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The Loophole Heresy — 9 Comments

  1. May I suggest as an additional thought that one of the reasons why we get ourselves into the kind of things that you have discussed is that we like to closely define things and put a sharp demarcation line around them. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus instead expanded the meaning of several commandments and made them more like fuzzy cotton balls. To Him adultery, for example, wasn’t just physical but instead starts in the heart with a thought and anyone who even thinks about doing it has essentially done it already. To put it another way, I once knew a salesman who was a rather churlish Jew who would do things like turn his back to a motel clerk and answer questions that way which is about as rude as one can get. Well, anyway, one time he got irritated with a person and called that person a whore. Now he wasn’t using that term in the sense that it is commonly used but rather as one who sold himself to the highest bidder without any loyalty to previous relationships and all while ignoring those with less means. It was a business prostitution of sorts – another way of viewing what it means to be in an adulterous situation.

    I think what we need to do is to see the expansive character of the commandments and to realize that they not only cover more territory and overlap but are entangled with one another like knotted hair. A good example of what I mean is the command, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you” (Ex 20:12 NKJV). Even though we think of the command as concerning only our physical parents we could rightly ask who our real father and real mother actually are. Is it only about blood relationships or does it expand into the spiritual? Here is another, “You shall not murder” (Ex 20:13 NKJV) which Jesus also expanded but consider all the different ways one can effectively murder someone else without actually physically killing them.

    To me if we would think of the commandments in this way more, then we would be hard pressed to find a loophole anywhere.

    • Does closing every loop-hole increase our "chance" to keep the law?

      The law has two aspects: 1. define sin, 2. define righteousness.

      What if we focused on the fact that "I" cannot be righteous(alone) and am very good at sinning without even trying. Then we would see the real purpose of the law given on Sinai (which is probably nothing like the "law" the unfallen worlds and angels obey) which is to lead us to find a solution. I mean THE SOLUTION: Jesus.

      Once yoked together with Him, failure is impossible! Once we see how agape is the fulfillment of the law, loop-holes are non-existent. There are no loop-holes when fulling the "righteousness of the law" (Rom 8:4)by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit which is promised to all who ask in faith.

      So what if we acknowledge that the condemnation of the law reveals my real need, and that I must seek the Solution above every other thing? Then we can fulfill the righteousness of the law by serving our fellow man.(John 21:15)

  2. Well I never gave such intense thought to keeping the Sabbath as you have described coz I only got to know abt it much later in life. Nevertheless I'm sure your analysis catches up with all of us at some point in life. Lord help us keep the Sabbath better!

  3. Nice exhortation.I also would like to add that the issue of the Sabbath and ten commandments is about Christian Ethics.The value and beliefs of wright or wrong in our Godly framework.The Christian ethics are ideally summarised in Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,
    Gal 5:23 meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
    Which are a fruit of the Holyspirit .The Holyspirit ,the advocate manifests these attributes which basically is the motive behind the Law .Highlight GOODNESS AND KINDNESS.Remember the rich young man Mat 19:16-22.Paul says,the Spirit of Life in us through Christ Jesus is (Rom 8:4 ) so that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit..(Rom 8:7) because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be.
    In other words,with the Spirit of Life in Christ we can then uphold the Holy Law of God without exoneration.
    When you study Ethics,there always seems to be a disparity between the beliefs subscribed to and the actual behaviour.Christ is our standard and even gives us extenuating circumstances when faced with a dilemma of wright or wrong about the Law of God.Mat 12:12,luke 6:9.Mark 3:4 Self interests and self protection needs to be set aside.The value of doing the wright thing must be ingrained in us as christians however intangible and defferred the results maybe.You see,there are always tangible and immediate results for unethical behaviours but these lead unto death which is the manifestation of a carnal mind,a spirit of bondage in Rom 8;6/15 and Rom 6:23.As Christians we need to be patient and observe God's commandments however slow in coming - deferred the results are but surely everlasting life is coming ... Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints. Here are the ones who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

  4. When people find a "loophole" in laws imposed by humans we tend to change the law. Eusebius (263-339 CE), the first church historian, documents how Christianity exchanged God’s law of love for an imposed Roman construct: “With the Roman Empire monarchy had come on earth as the image of the monarchy in heaven.” Christians lost sight of God’s law of love and accepted an imposed legal system modeled after human governments.

    When mankind deviated from God’s law, God’s law did not change, God did not change, but
    humankind was changed. Thus, Christ came to earth to fix what Adam and Eve did to God’s creation. Christ did not come to fix God or God’s law, but to actually heal and restore His creation back into harmony with God’s design for life (God’s law).

    Is this how God’s law works? Some binding rules put upon us? What problems arise when we present God’s law this way? We make rules for behavior and have loopholes to those rules:
    o The Jews in Christ’s day had a Sabbath rule you couldn’t walk more than ½ mile from
    your home. But if you have a second home within a half mile of the first you can walk
    to it, and then go on another ½ mile. What constitutes a home? Anywhere you have
    lunch the day before. So, if on Sabbath you want to walk somewhere more than a mile
    away all you need to do is drop a lunch every half mile and you can walk to where you
    want to go.
    o There was another rule they had; if you were traveling on Friday with your donkey, and
    the Sabbath arrives before you take the burden off your donkey, you are not allowed to
    remove the burden on Sabbath, but you can loosen the straps and whatever falls off is
    allowed. If a Gentile comes by the Gentile can remove the burden from the donkey, but
    you are not allowed to ask or indicate in any way that you need him to do so.

    All of this leads to conceiving of God as a dictator, and the plan of salvation as a system of
    legal requirements. There are many destructive results to presenting God’s law as “binding” in this way.

    But, if we present it as binding, in the same way the law of gravity is binding, the laws of physics and health are binding, then all of these problems evaporate. You see, no loophole gets one around the results of jumping off a bridge, or shooting IV heroine, or cheating on your spouse, or stealing from your employer. All violations of design law result in damage to the one in violation. The only option is healing, re-creation, restoration to God’s ideal, which is God’s plan of salvation.

    When we present God’s law like this, then people realize it is for our actual good, health, wellness to live in harmony with the design.

    It all goes back to how you understand law – imposed rules – you are lost, lost in fear, insecurity, short-comings, legal religious systems that don’t save. Design law, then we realize Christ lived the law perfectly, revealed truth to restore trust, and when we trust Him the Spirit comes and transforms us, we have greater insight, comprehension and intelligent
    choose to cooperate freely with God because it makes so much sense. We desire to live in harmony with how God constructed life to operate, which is obedience to His law.

    • Well said! Christ demonstrated perfect relationships with His Father and with others. His prayer was that we might have those same relationships and be changed into His likeness. Then He can right His law on our hearts and we will naturally abide abide by His precepts because we are in a love relationship with Him. Then the Sabbath becomes a joy!

  5. Lillianne, your comments about loopholes defines or reflects the defects in our character that are hopfully inconspicuous to those we associate with, as well as help to soothe our own consciences. Motive is the question. Are our decisions determined for the right reason. Are we like the Pharasees or are we like Jesus. Cultures around the world differ in many respects and I hear the idea that if it is acceptable in one part of the world it is acceptable everywhere. Loophole? What do we treasure? That is where our heart is. Luke 12:34.


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