to become ministers into churches. There are no covetous marches at our national capitals, and tv shows do not fire actors for accusing others of covetous behavior. No one is trying to publish childrens books claiming covetousness is an acceptable lifestyle. Yet all these things are true of homosexuality.

    And then when someone steps in and says, “That is a bunch of lies!” They are immediately branded intolerant or (in a twisted redefinition of the word) “bigoted”. And they say, “God loves homosexuals!” And, “You’re not any more rightous on your own are you?”

    Obviously! When was that the issue?

    The Bible condemns homosexuality. That was what you called contradictory in the beginning of this post, and that is what I responded to.

    Have I done wicked things in my life? Yes! But do I go around saying that my wickedness is okay? No way! If I do, I am in good need of a firm rebuke. Maybe the homosexuals don’t need this because they are already aware of their lawlessness, but those who call themselves Christians and yet openly approve of homosexuality do need a rebuke.

  25. “The Bible condemns homosexuality. That was what you called contradictory in the beginning of this post, and that is what I responded to.” (BB)

    I never called it contradictory – Yael did. And what she called into question was that Christians are very quick to point to the Torah as proof homosexuality is bad – all the while those some people believe the Torah is fulfilled.

    That being said, even Yael (a jewish follower) says the Torah might not be as clear-cut as we make it to be. She sent me to a site regarding the idea of homosexuality in the Toarh and how this can be seen as different now – very interesting read indeed.

    “but those who call themselves Christians and yet openly approve of homosexuality do need a rebuke” (BB)

    Is this what you believe is your role here? To rebuke someone over their personal support of gay people? I have told you personally I do support gay rights – ie: they have access to all the same rights I do. I told you my stance about their equality in the church – they have the right to be around the rest of us ‘whom Christ sacrificed his life for – while yet in our sins’. Where did I go wrong exactly to deserve a ‘rebuke’?

    And you example of covetousness and homosexuality is very lacking. If we take covetousness to mean greed of some sort – then explain 1/2 of the behaviors in Capitalist countries in this drive for more money? This is the very reason most gay communities do the parades and what not – because Capitalism is also that way (which is a system built on greed – ask any person that actually wholly divulges themselves into Capitalist ideology). If you ask me, the raping of other indigenous countries so we can live good in the West – is much worse than some gay person flaunting in a parade. And for that matter Capitalism eats up more air-time than anything else and is taught as a widely in every school. Yet this is the core thing that leads to greed and individualism – and forgoes the depth of what ‘community’ means.

    So we wanna go there – as far as the worst possible sins – well – look at the idea 85% of the wealth that we know of is owned by 1% of the people – now that’s a damn crime/sin.

  26. SocietyVS,
    Good comment. People are ever quick to denounce the things that don’t affect them personally, while seeing nothing wrong with those things in which they themselves indulge.

    Perhaps we should also take the harm done by the US military’s squandering of resources and exploitation of countries around the world add this to the individual military members’ mistreatment of foreign nationals both in peacetime and during times of war and compare it to the ‘harm’ done by lesbian couples who worship at my shul.

    Somehow I think the US military has done far greater harm to the morals of people around the world than these couples trying to quietly live out their lives the same as everyone else. Yet Christians have no qualms about serving in and/or supporting the military? Interesting….

    Yael

  27. Yael,

    I am quick to agree with you that people are quick to denounce the things that don’t affect them personally. I admit that homosexuality is not something I am really tempted to pursue. My beautiful wife makes that dark path difficult to find tempting. Yet I do identify with homosexuals in this regard: I am guilty of putting band-aids on my spiritually corrupt ways.

    Now that I have addressed your accusation, you have an obligation to your own words to answer this question: If people tend to get bent out of shape over sins and choices that are not their own, then why do you and Jason spend so many words accusing the US of its global ‘sins’?

    I would like to know.

    Is it because you are tempted to go ‘exploiting other countries’ (as you understand that expression) or is it that you are perhaps that you have some political influence in the US and are now confessing for your crimes?

    …Or is it the case that these vagueries which you slander blanketly upon an entire nation over many years has nothing to do with temptations that you yourself face personally?

    “Perhaps we should also take the harm done by the US military’s squandering of resources and exploitation of countries around the world add this to the individual military members’ mistreatment of foreign nationals both in peacetime and during times of war and compare it to the ‘harm’ done by lesbian couples who worship at my shul.”

    The truth of your comparison only holds in its superficiality. I’m serious!

    The harm faced by Iraquis is harsh and no one would ever want to have it, for most people it is better than Saddam and we will all die one day anyway. The harm the lesbian couples do to themselves is invisible and has the potential to last forever. The Iraquis may be alienated from their own land, but those who practice sin are alienated from themselves. Your accusation suggests only the former means anything.

  28. “Is this what you believe is your role here? To rebuke someone over their personal support of gay people?” SocietyVS

    My role is to tell people about the cure for their sins and to distance myself from counterfeits.

    You have not openly said whether or not you approve of homosexuality, only that you support their ‘rights’ and consider them equals in the church. I take this to mean you do not believe homosexual behavior to be wrong.

    My fear is that someone will read this blog and think, “Everyone seems to think homosexuality is okay. Even the burning bush posts and recommends those who approve of it. So sure, why not?”

    My conscience is not brave enough to accept this possibility, and it will seek to escape the heavy responsibility associated with it.

    We have different views as to who the Bible speaks to. You think it speaks to socio-economic communities, where I think it speaks to the single individual. This I can overlook, but I cannot allow myself to be associated with calling perverse sin acceptable in God’s sight.

    This then is what you must do. You must remove the link to my blog from your blog. It is fine if you criticize me openly for making you do this (I will take all the blame for it), but you must remove the link to my blog.

    The only other option I give you is to create a new post saying that you consider homosexual behavior sin. It is fine to say God loves homosexuals, or even that you think there are other sins that are worse … or even that homosexuals should have such-and-such political rights. But if you wish for me to have anything to do with your site, you must say that you believe homosexual behavior to be sin.

    With that note, I take leave of your blog. I will remove the link from my blog to your own.

    We had some good discussions, and I will continue to pray for your well-being. May the Lord guide those who trust in Him!

  29. “If people tend to get bent out of shape over sins and choices that are not their own, then why do you and Jason spend so many words accusing the US of its global ‘sins’?” (BB)

    I did mine mainly for comparison reasons – like the idea of a log and toothpick in certain eyes (ie: the scale we are judging this on). I also mentioned the West – not the USA – God forbid I ever speak a word of criticism against ‘God’s land’ and it’s holy flag (sarcasm).

    It seems to me you are jumping on a ‘small’ issue and do not believe the ‘bigger’ one is of any importance. I say, let’s look at bigger issues than condemning gay people for their lifestyles (of the which we do not see) – another exmaple could be the fact we have ghetto’s in America and reserves in Canada? How come as spiritual people this does not bother us? I think dealing with poverty in those climates is much more Christ-centred than arguing over gay and faith.

    “The harm faced by Iraquis is harsh and no one would ever want to have it, for most people it is better than Saddam and we will all die one day anyway. The harm the lesbian couples do to themselves is invisible and has the potential to last forever.” (BB)

    Huh? You just made the comparison between muder/death and being gay – and being gay is worse…you’re kidding right? What kind of scale are you using here exactly?

    I know if I have to judge the scenario – murder/death is far worse and has longer historical implications than gay couples having the right to exist. That’s like yikes dude.

    Even if we go by the eternal aspects of it – it’s still the same – why? Cause we are not in eternity (and we have no clue how that looks) we are on earth in present time watching things presently unfold before our eyes. I have never had a problem with a gay person that I (and they) could not talk out – I am not sure I can say that for some Iraqi who has bullets whiizzing over his head.

  30. I also was merely using an example which would hit close to home. A person is bothered that lesbians live quietly amongst us going about their own business but can see no harm being done by military actions ever? OK. Glad that works for him.

    My comments do not reflect some evil agenda. As a citizen of the United States I have the right and obligation to express my concerns about the actions of my government. As a military veteran I have the obligation to speak up about military abuses.

    As with most fundies I have encountered, BB can rebuke with impunity, but as soon as someone turns the tables the toys are packed up in a huff and they’re gone. Always in righteous indignation with the tag line of I’ll be praying that you will see the error of your ways….

    Fortunately I’m not treated to such things since as a Jew I’m worse than nothing. Cool. I don’t mind.

    Yael

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s