Many saints spend a lot of time going through the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John trying to judge their next move in any given situation, i.e. the “What would Jesus do?” scenario; not realizing that those four books are part of the Old Covenant; with the exception of the crucifixion, his burial and Him raising from the dead. Now without taking a sober look at these books, and at least attempting to ask the Lord what He was getting at in them, a christian life can lead to endless guilt trips with fresh promises to do better; only to find yet another tinge of condemnation for not measuring up. People end up with well-adjusted flesh, but it is still flesh and confidence in it. Many today that hear brothers and sisters talk about grace make the very same assumption that was presented to our brother Paul in Romans 6, concerned that what he was implying was that now we can just sin our pants off and it is ok with God. Hence the need for understanding the timeline and just what happened in the New Covenant that Jesus ushered in by HIS death, burial and resurrection.
We were listening to a teaching of Andrew Farley at his Sunday service, and he gave me one of those duh moments I just love. (Not really!) He mentioned the verse that has been so blown out of context, that it is no wonder many saints don’t really know what the heck is going on in their relationship with God. He mentioned the one where Jesus told the disciples to teach all the things He commanded them to all who would hear, and apparently they did. However, it does not come out sounding like the synoptic gospels are read, but void of many of the things that ARE there. Have you ever noticed that? Personally I had an inkling, but for whatever reason it just really hit home today when he mentioned it.
This my brothers and sisters is why understanding that a new timeline has been introduced and that everything in the Old Testament needs to be understood from a pre-cross perspective, and redressed as Jesus actually taught using the law lawfully while He was under it to bury the self-righteous, and make way for the heart towards God that is honest and realizes completely their need for reconciliation. I mean I find it very sad that if you ask an average pew sitter what the New Covenant is, 9 times out of 10 they will simply say that Jesus died, and although that is true, it is not the end all. Being distracted by what would Jesus do from the gospels keeps us handicapped and infantile, rather than bringing us to maturity followed by peace and rest.
What am I saying? I am saying that if you read what the brothers wrote in the epistles, never will you find them telling the fledgling brothers and sisters to cut off body parts, or ask God for forgiveness, or all of those difficult things Jesus mentioned in the gospels. Why? Because everything changed after His resurrection! A new era and walk with God came into being, and that was an exciting yet confusing part for the first century christians too. The God of the universe taking up residence inside a dirty old sinner like me, well I never! But it is true, and that is the gist of the epistles my friends! Our brothers Paul, James, John and Peter were doing the best they could in listening to Christ from inside them and trying to make it clear to us that we are new, dearly loved by our Father, and reconciled forever and secure in Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate price to make it so. I’d say it is high time that we take another look at this whole thing in an honest and patient way; and for the love of God, make a concerted effort to stop beating each other up with weak and beggarly passages found in the Old Testament that were never meant for your everyday Gentile anyways. The only things that we can really glean from them as Gentile believers is that the Jews could never live up to the standard and neither can we, so let it fade already will ya’?
For this saint, it is now a time of learning how to stop, listen and let the spirit guide me into how to answer someone who may still be trapped in the lies of What would Jesus do, in hopes that their hearts will be open to discovering that He is in them, ready and willing to tell them what they should do personally.
I want to share a verse from the gospels that may just sting a heart, (I hope anyway), and it can be found in John 9:28. The context is dialogue between the religious leaders and the man born blind who had his eyes opened by Jesus. It is quite comical to me, but the profound remark they made is that they were Moses’ disciples. What my friends came through Moses?
Skipping over to another part of John, Jesus is speaking to His disciples and tells them this: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. What came through Jesus? Who’s disciple are you?
P.S. Differentiating between believers and non-believers is an essential part of understanding what the saints of old were getting at in the epistles as well. But that is another blog that will be on the horizon. Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying here, and that we treat non-believers different to the point of looking down our nose at them. For God so loved the world and desires that we all become HIS disciples, not mine or yours! Love ya!