Christianity Creates a New Antagonist?

Comment lifted from ‘Christians Who Want to Keep God’s Law Righteousness Sake” (Old Adam)

I don’t think Paul got all his theology fron the Torah and the Prophets. I think He got a lot of it directly from the creator Himself” (Steve) 

Logically, there is no way Paul does not get all his theology from Torah and Prophets.

Philippians 3:5-6 “circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.”

Everything Paul seems to know about God comes from his background in Torah and Prophets – his Jewish studies. In Paul’s teachings he references (as authority) the teachings within the Torah/Prophets – as proof his message has validity – concerning Jesus.

I am not saying God was not involved with Paul’s change and choices afterwards – I think God was involved. However, the way the church interprets Paul makes for some very questionable things Paul is saying – which I am thinking he himself struggled with – and law was right up there.

Paul’s view of the law seems to be in the ritual keeping of it – to the tee – and this is the measure of a person’s faith (as a Pharisee). Well that view has all but vanished from Jewish circles (and was only one of many views even in its day) – and I am not sure how strongly held this belief is anymore (in Conservative Jewish circles anyways). But all of Paul’s works/letters come from this stringent view of the law – and that’s all we know about the law…but the law is a lot different in Jewish circles than in Christian circles – why? Cause Paul only gave us one limited view of it.

We just don’t rely on the law for our righteousness. That comes directly from God (Jesus).” (Steve)

Oddly enough – so does the law/Torah. I will ask ‘who do you think the Law comes from?’ Man? If the law comes from God – then how can one say we can be righteous aside from it? What standard or measure are we comparing to that we can say ‘yes, this is the right/just thing to do’? Jesus? Jesus is rabbinical in nature and even teaches on Torah law.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, was lining up for us all the ways in which we are to behave that are virtually impossible for us to live up to as sinful creatures” (Steve)

This line of reasoning is illogical. Let’s say me and you are taking a class in math. All the teacher does is lay down teachings that show the errors in math or math so advanced we cannot even fathom where to start. Then he says ‘well I know it so you can all pass the test based on my knowledge’. Is this a good teacher?

Matt 10:24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master

Jesus lays this teaching down to his disciples – who I may add actually do the same things as Jesus when asked. If we are to follow the example Jesus laid down teachings we cannot follow (only he could) then this teaching above is a ‘lie’. The disciple is a student to the teacher – this is accurate Jewish terminology – and Jesus is asking his students to be like him and this is good enough (if they exceed what he taught even better).

Matt 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

(a) What about Paul – does his life exceed that of his former Pharisee lifestyle concerning righteousness? I would contend it does.

(b) Jesus is seen battling with Pharisees a lot in the gospels – namely in Matthew. He has some harsh words for those guys at times – but what one term does he always fall back on when addressing them? In Matthew alone Jesus calls the Pharisee’s ‘hypocrites’ or what they do ‘hypocritical’ 14 times (that’s once every 2 chapters on average). This is his favorite term for them.

(c) It is no accident Jesus picks Paul to knock of a horse into the dirt – and show him his blindness. Paul is well known to be a zealous Pharisee – an extremist if you will. Paul is the classic example of Jesus picking out a Pharisee that used an extreme interpretation to justify all his actions (including murder).  

In essence, Jesus does not do away with the law – which is the point of Matthew 5:17-20 – but chooses to uphold/fulfill it (its true form). The Pharisees are set-up as the antagonist in the gospels – as the people that were against Jesus all the time. What were they really against except the way Jesus taught? Jesus was not being hypocritical in his teachings – nor making it too hard for others to follow his teachings (which was the essential knock on the Pharisee’s – so they could prove how much better they were than others by following their own interpretations).

If you think about the irony in all this – Christians are now falling into the same trap. They are holding up Jesus as this perfect example that no one can mimic – and he followed all his own teachings – but us poor slobs could never do that – we just don’t have that ability. We have created a teacher that is better than us – and better than everyone else – we are now the antagonists – the Pharisee’s of the gospels.

The whole thing is that the law is good, but Jesus is better. The law helps us, but can never save us. Jesus alone can save us.” (Steve)

Jesus is better than God given Law/words to humanity? Even if Jesus were the ‘word of God’ as some take from John 1:1 – he would have to uphold what the words of God were to Moses at Sinai – or he’d be lying (he would be going against his own words apparently – which is also hypocritical).

The law is not meant to save – it is meant to provide one with the choices to make a good/just lifestyle (to find life) – and to protect/guide society. In one sense it does save – it can save one from making some seriously bad choices in life (ie: like murder or stealing or adultery). It serves as a guide to one’s life – which is how most people use the bible.

The action of saving – is a God thing – like in the Exodus. But salvation and law are not really that closely connected when you think about it. God does not determine His salvation based on the teachings of the law – since there is no law about God’s salvation and when and where it can happen. But what is clear – if there is salvation – it will lead one to respect God and the law/Torah (the words of God). This seems like the inevitable path concerning ‘leaving’ and ‘coming’ to God in the prophets.

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21 thoughts on “Christianity Creates a New Antagonist?

  1. On a side note, I am not saying all Pharisee’s were bad or were hypocritical – I am using the gospelic generalization concerning how they are viewed by the writer of the Matthew gospel to prove a simple point – concerning being just according to the law. I think there was some hypocrisy in Jesus’ day amongst the religious establishment – as there is hypocrisy today amonst religious establishments – that’s it.

  2. I think you have the right perspective here, Jason. The only addition would be to say that the perfect godliness of Jesus is above our ability to mimic, which is why we need him as our savior. In some Christian circles we see believers doing some things admirably and some things wrong. But when they are called on it, they say, “Hey, I’m trying to live like Jesus lived!” (i.o.w. “leave me alone”)

    As we continue in our sanctification – moving towards Christlikeness – our theme is not to boast about what we do well but focus on what we need to improve on. Once our sanctification is turned over to relativism, we are going backwards. I think that’s what happened to the Pharisees of Jesus’s day. “I’m living under the Law, leave me alone..look at you, you’re praying like a beggar and you have spinach in your teeth, etc.” 🙂

    Our teacher has to be perfect, or else we would surpass him like we often surpass our teachers. Then at some point in the future, the teacher becomes irrelevant.

    But what is clear – if there is salvation – it will lead one to respect God and the law/Torah (the words of God).

    Self-righteousness is anathema to salvation and to the law. By raising up their own righteousness, the Pharisees whom Jesus addressed were violating the very first commandment. By raising themselves, they lowered God, at least in their hearts. That is the main reason they didn’t recognize the Christ. When Jesus called them hypocrites, that was the primary reason: they confessed the Lord as one God then acted as if they were partners to some degree.

    If that’s the Christian antagonist you describe then I agree. But the antagonist is often standing in a pulpit on Sunday morning, flirting with being “holier than thou”. Not unlike the Pharisees whom Jesus faced in the Temple in Matthew 23.

    Even if Jesus were the ‘word of God’ as some take from John 1:1 – he would have to uphold what the words of God were to Moses at Sinai – or he’d be lying

    This was well-put.

  3. The only addition would be to say that the perfect godliness of Jesus is above our ability to mimic, which is why we need him as our savior” (Jim)

    I would disagree – the teachings of a teacher (which Jesus is called quite a bit) must be made useful by the ability for the student to ‘follow them’ (a Matthew theme). The ability to be like the teacher is what Jesus is asking from his students – even up and unto the point of the ‘cross’

    Matt 10:38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me

    It is an unworthy thing of the student to say to the teacher ‘we can follow all but one of your teachings – the follow part’. Even with the cross (which Jesus was made to suffer) we are not given the exemption because ‘he did it for us’.

    But does being a savior mean that we cannot be like our teacher? Isn’t the point of the gospel it’s saving grace? A salvific lifestyle?

    Our teacher has to be perfect, or else we would surpass him like we often surpass our teachers. Then at some point in the future, the teacher becomes irrelevant.” (Jim)

    Not if the teachings come from God. I am not sure what perfection has to do with anything to be honest. Jesus makes a statement about the student becoming like the teacher – and that is enough. Anything less – and we obviously quit paying attention in his class.

    Luke 6:40 “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

    Luke gets the teacher idea and flushes it out a bit. Luke is making the statement we should be like our teacher…something Jesus saw no problem in. Now we might (in our times) elaborate on what Jesus said and did – this is a solid fact in Christian circles. But the goal – in the very least – is to be like the teacher (ie: follow what he said, taught, and lived). This is possible – thus having teachings to follow.

    By raising themselves, they lowered God, at least in their hearts.” (Jim)

    That is debateable – since this is not what Jesus knocks them for. I think in Christian circles this may be what we knock them for – but it’s not scriptural (it’s a read in). Jesus uses the term ‘hypocrisy’ (acting) – and this is what he knocks them for…which would be subtle misrepresentation of God somehow – or the Torah.

    It seems in Jesus’ outrage with this group – he is going after people that are zealous for the law – they are zealous to a point of extremism…focusing on some issues too much and others get swept under the rug. Jesus does not knock the law or anything of the sort – but knocks the interpretation these people are living by.

    Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”

    In this example – and in a few others I could dig up from Matthew if need be – the point is not that law is bad. The problem is in the interpretation being used concerning the law. It seems these certain Pharisee’s are concerned with correct matters of the law – the tithe. Problem is they may be overlooking other aspects of the law – or misconstruing the part about tithe laws – to their own benefit. Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing quite another – and in this example they are doing the law but also neglecting aspects of it. Jesus’ concern here seems to be about balance.

    When Jesus called them hypocrites, that was the primary reason: they confessed the Lord as one God then acted as if they were partners to some degree.” (Jim)

    I agree to a certain extent. I think the people Jesus rails on are following the law – in that sense they are in come partnership with God. I think it is the interpretation that is the real problem – and what that is making people think and do to one another. We see this in extremism in our days also. Many good devout people of faith can actually murder some in cold blood and consider it ‘righteous’. Does their justification make it so? No. But their interpretation is faulty and they thought it wasn’t.

    I actually see Jesus going after some extremes in his personal examples he gives also – like the people of extremism in our days – they consider duty to God greater than duty to their fellow human citizens…and humans can become expendable to their belief system at some point. This is in total error of what God would want. We should be able to love God and love out neighbor – one should not cancel the other out at any point…extremism does not quite think this way.

    If that’s the Christian antagonist you describe then I agree” (Jim)

    To me, the problem Jesus had with the Pharisee group in Matthew 5:20 is their inability to truly keep the whole intent of the law. They were being faithful to God – and of someone got hurt in the process (ie: a widow lost her home) – they were just doing their duty. The problem was that’s not the whole of the law – ie: what about mercy, justice, and faithfulness towards people and their personal situations?

    We still see this very commonly in our personal societies. If someone cannot pay a bill – maybe a single mother with 2 infants…the utility company does not care about the person – they just have to do their duty to the rules. So some people get hurt by the rules system that acts callously and without concern for the human effected.

    The new antagonist I am bringing up in the blog is the idea Jesus’ teachings cannot be actually done – they are perfect and we cannot do perfect – thus we see a teacher giving us guidelines we cannot follow (and yet asks us to). That my friend is also hypocritical.

    We know for a fact we have a few books (and letters) with commandments, teachings, and rules of thumb to follow. But if we cannot follow them – then who cares about the teachings…I would also say ‘the teacher has taught – but taught way over our heads’. Is that a good teacher? If your kids had a teacher like that in their elementary school – would you say ‘thats a bad teacher’? I would say ‘yes’ – that’s a bad teacher.

    It is hypocritical to have someone say this “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15) – and then give us commandments we cannot keep.

  4. I would disagree – the teachings of a teacher (which Jesus is called quite a bit) must be made useful by the ability for the student to ‘follow them’ (a Matthew theme). The ability to be like the teacher is what Jesus is asking from his students – even up and unto the point of the ‘cross’

    No,no,no. A teacher who teaches Math will not necessarily be perfect in Math. Imagine then a Teacher of Math who is the perfect Math. That’s Jesus when it comes to godliness in a man. Impossible to surpass, of course, but a goal we will always have.

  5. “That’s Jesus when it comes to godliness in a man. Impossible to surpass, of course, but a goal we will always have” (Jim)

    I guess if one has to see it that way – it may very well be possible. I take Jesus as messiah – rabbi figure – taught on the law to his disciples (students) – an authority of sorts. Not saying I quite have that figured out – but that’s how I see Jesus.

  6. “I take Jesus as messiah – rabbi figure – taught on the law to his disciples (students) – an authority of sorts.” -SVS

    i’m with you here… and what type of Rabbi? back in the day people would go study the Torah and then go learn a trade… if they were really good at Torah they’d continue their studies and end up studying under a Rabbi. This is a vast oversimplification of the process, but for time’s sake, it’s close enough.

    Jesus comes to collect those who WEREN’T good enough to study under a rabbi. All the disciples were tradesmen that didn’t make it to that level of study. If you look at Jesus he’s not only RATCHETING up the law (you have heard it said… but i say) he also has nothing to do with piety or respectability (prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers and “sinners”).

    So to think we have to be “perfect” or lead a pious life is really a gentile notion that the whole of the Gospels reject. Perfection is Paul’s concern but not Jesus. Jesus’ ministry is for those misfits and punks of the first century. his ministry is from the edges, the marginalized of society.

    More on this in my post this sunday from my sermon “Jesus is Punk Rock”

    RAWK

  7. “Impossible to surpass, of course, but a goal we will always have” -Jim

    Jesus doesn’t think so. He states that the things he has done, we can do and greater than these (John 14:12).

  8. Isn’t there a saying about how the greatest thing a teacher can witness is his/her pupil surpass the teacher? Or something along those lines.

    **I would also say ‘the teacher has taught – but taught way over our heads’. Is that a good teacher? If your kids had a teacher like that in their elementary school – would you say ‘thats a bad teacher’? I would say ‘yes’ – that’s a bad teacher. **

    That is the biggest complication I see with the idea of no one being able to be as perfect as Jesus, and yet expected to try anyway. As Society is noting here, are there any other circumstances where that is a healthy thing to do to a child? Say the child wants to learn piano. If the teacher says, “You’ll never be able to perfectly play, but you have to try anyway,” what does that do to the child? Will the child then fully try to play piano?

    We live in a society where we find that the best teacher/parents are those who tell their children they can be anything they want, they can achieve their dreams, and so forth. What we don’t tell the children is that they can never reach this goal, and so someone else did it for them, because we wouldn’t find that a healthy thing to do.

  9. Many say that Jesus was the greatest teacher of the law, ever. But, what if his intention wasn’t to teach the law in a way that we could follow it, rather, He taught it in a way that would make it impossible to follow? I believe his goal was to teach the law so severely that we would have to finally admit that we needed someone to save us FROM the law! He was setting up the Christ-event. He was preparing us to not only look forward to, but cry out for, a savior. I don’t think for a minute that he expected us to be like him. He wanted to become, for us, everything that we could not be… on our behalf. He wanted to give us his righteousness, free of charge.

    It’s supposed to be “good news”, right?

    Too bad most folks don’t/can’t believe that.

  10. SVS—“I take Jesus as messiah – rabbi figure

    Contradictory. Which is it? The Messiah – Promised ONE of GOD – or a rabbi figure?

    Luke–Jesus was talking about quantity of works, not quality.

    Your sermon is called “Jesus is punk rock”? If there’s anybody in your congregation over the age of twelve, give them my condolences..

    RAWK 🙂

  11. “Jesus was talking about quantity of works, not quality. ”

    well i’m glad he came right out and said that. oh wait, he didn’t. guess interpretation has a part to play in reading of the scriptures.

    and as for your condolences, you’ll just have to read the sermon for yourself on sunday. it’ll be on the blog.

  12. and as for your condolences, you’ll just have to read the sermon for yourself on sunday. it’ll be on the blog.

    Looking forward to it.

    On one point, I’m confused on whether you are saying that we are more important than Jesus Christ. Could you clarify?

  13. Contradictory. Which is it? The Messiah – Promised ONE of GOD – or a rabbi figure?(JJ)

    From my understanding the Jews didnt see their Messiah as God, he was supposed to be a Man, so I dont think its much of a contradiction, right?

  14. “On one point, I’m confused on whether you are saying that we are more important than Jesus Christ. Could you clarify?”

    what good would be a messiah or savior if he comes and no one passes on the word or lives to his message. Jesus without us is useless… us without Jesus are lost. it’s a two way street and Jesus seems to have a pretty positive outlook that we’ll continue on in his ways.

  15. “Isn’t there a saying about how the greatest thing a teacher can witness is his/her pupil surpass the teacher? Or something along those lines.” (OSS)

    I have heard this saying also – at least – this is the thought of the ‘teacher’. If one’s teacher is a great scientist – do they not want you to build on their work and hope for more advancement in the specific field? I would say the same about theology.

    “But, what if his intention wasn’t to teach the law in a way that we could follow it, rather, He taught it in a way that would make it impossible to follow?” (Bruced)

    I have heard this quite a bit within Evangelical circles – I would ask what proof do we have this is so? There must be something Jesus said or did that can solidify this position?

    “I don’t think for a minute that he expected us to be like him. He wanted to become, for us, everything that we could not be… on our behalf. He wanted to give us his righteousness, free of charge” (Bruced)

    I am going to go on record here – I think imputed righteousness is illogical and very unlikely. This hangs everything upon God – and nothing upon me.

    (a) Vicarious righteousness is not something taught within Jewish circles – nor is there any precedent for it – it’s never been a teaching within the religion Jesus came out of – and this is the same God according to Christianity.

    (b) Vicarious righteousness is a flawed premise. It builds upon an idea that does not work in reality/real living. No where is someone applied the work of another to their credit. If I buy a house it does not mean everyone else in my culture is now all of a sudden above the ‘poverty line’. Same culture – different people. Nor does it work if someone committs a crime against another person – his family or children do not bare the burden of his actions – this is why we have law in the first place.

    (c) Vicarious righteousness tells me, in a round about way, that no matter what actions I take in life – good or bad – it’s irrelevant – everything has been covered by the actions of another (greater than me). Then what is the use of law in the first place? Law exists to govern the actions of a society and provide justice.

    There can be no justice if one man’s death paid the price for everyone’s actions for all time – which includes stuff like murder, rape, and incest. The Christian that holds this view – will not actively seek justice anymore – there is no need to – all has been taken care of already (no matter the actions of a person).

    (d) It is a very low moral ethic in my personal opinion. It is the opposite of the idea all have to be ‘perfect’ to enter heaven – which is also rather repulsive viewpoint. But just because one view exists and needs the opposite to counter it – does not mean it is balanced enough to be considered truthful. A world without law is likely a place you would not want your kids to grow up in.

    (e) It makes no sense that Jesus followed the law perfectly so we could be ‘free from it’. Jesus fulfilled the law so we would not have to – right? That makes no sense – not even according to the standards of any law in any society. Also – Jesus then uses the law as his foundation for us to be free from it – which is strange. Jesus uses the authority of the law to break it? Jesus’ also then breaks away from the God of the Tanakh – by finishing the law once for all – which is huge shift from what God had originally laid down in the Torah/Law – this lead many early communities into considering dualism (OT God and NT God).

    “Too bad most folks don’t/can’t believe that.” (Bruced)

    I know I don’t believe that because logically I would have to be believing something that makes no sense. Where does Jesus teach us something that cannot be done? Does he specifically mention this cannot be done? If not, where does this viewpoint come from?

    “Contradictory. Which is it? The Messiah – Promised ONE of GOD – or a rabbi figure?” (Jim)

    Messiah means ‘anointed one’ – not ‘promised one’. A Rabbi can very well be an ‘anointed one’ – since they are teachers of the law (authorities on it). For Jesus to teach on law (which he does in Matthew 5) he must have some of this training. An example in Luke shows a young Jesus sitting and debating with the priests of the day concerning law. It seems obvious to me Jesus is teaching straight for Torah concerning many parables and teachings. Jesus, in Matthew, is made to be authority in what he is teaching. I say he is a rabbi messiah figure – as was his claim (messiah) and the claims made about him (teacher).

  16. ” I believe his goal was to teach the law so severely that we would have to finally admit that we needed someone to save us FROM the law! He was setting up the Christ-event. He was preparing us to not only look forward to, but cry out for, a savior. I don’t think for a minute that he expected us to be like him. He wanted to become, for us, everything that we could not be… on our behalf. He wanted to give us his righteousness, free of charge. ” Bruce D

    I don’t think this is G-d plan in sending Jesus. I don’t think Jesus gave us a harder law or is trying to be something we are not. I think he was trying to teach us how to live the “spirit” of the Jewish law and not the “letter” of the law. For example, where does lust originate? Not only in the act of commiting adultery/fornication, but also in the heart where we first conceive and then plan and scheme to commit the act. Where do we commit murder, blasphemy (if there is such a crime) or theft? It’s very rarely that someone just does that as a random act, it is usually planned out.

    I don’t think Jesus was trying to “save” us or “redeem” or “buy” us. I think this type of thinking needs to be done with. It doesn’t mean anything. If anything, Jesus was trying to show us how to live within the system of the law. Now as a Gentile we need to understand the “spirit” of what Jesus was trying to do and not get caught up in the myths of christianity.

  17. “Not only in the act of commiting adultery/fornication, but also in the heart where we first conceive and then plan and scheme to commit the act.

    To elaborate my earlier point, this planning and scheming in the heart, is the more important part because it is where will find the root cause of why we commit the acts of “sin” or break laws. The spirit of Jesus’ teaching is “examing WHY you commit the act, rather than just punishing the act. ” If you examine why, you can deal with your “sin” and really repent and change your behavior.

  18. “If you examine why, you can deal with your “sin” and really repent and change your behavior” (Wolf)

    I would also add that if you deal with the root problem – which is your thinking – then you will not committ a serious sin concerning ‘anger’ or ‘lust’. Those thoughts being in yoru head and are not sins at that point – they are merely thoughts…but once we let a thought become entrenched in plans or actions – then we are going to move to the level of committing a ‘sin’. But why not strike at the root of the problem? Makes sense to me and I think this is something we can do to prevent ourselves from ‘hurting others’.

  19. So instead of Jesus’ purpose to provide the world with the most incredible, life-changing revelation creation has ever known… he came to teach us how to be moral?

  20. “So instead of Jesus’ purpose to provide the world with the most incredible, life-changing revelation creation has ever known… he came to teach us how to be moral?” (Bruced)

    But isn’t your statement also about morality? I noticed you put ‘life changing’ in the sentence – I am guessing from one type of being (immoral) to that of another state of being (moral). Isn’t the goal of humanity to become more ethical in all aspects of their behavior towards one another?

    I find very little in the gospels to show that Jesus wasn’t directly concerned with people’s treatment of one another – this seemed to be his focus. If we go down that route – we love God and love our neighbor – which are moral ideals. Teachings on equality, responsibility, sincerity, respect, and mercy all speak to our treatment of other people – from a God that seems to care about that. So if we focus on caring about others – we are being what God created us to be – loving (like Him I would add).

    The life-changing aspect is the teachings. We go from people that are self-centred and im-balanced to people at least seeking new ways of treating people, foundational guidance for our decisions, and finding a balance to our lives. I still think that is life changing – in more than just some way that simply effects me – but also in my treatment of society around me. Everything seems to be changed by the enacting of the ideals.

    I think it is a partnership with God in that sense. Kind of like ‘I will keep the morals you have given and construct from them’. It is not being perfect – but simply like a marriage covenant – in which are required to be faithful – not perfect. In all things we do – we do for our thankfulness for the guidance given by God. It also gives us a basic fiundational standard we bounce our decisions and actions off of – to determine where and what we need to work on.

    For example, I quit stealing a long time ago (17 years old maybe – 16 years ago). However, I have stole after that a few times. Do I feel like I am justified for my actions? No…they were the wrong thing to do and I need to make those things right – if and how I can. It means – I can make no excuse for my behavior when I knew better than what I did. I can then look to the standard and examine my actions accordingly. Basically, whether I like it or not – I have to pay for the stuff I desire.

    I also can use that standard to help me judge situations I am not sure about – and what direction I will take. If someone steals from a confectionary store – a nameless entity – and they are poor and in need of food – is this right (Jean Van Jean scenario)?

    No, the standard is the standard. It’s a deviation I am willing to have more than mercy/forgiveness upon though – and understand the personal situation of the person. The standard was broken for benefit of human life…something this company (nameless entity) may not be as forgiving about (for them the law might just be the law) – but I can be (since the intent of the law is to love my neighbor). Maybe I pay for the stuff he took – but as long as he is helped is really what is important. People are of more value than stuff.

    That’s how I view the law. I do not see hardship inside the teachings – but rather the benefit it is supposed to provide for the society and me within it.

    If someone says they have ‘fulfilled the law’ – then I wonder what they mean by that? How do you fulfill the idea ‘you should not committ adultery’ except by following the teaching? And this is what Jesus does say in Matthew 5:17. It isn’t like the law is looking for someone to do them all perfectly so it can be done away with…I am not sure that is how law functions at all. In fact, if someone does them all perfectly – they are doing the intention of what the law was set out for – to keep society ethical. There is no reward for that – except other people were blessed by your actions.

  21. “So instead of Jesus’ purpose to provide the world with the most incredible, life-changing revelation creation has ever known…he came to teach us how to be moral?” Bruce D

    Not even to teach us to be moral, but to remind humanity of the morality that was already there. What I mean, is that prophets do not call us to some new revelation, but remind us of the past standard which we have forgotten. Jesus called the Jews to remember the “spirit” of the law and to keep it. The greek philosophers called people to a morality based on reason, and Paul reminds humanity of that.

    That is the essence or the “spirit” of the gospels and the epistles. The rest is myths to support that. Jesus heals not show supernatural power exists, but to prove that love brings healing. Paul heals not to show supernatural ability, but to prove to the greeks that there is more to life than reason, there is power in love, which in a sense, is unreasonable.

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