The Hebraic Perspective and the Gospel, part 10.
The Hebraic Perspective and the Gospel, part 10.
The theme I have been disseminating recently is…legalism versus “faith,” or works vs faith. Is…salvation in the final sense contingent upon one or the other one? The last post, I tried to show the full circle Protestantism made, from “justification by faith ALONE,” and the eventual Reformed Protestant evolution: “justification by faith ATTENDANT.” This comes MIGHTY CLOSE to the Catholic “justification by faith plus works.”
My own view if no one has figured it out yet is…that the holistic definition of faith includes the foundation of all actions of faith, hence “faith works.” The ATTITUDE which precedes righteousness, is that of love…enhanced. Love ATTENDED TO in addition by: Spirit. Thus my pentecostalism and paradigm of Gospel comes together. Yes, it is our mental affirmations of Jesus. Yes, it (faith) is our loyalty and trust. Yes, it is the love of Shema first and then brother and sister and then neighbor etc. But…this LOVE has the same epitome or apex of meaning that Jesus himself exemplified. To the death, even of sacrifice, even of Jesus’ own Cost of Discipleship given in Luk 14:
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. …and just in case the Jews listening in were not aware of the PRIORITY OF LAW here, Jesus reiterates further:
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
What can this mean, BUT Shema? Shema prioritizes God above all else, and this to the death of us. IS THAT the Gospel as we were taught, as we know it? If Billy Graham spent a single SENTENCE in all of his diatribe of evangelism, stating “make Jesus Lord,” what did he mean? That Jesus IS GOD, to make Jesus ADONAI? Or…to make Jesus MASTER or what? In many of our past life “gospels,” this has an undefined meaning, and the trip “to the altar” is supposed to symbolize this new “obedience.” Did it…include his sayings? Well, if that IS the case then…please consider the Cost of Discipleship SAYING in Luk 14 please.
My present view is that Shema must be understood if Luk 14:26-27 is to be understood. To love YHWH is to love his Beloved, and the Plan of Redemption THROUGH His Beloved, in order to start and then enact New Covenant. This is over all else, even our lives. But are we willing and able to sacrifice our life from the BEGINNING of this race? That race Paul spoke of, which is our own?
This Shema is the Law of Love. To love YHWH first and foremost. But since his commands have to do with Messiah, to love His Beloved, even in order to…come to the Father with right protocol, or…cleanliness. This “free gift of grace” Paul spoke of was for the Entrance or Way In, to New Covenant. It was not the whole deal, a DONE deal. How could it be, and did not Jesus say that SOME believers or servants OF HIM would do even greater works than him?
Jn 14: 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
What could be a “greater work” than…facilitating the dead come back to life? Gotquestions.org says this about it:
Jesus said that not only would His followers do the same works, but they would do “greater” works than He. Again, this is not a reference to the works’ being greater in power. Jesus had raised Lazarus, who had been four days in the tomb (John 11); humanly speaking, not even the apostles did a greater work than that. No one has ever exceeded the power or majesty of Jesus’ miracles.
Greater “in power,” or…greater in CUMULATIVE works? In fact, the last clause above (Jn 14) may imply that the apostles and disciples had more time than Jesus to accumulate…miraculous works. Besides being, both Paul and Peter facilitated the same “raising from the dead.” This would in turn imply both equal at least IN POWER and possibly more CUMULATIVELY.
Is this true? Eutychus was raised, or only DEEMED alive? But…Peter’s miracle was more pronounced.
36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. So then…gotquestions.org is wrong here. Peter did a miracle at least equal to Jesus’ own. The bias is obvious, for who can do a miracle EQUAL to GOD after all? The question now arises, what could Jesus mean IF NOT about the power of the miracle? And yet…the bias is…that God’s power was behind BOTH Jesus and Peter so then the dichotomy simply did not and does not exist.
In my own view…the destiny of the saints WAS to follow after Jesus not only in Spirit and power, but in sacrifice, and this unto their own deaths. This being part and parcel of…”DYING to Christ,” meant in a literal sense for Paul himself. He knew his destiny. He KNEW what he had to do. And when it came to COMPARING him to another elder or leader…what did he say?
2 Cor 11:
18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. 21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. Paul COUNTS his works, unto what, salvation? Not exactly. I believe he COUNTED his sufferings a response to…his love for Christ and Christ’s God. SURE he hoped God would say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” But…he did not count this as an ASSURANCE of salvation. Neither did he consider his salvation a done deal. Philippians 3:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Being “dead in Christ” means for Paul then…”the fellowship of his sufferings.” Need I say more? Paul knew exactly his own destiny, which God told Ananias at the beginning, “How he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Acts 9.
How does this dovetail with our own Gospel? Are our own believers equipped as Paul was, even by Spirit? Of course not. The Spirit came down upon Paul, unprecedentedly. This however constitutes the IDEAL believer or follower. Paul exemplified the same epistemology of KNOWING which Peter did too, and in fact all of the disciples and apostles of the first generation. This knowing was the fulfillment of Shema, and by the way…the fulfillment of the Deut 30 promise, once again:
6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
As such, this love is not directly for the sake of salvation, but as a direct response of faith. It IS the faith of the Jew, to love God in loyalty and trust. And…in fact the Shema sets the standard and “end,” or what has to be our own concept of how far this must go.
The END of Shema is our own life, as Paul expressed time and time again. This constitutes the mature gospel, not unto babes, but those who “eat meat.” Now glad-handing each other on the back is not exactly our own attitude, is it? BASKING in our own future forgiveness? PolEEZE.