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rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

The law of the Spirit provides what man needs in this world.


In Proverbs 2:

7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.

Who is 'He" in this section of Scripture?

What does it mean to be given the understanding of righteousness?

And how does this understanding liberate one from the law given on Mount Sinai?

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2006/6/1 15:00Profile
Compton
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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Jeff,

Your questions led to some fruitful meditation...and perhaps a few more questions of my own. Sometimes, posting our opinions can come across like "teaching" or at least postulating some position. Well, I post the following hazy thoughts only in an attempt to draw out discussion from other able saints.

Jesus said that unless our ”righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20). As a young Southern Baptist kid I grew up being taught that this verse was not talking about an actual experienced righteousness, but rather it was a codeword that meant the perfect imputed righteousness of Christ. Wonderful news I thought, yet what about the Sermon on the Mount, with it's Beatitudes, the exposition of the law, and the discourse on holiness? Jesus didn’t mention anything about imputation as he declared blessed are the meek and the poor in spirit. He seemed to imply that there really would be people who were meek and poor of spirit. Yet, as I child I was taught that these verses were simply foils for our spiritual pride, to would help us realize how hopelessly impossible God’s standard is, thereby humbling us to accept the Gospel of justification by Faith. Again, this certainly seemed reasonable to anyone equipped with the slightest modesty.

Yet we find Jesus publicly shaming the Pharisees…never mentioning Justification by faith. On the contrary he accuses them of something much more direct…he accuses them of observing the law only outwardly while resisting it inwardly. Like many of Jesus’ teachings there are two approaches to take with this episode in Matthew 23. One approach is to let the Sermon pass right by us, either spiritualizing it or isolating it within a dispensation not our own…that is to say that Jesus wasn’t talking to us, but was summing up the Old Covenant in total failure, before opening a new era. This approach says that Jesus’ main point was that the law was designed to help us see the futility of our own righteousness and make us ready to accept his atonement and imputed righteousness. Thinking this way, in my opinion may miss the mosaic (pun intended) portrait of God, that was contained in the Law. Again the promise of “imputed Righteousness” is glorious but I do not think we close the Bible at this point, satisfied with our forensic understanding of righteousness.

There is a second, less obtuse way to approach the Sermon on the Mount: square up and let it hit you full force with it's literal expectations. :-o Surviving the impact seems impossible, and certainly unprecedented in the 2000 years since Christ ascended. Can this approach be taken to it's fullest extent? I am skeptical and yet...

Having been Born Again, how can we ignore our thirst for living water, and our hunger for bread? Yet for much of modern evangelical Christianity, Jesus never really needed to grow up and offer his life giving words…most of our present Gospel could exist simply if the baby in the manger would have been discovered by King Herod, and carried straightaway in his swaddling clothes up to Golgotha to be crucified for our sins. Just what are redeemed Christians supposed to learn from Jesus’ preaching ministry? What man can ever live up to it’s standards? And if we dismiss the Sermon then what of Jesus’ complaint that the Pharisees observe the law but have no real inward righteousness? Are we to believe that we have dodged the Sermon on the Mount and outwitted the Pharisees simply by claiming Christian immunity, while remaining corrupt on the inside just like they were!? God forbid! Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

So I have more or less wrestled with two approaches to righteousness, one on my left and one on my right. Yet, recently I have come to see a third focus... it is held together by more then my uneven success as a Christian, or by forensic or legal claims of positional righteousness, but by the knowledge of the Holy Spirit for His patient, painstaking, compassionate and transforming ministry within my being.

” For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God.more than burnt offerings.”Hosea 6:6.

And again in Ephesians 1...“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

I am concluding that an understanding of Righteousness is not satisfied by the doctrine of imputed righteousness, nor is it limited to such goals of eradicating sin and doing good works. The understanding of Righteousness lies in knowing God as he wants us to know Him through the fellowship of Christ Jesus…not just His ways but His heart and thoughts. The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless, for the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

What the law began to do nationally, the Spirit achieves in inwardly. This intimate understanding, this indwelling fellowship with God through the accord of Jesus, liberates us not from the Spirit of the law, but from its stone letters because the author of the law Himself is writing it in our hearts, and teaching us about the Father. Even as we continue to stumble, our sin weary souls are drawn to the purity of the Beatitudes, if only to experience more of God's heart. And not only is He who is mentioned in Proverbs, the Spirit of Jesus living in us, teaching us about God’s heart from the inside out, but He also brings great power to raise our desires for righteousness. and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places.

In the end, I am not arguing of course against the liberating hope of imputed righteousness…but I am saying that this great doctrine is not the sum of the liberation contained in the Gospel. The Gospel is not to be filed under “justification” or “sinlessness” as is the preoccupation with many in the church today. Instead, I believe the Gospel is aimed at restoring fellowship between rebellous man and merciful God through Christ Jesus. More then the gift of forgiveness for my transgressions, the real hope of his calling is to once again hear the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. This fellowship with God's Spirit is Jesus' greatest gift to me, the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. The inevitable and irresistable outcome of this union is more then just an understanding of the stone tenants of righteousness, as 'do not touch this or taste that'....it is an invitation to touch and taste living bread so that we might know more of our God.

Today we may taste something of His righteous character, his great love, his just and perfect thoughts in very limited and imperfect portions. Yet it is these small tastes that nourish our souls from glory to glory through various trials, temptations, and tribulations, to press on towards that day when we will know Him as he truly is.

MC


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Mike Compton

 2006/6/2 3:22Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Brother Mike wrote:

Quote:
And if we dismiss the Sermon then what of Jesus’ complaint that the Pharisees observe the law but have no real inward righteousness?



Paul explains this a bit differently...

Romans 10:

2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Think of the time in which Jesus ministered to the nation of Israel. Jesus was condemned by the Pharisees because He did not obey their Talmud. Jesus obeyed the law given on Mount Sinai, yet disobeyed the laws created by men. So now look to what Paul says of this the Pharisees and their righteousness. Paul is pointing to the apostacy of the religious leadership of his day. He is pointing to the efforts of men obeying the law written by men.

2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

Here Paul states that these men lack knowledge.

3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness,

The lack of knowledge that Paul is point to is defined in the above Scripture.

They were ignorant of God's righteousness. They instead sought to establish their own righteousness.

Why did they lack the knowledge of God's righteousness?

"... have not submitted to the righteousness of God."


So here we find that they rejected what was available to them. What was available to them?

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Paul teaches in another place...

1 Corinthians 10

4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.


The law of the Spirit is God's provision for fallen man.

In Christ
Jeff



_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/6/2 12:46Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Brother Mike wrote:

Quote:
I am concluding that an understanding of Righteousness is not satisfied by the doctrine of imputed righteousness, nor is it limited to such goals of eradicating sin and doing good works. The understanding of Righteousness lies in knowing God as he wants us to know Him through the fellowship of Christ Jesus…



Prov. 10:20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.

Prov. 10:24 The fear of the wicked will come upon him,
And the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25 When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

Prov. 10:28 The hope of the righteous will be gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked will perish.

Prov. 10:30 The righteous will never be removed,
But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
But the perverse tongue will be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.

In the above verses look to what righteousness brings to those who are declared righteous by God. We know that all men, in their carnal minds, are unable to know God. They are unable to please God. They are enemies of God.

With Romans 3 firmly cemented in one's mind, what then enables these men and women to know, speak, and be righteous?

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2006/6/2 12:53Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Brother Mike wrote:

Quote:
What the law began to do nationally, the Spirit achieves in inwardly. This intimate understanding, this indwelling fellowship with God through the accord of Jesus, liberates us not from the Spirit of the law, but from its stone letters because the author of the law Himself is writing it in our hearts, and teaching us about the Father. Even as we continue to stumble, our sin weary souls are drawn to the purity of the Beatitudes, if only to experience more of God's heart. And not only is He who is mentioned in Proverbs, the Spirit of Jesus living in us, teaching us about God’s heart from the inside out, but He also brings great power to raise our desires for righteousness. and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places.



The love of the truth is powerful and able to set us free from the teachings of man.

Amen

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/6/2 12:57Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Brother Mike wrote:

Quote:
In the end, I am not arguing of course against the liberating hope of imputed righteousness…but I am saying that this great doctrine is not the sum of the liberation contained in the Gospel. The Gospel is not to be filed under “justification” or “sinlessness” as is the preoccupation with many in the church today.



Look to Proverbs for all the things that Wisdom empowers one to do...there you will find what God will do for those who ask...

God Bless

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/6/2 13:00Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

Quote:
Mike, do you ever wonder if the Biblical writers ever felt that way?



Yeah, Paul's "[i]I regret, but I do not regret[/i]" letter comes readliy to mind.. To think about the pause in there before the happy conclusion. A bit different in scope but...
Quote:
I think we would do better if we could have the courage to be honest about ourselves rather than hide behind tidy spiritual formulas or obsessions about sins (neither brings us closer to Christ)

Well said Diane. It is a nitty-gritty life and there are times where the well polished ... ah,.

It is just that, a life of honesty. Honest before God, honest about ourselves, before each other... especially over doubtful things, things we are still processing, grappling with.
Quote:
I think we have to accept the fact that learning to walk in our God-given freedom is a very personal – and even lonely journey. We can’t expect our churches, our families, or anyone to join us. In fact, we will always sense the pull towards the old way, because the entire world operates that way.

It is so true ultimately and wonderfully we do still have those who have gone before us to show us the way, to cause us to think even more honestly, even with each other here. Was thinking about this somewhat yesterday, [i]The pangs of suffering misunderstanding[/i]. How many different way's that can come about, how similar it is to be [i]the servant as His master[/i]. That though he was 'above it' in one great measure, still;

23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,46 you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you!47 How often I have longed48 to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but49 you would have none of it!50 23:38 Look, your house is left to you desolate! 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me from now until you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'"51 (Like this manner of translation!)(The NET Bible)

And this after all the [i]Woes[/i] ... True love if there was ever an expression of it.

I guess I am just tacking off your comment about our families to isolate it slightly ... To let them go to God, to entrust them into His care, to not defend ourselves or become insulted, nor to allow ourselves pity or become misled by our s-light suffering as Paul had it and either feel superior for it or depressed over it. It still stings, it still hurts, it hurts to love, it hurts that there is misunderstanding...

But there is also a peace that passages through everything, that 'evenness' that makes the right spiritual sense when we are walking in it... Perhaps that is it.

Some good words here sister.


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Mike Balog

 2006/6/2 15:59Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: the slave can rejoice in his freedom

Mike B wrote:

Quote:
…. our families … [b]to let them go to God, [/b] to entrust them into His care, to not defend ourselves or become insulted, nor to allow ourselves pity or become misled by our s-light suffering as Paul had it and either feel superior for it or depressed over it. It still stings, it still hurts, it hurts to love, it hurts that there is misunderstanding..



I extract these words to emphasise that freedom often grows best in the soil of a heart imprisoned in adversity. The “slave” can rejoice in his freedom. The weak can rejoice in strength.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:9,10


Quote:
It is just that, a life of honesty. Honest before God, honest about ourselves, before each other... especially over doubtful things, things we are still processing, grappling with.



Just today a dear Christian mother/wife shared most honestly with me about her exasperation over her painful marriage caused largely by her unrepentant, hardened husband. She plans to remain committed to him just as God would desire, and now she is seeking measures to improve the relationship. When I asked her what she wished, she said, “I just want to be happy.” Of course, as a direct result of this thread discussion, I had a ready respond, and asked, “Who is the center? “ And she said, ‘Well, me, I guess”. This was precious honesty – so simple, but so true. That gave me the freedom to point out, “You need to repent of this idolatrous desire.” I may as well have offered her a holiday on a cruise – It relieved her of her endless futile efforts to bring about righteousness in her family. She welcomed it eagerly like a refreshing glass of water. And why not!

This is what it’s all about!

This is heaven touching earth.

Grace and love like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above.
Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

from the song, Here is Love

Diane


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Diane

 2006/6/2 17:47Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: man's attempt to save himself enslaves him to law

Compton wrote:

Quote:
an understanding of Righteousness is not satisfied by the doctrine of imputed righteousness, nor is it limited to such goals of eradicating sin and doing good works.



I can’t add any more insight to what you wrote in your post, nor could I ever state it as thoroughly, but I am going to attempt to put some related thoughts into my own words – I guess as my way of trying to process it. I hope this isn't too cumbersome:

I think that these two faulty methods of achieving “righteousness” are difficult to detect because they get masked behind a huge pile of assorted religious trappings. Yet if you let all that stuff settle out, I suspect you end up with two little mounds - basically Calvinism-ish (imputed righteousness) and Armenianism-ish (earned righteousness). And mankind just swings back and forth between the two, as long as they reject the place of rest and freedom (God’s unmovable plumbline).

And when people get disillusioned with one of these forms because it’s not working, they swing to the opposite. That is an easy and tempting option in our modern day of ecclesiastical variety, where we will always find a religious group that defines itself largely by what it is not (the side we are trying to escape). So by and large, many remain either in denial or in endless effort – or maybe a blend of both.

However, these distinctions are really irrelevant when we see their common ground: Man’s desire to reject God and instead be God, and be his own savior – just like our first parents did in Eden. For, as long as “self” rules, then “self” must seek its own redemption –either by law or by cheep grace. Since the latter does little to curb the sin nature, laws of some kind end up being instituted - either spoken or unspoken. Legalism of some form falls on the heals of antinomianism.

It’s all man’s attempt to erase the guilt and sense of condemnation that lurks deep down. It should be obvious that guilt is the fuel that fires every form of religion, while evading the key solution:

Quote:
Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

” For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”Hosea 6:6.

a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your hearts enlightened

This fellowship with God's Spirit is Jesus' greatest gift to me,



With the “enlightenment” of recent years, it would seem that we are indeed bringing the focus back to experiencing and knowing God. Just read the words of our praise and worship songs and observe our worship trends. There seems to be such a freedom from the law – in the collective experience of blissful “oneness” with the divine.

However, that whole trend is becoming a bondage worse than ever. Why, if you’re not raising your arms and if your eyes aren’t glazed over, you must surely be resisting the Spirit. So you play the game and “obey the law” in order to avoid feeling guilty for “rebelling” against God’s new move of the Spirit.

And… since this kind of “experiencing” God does nothing to develop maturity, legalism creeps in faster than ever. How can it not?


“Christ is the end of law.” We’re not! We are not the end of the law. We cannot bring about freedom from law, or fulfilment of the law. Without him, we remain forever a slave to our sins, along with the conviction declared by the law. We cannot absolve ourselves – ever..

Clearly, there is no escaping law unless one is truly trusting in God – that is, who he really is. How deeply do we believe it? God knows and deepens faith through Spirit conviction.

From time to time, a quiet inward voice of the Spirit parts the curtains and exposes a secret longing to be God and to redeem ourselves. And we admit, “Lord, you are right, I cannot save myself. I cannot release myself from this haunting sense of guilt for not measuring up to your righteous standards.”

And so we repent again, and cling yet more fervently to the all sufficiency of Christ and his righteousness. Well, that's the way it is for all who are real Christ-followers, I believe.

Diane


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Diane

 2006/6/2 18:47Profile
Compton
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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Thanks Jeff and Diane,

I appreciated your thoughtful posts and spent time considering your understanding in these areas! I'm sure these posts will continue to minister to me!

Blessings,

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2006/6/2 23:30Profile





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