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roadsign
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Posts: 3776


 Re: Comparing living by law with childishness

“When I was a child,
I talked like a child,
I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man,
I put childish ways behind me.”
1 Cor. 13:11

Childish ways and childish reasoning make me think of self-centeredness, inability to consider the well-being of others, and inability to delay gratification. ie, “I want it NOW.”

We have already established that these are also the symptoms of living under the law. The adult child does not grow up into spiritual maturity. He behaves “properly” in order to win the approval of others and avoid punishment. But his heart is still self-centered.

If you’ve worked with children, you likely discovered that this describes them quite accurately. Also, they are very concerned about fairness and rules. They are really all little legalists. But they are not good at understanding the spirit of the law. Their minds cannot comprehend it. If they were free to reason out their own choices, they would likely choose selfishly (depending on their level of maturity).

I wonder, is that the childish reasoning that Paul was referring to in 1 Corinthians? I think that the answer lies in the context of this epistle. Clearly, he was speaking to a childish church. Their various issues revolved around their immaturity.

These people had been offered the wonderful freedom of Christ. Yet they viewed their new-found freedom through childish reasonings – ie: what’s in it for me, what can I get away with, I want….

They totally misunderstood their freedom. They still had to do some mature reasoning, and realize that some choices are unhelpful, and some choices are enslaving. Paul explained:

"Everything is permissible for me" —but not everything is beneficial.
“Everything is permissible for me" —but I will not be mastered by anything. 6:12

They also had to become more other-centered in the exercise of their freedom.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Cor. 8:9

Paul uses himself as an example of the mature exercise of freedom:
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” 9:19

It should stand out in our minds that Paul doesn’t impliment rules and laws to correct these people. He doesn’t set up a system of guidelines, a constitution, or a court system. That would merely keep them in their childish condition - bound by law. That may be what some of them, especially the leaders, would have craved - in order to squelch the problems.

Instead, Paul helps them develop mature reasoning, in order that they would be able to think through their choices themselves - without having to run to someone for help every time a silly little problem arose. (which is what they were doing)

They had to remember WHO they were:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own… 6:19

For we were all baptized by one Spirit
into one body—
whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free
12:13

And them Paul explains what the expression of that relationship with God and one another would look like:


Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.
Love never fails….

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

Cor. 13


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Diane

 2006/6/5 9:46Profile
Compton
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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Quote:
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave...



Is there a better "definition" of love then this? With love in mind we can't always measure "legalism" or "liberty" in our brothers or sisters motives and actions.

Is there a more loving, yet more paradoxical example of New Covenant liberty then this?

Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

Or this...

He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek.Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

MC


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Mike Compton

 2006/6/5 11:13Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: Love: Freedom's tradmark

Love is the outcome of exercising our God-given freedom. Love is our “trademark” If love is not “stamped” on our being, then we are just cheep imitations.

“A New Commandment I give you: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
Jn. 13:34

“Freely you have received, freely give” Matt. 10:8

We are not giving freely when we give reluctantly, when we want to cling to our own reputation, our status, our rightful income, our dignity… or hold back something for ourselves..

We do not love freely when when we become impatient or fed up. Then our love is defiled - an indication that we are as yet flawed products of God's perfect grace - still in need of purifying.

That is where I see myself. My love has been polluted because of my reluctance to let go of all that I cling to for sense of security and well-being - all my idols. I realize that my love can only grow as my trust in God grows.


“Humble yourself…”

“Consider others better than yourself”

“You were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men.” 1 Cor7:23


EXAMPLES
Moses:
“Oh what a great sin these people have committed… But now, please forgive their sins – but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” Ex 33:32


Paul:
“For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers…. “ Rom. 9:2

“Was it a sin to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel to God to you free of charge.’ 2 Cor. 11:7

Christ: ‘…may your will be done” Matt 26:42

Can you think of more examples of those who practised a life of love? It is worth considering how their freedom from law enabled them to love to the extent that they could.

Diane


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Diane

 2006/6/6 7:25Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4794


 Re:

Sister Diane asked:

Quote:
Can you think of more examples of those who practised a life of love? It is worth considering how their freedom from law enabled them to love to the extent that they could.



The book of Ruth portrays this kind of love...

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2006/6/6 10:43Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: examples of those who loved sacrificially

Quote:
more examples


What about Rahab?
Joseph - the way he tried to protect Mary's dignity when he heard she was pregnant

Diane


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Diane

 2006/6/6 15:01Profile
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 Re:

David's heart for his son Absalom...

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2006/6/20 11:31Profile
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4794


 Re:

Living and experiencing the freedom that is found in Christ brings a change to our understanding of what fills our life with peace and joy. As we live this life and respond to the upward call of the prize of God in Christ Jesus, we are taught by the Spirit the ways of God. These ways cover everything that we His creation, are given as a means to grasp what can only satisfy His creation.

The law of Moses points to all that is "worthless" in our carnal life. If we continue to dwell and seek to be righteous in our own understanding, we continue to find emptiness. But if we listen for His voice and hear and do, day by day, we learn of a life that has existed before the foundations of the world. That life is found in everything that Christ has revealed to man. The light of life is imparted day by day. It becomes a fountain of living water. The thirsts of the carnal mind and heart are supplanted by a new way of understanding our life, our world, our God.

Love as God imparts to the believer, fills like nothing else. Being filled with the Spirit actually brings us to learn to love as God loves. It is this work of the Spirit that changes the substance of what we hope for. It is this filling, this renewing, this washing, that brings us to yearn for more. This yearning softens the heart. The pride melts away as dross. The things that are worthless diminish. The cravings that once held us captive, that once held us in bondage to this world begin to subside in the prize of the all things found in Christ Jesus.

All these experiences are found day by day. They are not imparted to us without consequence.

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”


This is the promise to those who live day by day. Not according to the law of Moses, in that, it is weak because of the flesh. The law of the Spirit imparts to us the law of faith. We are saved by grace through faith. We learn to love because we begin to experience the fountain of life. Our spirit is renewed, our hearts are filled with gladness. We see the prize, and we see the worthlessness of our former life. It is this promise, this treasure that overcomes the world that has so corrupted our minds and hopes. We are given this life freely. The Lord is our salvation.

Salvation that is of the Lord will free us from the law of Moses. The grace is always there to wash away that which is corrupt. The question is do we seek wisdom or do we desire to remain simple and foolish.

We all suffer from this attitude, we all walk in the wilderness.

Prov. 1:22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.

Prov. 1:32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;

Prov. 8:5 O you simple ones, understand prudence,
And you fools, be of an understanding heart.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2006/6/20 11:33Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
r. 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.



Yes, not only exposing God's heart, but who He is in us. That is, what the beatitudes reveal to us is not only God's heart, but what Jesus Christ is to us. He is all these things to us. He is holiness, He is purity, He is rightousness. He is everything God wants from us.

Knowing more of God's heart in terms of what He wants is not liberating, the beatitudes applied to ourself is more condemning than the Law of Moses. But when we know the indwelling Christ and know we are liberated from the law, all law, the moral law, the cerimonial law, every law, then we can enjoy Christ as everything God requires of us, and this Christ is within us to be in us everything to us.

Graftedbranch

 2006/7/4 22:31Profile
Compton
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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: Just some more thoughts....

Quote:
Yes, not only exposing God's heart, but who He is in us. That is, what the beatitudes reveal to us is not only God's heart, but what Jesus Christ is to us.


Amen.

Quote:
Knowing more of God's heart in terms of what He wants is not liberating, the beatitudes applied to ourself is more condemning than the Law of Moses.



I think I know where you are coming from...Yet, without staking any dogmatic banner here, I want to share how the Beatitudes have been of growing interest to me.

There is indeed a great peace afforded knowing that Christ is our sufficient righteousness. Still, as I get older I am wondering if we are more concerned with the legal merits of the deed to the house, rather then the experience of living in it! When I consider the Beatitudes as a revelation of Christ’ nature, I can not help but conclude we are to know more of these things then outward knowledge of them. To say that Christ is described by the beatitudes, but then to say that the beatitudes are beyond my experience implies that I we may not know who Christ is firsthand but rely on orthodox scholasticism.

Admittedly our swim in the Beatitudes is limited to brief plunges in shallow depths, but for those brief moments we may still know in part who Christ is through tasting for ourselves what it is to love our enemies or to thirst for righteousness. And when I love feebly, or work briefly, I become all the more humbled by God whose love is unfailing and whose deeds are wonderful.

Now I am forever thankful that Christ is my perfect righteousness, but I am learning to be equally thankful that I can know just a small portion of who he is through the inward changes he brings to all of us. Part of knowing is experiencing. If I say the word “apple”, most of us know what I am talking about not only by the outward image of a red softball sized object…but also by the experience of it's inward texture and taste. I believe that this is akin to how a born again Christian must learn to “know” Christ. Not from pages of proper scholastic doctrines of forensic righteousness, but by communion with that very righteousness. I want to stress that I am not suggesting a self-prescribed mystical journey or legalistic methodology whatsoever…for I think all Christians have a new nature, whether they have a theology for it or not. Simply put, we have been born again.

Experiencing aspects of the character of Christ must be part of what Paul meant when he talked about the New Man verses the Old. (Romans 6:6, Ephesians 2:15, Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:9-11)
Certainly the New Man enjoys positional security in Christ through faith…I rejoice daily at this promise. Yet, I also rejoice that my new relationship to the headship of Christ, being severed completely from the headship of Adam, has given me a new heart, one that is inclined towards God, and not hostile towards Him or His righteousness. Note that I would not resort to using extra biblical language such as “moral perfection” here. Any hard metrics we use for measuring outward perfection only seems gets us in trouble with one anothers different expectations. (We love saddling each other with our own imperfect demands…)I simply maintain that part of Christian liberty is learning what it is to be set free from those evil desires we know in our heart displeases God. If I did not think this was possible, then I do not see the reason for reading Christ’s words at all. The Gospels could be truncated into the passion chapters where Christ was killed to atone for my guilt.

Yet, as I believe Christ’s words, yea his life and not just his death, are meant for the Church, I then believe the Beatitudes were meant for the Church. Firstly to teach God to us (If you have seen me you have seen the Father…), but second to describe the new nature that has been placed in our beings that insures we will never be comfortable with our sins again. (…Since we have put off the old man with his deeds.) For me, I hope that Liberty in Christ is more then an expeditious release from all obligations towards God, but instead that we are being daily renewed for those obligations. Liberty is more then the relief granted through Christ’s death, but also the revival though Christ’s life, in both humble obedience, and ressurected glory...

I feel Pauls' references to the New Man, is in part a practical echo of that piercing and undiluted description of the 'Blessed' man in the Beatitudes. As such, I believe the Beatitudes are an important key to understanding the blessings of Christian Liberty in Christ. Paul's letters were spiced with the scent of the Beatitudes, and while even his imperfect and fleeting experiences with Jesus’ utter character in this life may not have justified him towards God, they were a vital result of Paul's ‘justifying’ faith in God. (Faith is certainly more then an agreement with unlived Pauline theology!)

So my growing conclusion (as a reformed reformed Calvinist!) is that Christian Liberty is not simply the welcome relief felt from a legal discharge of unpayable debt, but Christian Liberty is also a deed to a whole new nature that we must believe is ours and decide, in addition to rejoicing that our name and legal claim is registered with the courts…we must decide once and for all to move in and live in it! This is Liberty in the Spirit…

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

MC


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Mike Compton

 2006/7/5 4:41Profile
roadsign
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: the freedom of the Beatitudes

Quote:
Knowing more of God's heart in terms of what He wants is not liberating, the beatitudes applied to ourself is more condemning than the Law of Moses.


Might I suggest that it all depends on where we stand - whether the rock foundation of Christ, or the sandy soil of self-righteousness. The beatitudes pose a unbearable weight for us if we have placed our source of righteousness in ourselves. Surely Christ’s laws could “break our back” . They could (or rather, they AUGHT to) cause us insecuriy, shame, and guilt, especially when the shifting sands of life erode our ability to maintain even a small part of the standard.

However, if our foundation really (not ideally or theoretically) is Christ then the beatitutudes give us hope of an amazing Lord at work within and through us.

To a world so pained with the effects of selfish ambition, surely such a glorious standard of love and respect is also an incredible ray of hope. Christ says, there is a better way; there is a better view of God than is normally presented in our world. There is hope of pure clean water even if we only see and experience polluted water.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit….”What refreshing words of freedom - freedom from our pride, our fractured self-reliance, our worldly view of self-betterment.

“Blessed are those who mourn” … What freeing words for us in our stiff- upper-lip society that values the tough well-put-together outer frame. Christ gives us glorious freedom to weep for the sins of our dying world and also for our lost hope in self. We will indeed receive the comfort of God - even if no one else cares about our grief or comes along to comfort us.

And I could go on and on…... I could add that the entire Bible is torture to the law-dependant individual. It is even hellish (apart from some form of psychological redefinition). Christ himself is the worst form of condemnation any of us could ever experience - apart from his new life birthed within us. No wonder the Bible says he is the stumbling stone to all who reject him.


Quote:
Still, as I get older I am wondering if we are more concerned with the legal merits of the deed to the house, rather then the experience of living in it!

And this in itself is cause to mourn - to grieve bitterly. Can anything be more tragic than to see the best gift offered to mankind being rejected over and over again - even while it is within arm’s reach. … and to see so many who are so zealous for God still promote the way of death - the legal way…..and to see it lurking in myself, always ready to rob me of my freedom in Christ.

Diane


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Diane

 2006/7/7 8:33Profile





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