Saturday, April 15, 2017

Unwilling to Willing

The Pharisees were called vipers by Jesus for following, not only all the Law, but to the T - all the  regulations which they added to the Law. They created an impossible legal system that none could possibly obey. One must give them credit though - they tried to keep the Law.

Calvinists would disagree, but abiding by the Law is a good thing! However, the reasons must be right. Law-keeping is not the way to heaven, but is a way to show love for God and fellow persons. The Pharisees were so set on keeping the Law, that they did so out of obligation, and not because they loved. For instance, it's admirable not to steal, but being honest (good) is the road to failure. At some point in time even a Pharisee would fail. What's worse, if they failed on one point of the Law, they failed on all points.

There was a command:
Exodus 23:19b "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk."
I believe this command is so that people will respect animals, for obviously boiling a kid goat in its own mother's milk is disrespectful. However, the Jews took this one step further - Do not eat meat and drink milk in the same meal.  The original command was easily obtainable, and not a burden on anyone. It was a fair command! On the other hand, the regulation added to the command, made it burdensome.

God's Law was written on stone for a reason. It was to endure forever.
Matthew 5:17  "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

 The reason for writing the Ten Commandments on stone are to last till heaven and earth pass away. As such they are forever, and have significance. Those Calvinists who minimize the Law shall be called less in the kingdom of heaven. In other words, they are indeed important because they are to complement and compliment Jesus!

To complement: He (Jesus) came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it!

To compliment:  If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

Now for unwilling and willing: Abraham obeyed God, and it was credited to him as faith:
Romans 4:20 "He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him..."
In other words, Abraham was willing.

Now let's look at another situation:
Mark 10:19 "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he (rich young man) answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions."
Therein, the rich young man kept all the Law, but was unwilling. He was unwilling to offer himself as a living sacrifice to Jesus, whereas Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only remaining son, but was not required to actually obey what God commanded. As such the willingness to obey is of the heart, and is done out of love and respect.  Actually following commands out of coercion is unwillingness to do things out of love. Indeed, "If you love me, keep my commandments," said Jesus.
We all find ourselves in this dilemma, and it is dangerous. We all are at liberty to sin, and can if that's what we want. However, as Christians with changed hearts, we are to no longer desire sinful behaviors:
James 2:12 "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."
Here is another Law. We now have (1) The Law of God, (2) the Law of Sin, and (3) the Law of Liberty.

The Law of God is the Ten Commandments, and represent the ten ways to love God and others. The Law of Sin is the violation of the Ten Commandments, and are effectually ten ways to hate God and others. The Law of Liberty is the willingness to obey God for right reasons - out of love and respect for him.

We all struggle with the Law of Liberty. We are free to lie, covet, steal, etc., and we don't, but it's more to validate our fire insurance policy with God, than because we love him! In other words, we do it not to please God, but to keep our lousy skins out of hell. We don't obey willingly, but unwillingly because it's for wrong reasons.

What must we all do? We need to change. We are to obey, but because we want to please God. We are to hate sin, and be willing to sacrifice our pleasure for Jesus. Just think: It wasn't pleasurable for Him that day he died on the cross. We are to hang our pleasures right up there with him - willingly.
Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
It boils down to this: Are we willing or unwilling to please God?

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