“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Traditions (Part I)

The word of God defines traditions in two main categories: specific doctrines of His overall law or truth; and, false doctrines of Satan’s overall lie. God’s traditions or doctrines or statutes are based on “charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1Tim. 1:5).

Satan’s traditions are based on his own hatred and lust from an impure and hardened heart, his evil conscience, and his faked proud profession of faith, which he tries to pass to us as truth.

Satan is ever in the work of redefining what God calls the truth. God speaks, and it is; and our spiritual and intellectual makeup sees the validity in God’s truth. His law of love rings true; His principles of trust, grace, discipline, and punishment strike a chord of harmony deep in our hearts, and brings us peace. God’s law of love, then, is a law of peace. Even as He is the God of peace. “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thess. 5:23).

God’s law of peace agrees with Natural law, a concept which John Locke in the 17th century, developed and became greatly influential in British and American law. Natural law simply states that a practice that brings about good between neighbors and produces peace and tranquility in the land; if it is seen in healthy, happy minds unbiased by ideas and traditions that contradict a selfless spirit, then that practice is honorable, beneficial, and worthy of our adherence and immitation.

Natural law can be seen most clearly in young children or in a small segment of adults who have retained their childlike heart. In toddlers and pre-schoolers we see love and compassion, mercy and fellowship, desire for relationship and reconciliation. We see physical touch, pure and holy brotherly and sisterly love, and unity of heart. Natural law can be summed up in Paul’s statement, “There is no law against love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and faith.” (Gal. 5:23). (My version).

We see it in what David and Jonathan had. “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul….
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow....” (1Sam. 18:1-4). Friendship, simple and deep, inspired by the Spirit of God. In those young men we see the fruits of natural law—cleaving to one another in heart and soul—“all that is within me.” (Ps. 103:1). We see the giving away of personal belongings, we see compact-making—not for the selfish gaining of some united political power or networking, but as an expression of commitment, lest time and distance separate and end the love that brought such natural joy and life to each soul.

Paul expressed natural love, the fruit of natural law, when he wrote to the Roman Christians. “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Rom. 1:11,12). A longing to meet in person, the giving of the spiritual gifts of love and hope in God, the unselfish uplifting and strengthening of their faith, a union and communion together, and a mutual expression of faith in Christ. These are all the fruits of natural love and law.

Paul certainly was a father to the Gentile churches. Several times in scripture we see believers feeling perfectly unafraid to embrace, not only what he was saying, but his person also. “Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” (Acts 17:34). “They all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.” (Acts 20:37,38).

John Locke saw the beauty of natural law, but believed it possible to originate from the natural man. This however is a fallacy. Our natures have been poisoned by sin and separated from our Creator, the sole source of natural love. The only reason natural law could have worked in Britain and America was because God had given them Protestantism as His means to infuse their hearts with His grace and divine love.

But in both nations Protestantism lost its first love for the relationship with Jesus and loving obedience. In not striving to keep righteousness by faith they lost their garment from the loom of heaven. Their time and effort were drawn away from the relationship with Jesus and driven to the fight against Satan and sin. This was their undoing, because Satan always wins in a fight. After that England and the United States both forfeited their pure Constitutions and sold themselves to the church of Rome, the home of institutionalized righteousness without faith or dependence on Jesus, and of brutal dictatorial government.

Only the Law of God can be trusted as the source of natural law. It is truly the one great treatise for peace on earth, if it comes through faith in its Redeemer. I say, its Redeemer, not in the sense that the Law needs to be redeemed; but in the sense that the Law “was weak through the flesh,” that is, it had no flesh. (Rom. 8:3). Because we saw no gracious Person behind it, the fullness of love revealed in the Law was lost to our understanding and to our expression. Our sin left us atheists and incapable of trusting in a loving God; thus, our view of the Law was devoid of a God of love behind it. Now, through the act of God in His Son’s sacrificial life and death, His law of natural love can and must be viewed through Christ, the heavenly Child, the little One from God, in order to correctly interpret the letter and spirit of His Law.

Religion can remain free of corruption only as Christ is uplifted and exalted. He is the standard for our character. His unselfish, self-sacrificing love, His gentleness and meekness, His inclusiveness and touch, best define the original law of God. But Satan had used God’s religion to redefine and alter, and then, overthrow it. Judaism was the perfect crime because it had the outward emblems of the ancient Hebrew religion from Abraham and Moses, but was completely void of the natural love of these patriarchs which they expressed to the people living in their day.

It was truly Satan’s synagogue riding on the back of the God’s original religion of love, sucking all the life from its host and controlling its reins and the hearts of the people. And the sin-loving multitudes were right at home with that kind of arrangement. “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jer. 5:31). Few questions, few cries out to God for evidence of His acceptance. Idolatry has their heart, and they are captives of Satan while their religion bears the right name. No wonder John said he marveled at the genius of false religion. (Rev. 17:6).

And false traditions go deep into the psyche, forming a world view that redefines God’s expectations. Paul, writing of his career as a Pharisee, said he “profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” (Gal. 1:14). He wasn’t looking for an excuse for idolatry; he genuinely wanted truth and believed he had it. But when his destructiveness, passion and self-gratuity came to light in the convicting presence of Jesus, he turned away from his old world view to the true world view in Christ. But it took the power of heaven to stop him in his tracks and to redirect him in the right tradition. And he confessed, “The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (1Tim. 1:14). He finally understood that God wounds to heal; he saw what David meant, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Ps. 18:35).

We can thank Jesus for staying with us in our driven, natural bent to kill and maim our “enemies of God” until He can teach us what “His custom was,” “ destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Lk. 4:16;9:56).

“He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.” (Isa. 42:4).


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