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Tuesday: Jesus Versus Scripture — 15 Comments

  1. The expression "But I say unto you ..." is a construct used by Matthew about a dozen times in his Gospel. Almost inevitably it is about how to interpret the law, and in particular, those parts of the law that relate to human relationships. Mostly, Jesus points beyond the letter of the law to its spirit.

    Murder begins with hatred.
    Adultery has its seeds in lust.
    And so on.

    Jesus' hearers were familiar with the rabbinical dissertations of the Oral Torah and its careful expansion of detail about what was legal. And Jesus was also very much aware of how people used the law for their own advantage. He cut across the verbiage of control and convenience to point to the spirit of the law.

    Some of what he said made little sense at all.

    But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matt 5:44 KJV

    How many of us still struggle with applying that verse to our every day lives?

  2. Matt 5:43-44; Matt 5:21-22

    Jesus verses scriptures- can Jesus really go against himself?
    Lyn verses her writing- Can Lyn really go against her writing?

    Jesus showed us how to love others just like ourselves. Many times the problem is- we blame the next person as the problem starter and the problem maker. Do we become the problem finisher, the problem solver? Many times people talks about love, but I am asking the Holy Ghost every day to show me how to love him and how to love others because I do not know how to love. Truly, I do not know how to love. Do humans know how to love? Do we as SDA know how to love.
    Has Satan blinded our eyes to this. Rev 3:17-22. Here we see Jesus is saying we are blind and we do not even know it. We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes. Let us get ourselves ready and cont to pray for the 'latter rain'. Without the Holy Spirit in our lives we are nothing.

    Coming to the area I am presently living, I was faced with a dilemma. A dilemma that lies in the SDA church. One church, two sides. Two different beliefs. I listen to both sides and did not took any sides. There is a time for everything under the sun. Do we really love? Do we really forgive? Two different congregations base on two different conferences. The conferences are set up according to your ethnicity or race. As one congregation moved into another congregation, the members moved out and went to another congregation because they do not want to mix with another race. Many times I ask the Holy Spirit how did we got like this? the answer is in the Word. The wheat and the tares must grow together until the day of harvest. Pray that we are the wheat. The issue is so much. My people the Lord is coming soon. What is my part? I attend both places, I contribute to the sabbath school, I attend night meeting, I go to other congregations in another conference. I do my part to mend broken lives. I sit and eat at lunch with others. I do not take sides. My people let us love not in words, but in deed.

    • Dear Lyn - to read your account about how you responded to the dilemma of a family of believers splitting up along racial lines is very encouraging to me. It shows me that you allow the Holy Spirit to discern your path and to prompt you to follow it by faith.
      Yes, we do not 'have to join' any particular group to the exclusion of another. If all is done in the Spirit that expresses brotherly love we are free to meet each other wherever and whenever the Holy Spirit leads us.

      Regarding your comment "truly I do not know how to love', I would point out Galatians Chapter 5 for help. Gal.5:18-26 detailes how God's love expresses itself through us.
      Ephesians Chapter 6 speaks to the spiritual warfare which all mankind is embroiled in. Eph.6:10-18 details this warfare - who is fighting and what the spiritual armor is that God provides the believer to remain standing during this struggle.

      I pray for God's blessing as He sees fit to reach each and every one finding him/herself confronted with the spiritual forces at battle. May He convict and give all the spiritual strengt to express God's love equally to each and everyone they meet.
      I pray for God to give you an extra portion of His almighty Love, to remain in His Love and to strengthen you on your path of faith - Matt.5:44.

  3. Well here I go again with the last question of the day, but it’s a good one. What came to mind was the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation. The book of Daniel is crucial for us to understand because it should lead us to an understanding of what is yet to come for our world. It is full of examples of being obedient to Gods word. This was all so important, that Jesus came down and gave John visions that will lead us to the same understanding. It does point us back to history, but more importantly, it points us forward to our salvation from this sin filled earth. And, mixed in with all of that, is our “how to” for being put back into the face to face relationship with God.

  4. Keeping the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 perhaps may not be the most difficult thing to fulfill. What about loving the enemy? What about loving yourself when perhaps you yourself can become your worst enemy!

    How do we find balance to those things?

    “My child, pay attention when the Lord disciplines you.
    Don’t give up when he corrects you. The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child.” Heb 12:5-6

  5. Matt 5:44 was the first verse I had a difficult time with - first to understand rationally, and after having 'understood' it as making 'sense', applying it spiritually.

    The topic 'Jesus versus Scripture' highlights the various issues arising from the differences between 'law' and 'faith. Law always points back to itself to be judge, jury and prosecutor; faith rests in trusting God to sort it all out, including His Mercy and Grace.

    Matt.5:44 is the verse that best describes the daily struggle of our ongoing spiritual warfare. Eph.6:13-18 speaks to the spiritual weapons God provides us to be protected when engaging in this ongoing spiritual struggle. We know we are continually being tempted to abandon Faith and resort to reason - so, we need to keep the armor at the ready.

    Yes, indeed - how could we in our own strength love our enemies, bless the people that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them which despitefully use and persecute us? Just reading this can bring one's heckles up. Our old 'nature' recognizes these challenges easily, and when we apply this wisdom, it becomes a good proving-ground for ones walk by faith.

    We can only win this struggle with the aid of the Holy Spirit - which describes the use of these weapons provided by God as essential for victory. Once His wisdom is recognized by the mind through the Spirit, it all makes 'sense'.

    We recognize/accept that God loves all and 'wishes that none should perish' - under what authority would we act if we chose 'to love one but despise the other'? If God reigns in us supreme, it is not us that does the loving. If we live by our new nature, we yield guidance to the One who saved us. Rom.12:1,2 .

    We can now take the 'sting of temptation' out of every negative emotion and allow God's love to replace it. To live through/by this love, we are empowered to have compassion in times of verbal assaults, can respond with kindness to others' hateful conduct, pray when we notice that we have been used with malice and hate and find empathy for those that persecute us.

    We remember what causes the sinners' lost estate and who is the power behind their conduct. Thankfully and humbly, we remember that by Grace we have been saved, and not by anything we did. Nothing has a greater impact in the spiritually discerned fabric of the universe, than when we repay evil with good.
    This is the spiritual warfare which Eph.6:1-18 speaks to. I believe that our guardian angels rejoice with us every time when we are victorious in the struggle of good versus evil - when we win, when we overcome - God wins!

    There is no 'Jesus vs Scripture', it's just another sign of the same struggle. Eph.13-18 - God gives us detailed instructions on how to be prepared when engaging in this exchange of spiritual powers. Our weapons are Truth, righteousness, remaining peaceful, above all - keeping the Faith. We are further admonished to remember that the battle is about Salvation, using the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God".

  6. Lin, I know what you mean by segregation in the churches by race and ethnicity. However, being a black person and lifelong sda, I understand it. It’s all voluntary! Different ethnicities desire being around the same ethnicities, a lot of the time. We are all different. And it’s okay to want to worship with your own ethnicity. It’s wrong, when it’s forced, or discriminatory. Our preaching, music, etc is different. I’ve attended many sda churches of different races. I enjoyed worship in all of them, and am treated very well. However, I PREFER going to churches with people of my own race.

  7. Could the title for this portion be: "Jesus versus popular interpretations of Scripture"? His work while on earth included separating truth from its companionship with error. He was never in opposition to the word of God, only to the popular but erroneous views held by the scholars of His day.

  8. The old testament is the new testament proposed while the new testament is the old testament fulfilled/accomplished.
    Both are true and relevant for our salvation.
    The devil hates the Bible and wishes to take the content away from us as he did during the dark ages.
    Friends, the song is "give me the Bible star of gladness gleaming"

  9. I worked for a company that made a point of employing persons of different ethnicities and races, persons with disabilities, persons with different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Working with these people was one of the best experiences I have had because of the depth of their life experience. They brought strength, resilience, perspective and purpose as we all worked together "co-operating" to accomplish shared goals and surmount difficulties. Even our differences were brought to bear on certain problems we faced because the difference worked effectively to resolve the problem.

    As I was working with them, I kept thinking "This is what church should be like."

  10. Let's face it: Jesus and the Old Testament do not have the same authority for Christians.

    Jesus showed over and over that he had the power to change the meaning or application of the Torah. In addition, prophetic types are shadows whereas fulfillments are reality. Paul demonstrated that the whole legal and sanctuary system had been replaced by a "better" way.

    The NT and OT live in tension with each other. However, both of them are witnesses to Christ the Word, and are mere reflectors of that Word.

    • Thank you, Jordan, for your continued participation on this blog.

      I may see things a bit differently than you do, but I would normally to a new believer to read mostly in the New Testament *after* reading at least the books of Genesis and Exodus.

      That's because I believe that without the Old Testament, we do not know who "the Father" is to whom Christ referred. Genesis immediately establishes that God, the Father, is the Creator. And the NT clarifies that Christ Himself was the active agent in creation.

      We cannot even know who Christ is, because all we would have is his own testimony, and there are many others who have made great claims for themselves. But the prophecies establish that He is, indeed, the promised Messiah, God incarnate in humanity.

      Jesus often referred to the Scriptures and even asked "how do you read" certain passages in Scripture. And what we call the "Old Testament" is the same as what Christ recognized as "Scripture" and referenced often. It was from these Scriptures that He gained His knowledge of the Father and of His own mission, since He learned just as we might learn.

      Can you supply examples of the following:

      Jesus showed over and over that he had the power to change the meaning or application of the Torah.

      the way I see it, Jesus restored Scripture (the Old Testament) to its rightful place by stripping away rabbinical tradition that had covered its true meaning. (Nowhere in the OT does it say to love your neighbor and hate your enemy, for instance.)

      As far as I have been able to determine, in every instance in which he "changed the meaning" of the Scriptures/Old Testament, He rather shone a light on them and brought out the true meaning. (But you wouldn't know that without reading the Old Testament first.)

      He did, indeed, amplify the "love your neighbor as yourself" to this: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (John 13:34) That's because He couldn't say "as I have loved you" until He demonstrated that love by coming in human flesh and giving His life for us.


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