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Featured How Is The Greatest Commandment Kept?

Discussion in 'Christian Spirituality Forum' started by Hidden In Him, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    Ah, I think I am beginning to understand the dilemma.

    Just to get the works thing out of the way first... Works simply cannot be the measure of obedience or dedication to the Lord, from an observation standpoint. As such, it does not help in considering this issue.

    As for emptying out the things of the world in order to be filled with the things of the Lord, it is a good thought, but a bad idea. Or rather, I should say...it is fine to empty out the things of the world and pray and invite the Lord to fill in; but it is not a good idea to empty out those things of the world which the Lord has made manifest for a purpose (His purpose). He has us where we are for a reason. Better to look for and ask for knowledge of that purpose, and then do that as unto the Lord, while considering the rest of life to be the means and provision which He has provided for just such a time and purpose, even if it seems it is by the work of your own hands. It's not.

    That all sounds less like a lack of fullness, and more like a lack of fulfillment...which can only come by revelation. Ask for it. Be patient. Meanwhile, do not go about empty, but enjoy the full experience that He has made manifest...which He does by His own hand. Receive it to the full. It that means work, then work; if rest, then rest; if to dance...then dance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  2. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member

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    Well, I appreciate the kind words, I do. Only we again may be approaching things from a different perspective somewhat. Time will tell if I fulfill it, but I believe and have for many years now that I have an extraordinarily strong calling on my life. Hence the attempt at a complete dedication of my time to Him, day and night.

    I do believe it possible, but there will be a grief there until I accomplish what I believe He has called me to do.

    Blessings, brother, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
     
  3. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    All the best...but do remember--it is not you/us who fulfill, but rather Him in us. Sometimes that means doing nothing we can call our own, that He might do all in us.
     
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  4. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    A thought on works. In Matthew 5 Jesus said...
    KJV Matthew 5
    14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
    15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
    16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven....
    Then layer in Matthew He said...
    KJV Matthew 6
    The Lord's Prayer
    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly....
    And again here...
    KJV Matthew 23
    5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
    6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
    7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
    Add to the above those who fast with disfigured faces..." woe is me...I didn't have breakfast this morning"...etc.

    Do we see a contradiction in Jesus words here? Let our light shine that our works may be seen of men that they may glorify God....don't do works to be seen of men.

    We speak of works revealing our love for God. Works that show we are keeping those two greatest commandments. I think though we need to take care about what works we apply to what we are to show and what we are to keep secret. Too show...
    Acts of mercy...feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, visiting the sick and imprisoned. Looking after people. These cannot be hidden. But the works we do in order to remain firmly attached to the Vine, our prayer life...our fasting...our bible devotions...these are the secret things we do for which God rewards us. The first, those we do openly, Jesus says in so much add we do those things to men, we do into Him. These are salvational issues. Jesus said to those who didn't do them...bye now. Off you go. Our treasure in heaven is our time spent with Him.
     
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  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member

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    Hello HIH,
    Yes, I do think He has given me that gift as, I had always struggled to get the words from my heart to Him...As far as our clients, we are pretty well trained to know what to look for not to mention prayers of safety for all the workers there daily. Unfortunately, two of our old volunteers who were there were working off community hours after getting out of the Oxford House (drug re-hab) both in their mid and early 20's. One found OD'd in his back yard...we had "lost" pics of him all over the Center as we hadn't heard hide nor hair from him, then the wording on the pictures changed to "found deceased". From heroin, and last month the same thing another community hour worker found the same way. Makes me wonder if the Oxford House does not follow up and check on them! Many tears around here but, many joyfulness as well.
    Thanks for your reply!
     
  6. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Active Member

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    First of all, apologies for not getting back to you earlier. I have been at a conference, being addressed by Colin Smith and Mark Dever. :)
    Because the righteousness of God is not that which He demands from us but that which He bestows upon us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:21).
     
  7. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Active Member

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    That's fine then. Thank you for clarifying. :)
    According to the Reformers and Puritans, the moral law, of which the 'greatest commandment is an epitome, was given for three reasons:
    1. To restrain sin in the unregenerate.
    2. To convince them of their sinful state and drive them to Christ (Galatians 3:24).
    3. As a rule of life for believers. Not that we can keep it, for if we could then we have no need of Christ (Galatians 2:21), but it is our delight to try to please God as well as well as we can (Psalms 1:2-3 etc.)..
    Absolutely they should! All these things are natural to the believer. My only issue is that they are not the righteousness of God. What I mean by that is that one cannot attain to righteousness by performing them. But you clarified that above. It looks as if we are in agreement. :)

    I will add that the very firrst paragraph of the very first document of the Protestant Reformation states:

    When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ bade us, "Repent!" He meant that the whole life of the believer should be one of repentance." [quoted from memory] At our very best and highest, we fall far short of the glory of God. Nothing but the grace of God in Christ Jesus can possibly deliver us from perdition.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  8. Enoch111

    Enoch111 Well-Known Member

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    Quite obviously your understanding of God's righteousness is deficient. Firstly He imputes righteousness to the sinner who repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. That is JUSTIFICATION, and that is what is referred to in 2 Cor 5:21.

    And then He works out His righteousness within the believer by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. THAT IS SANCTIFICATION.
    And it is GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT who works within the saints.

    And God does demand righteousness and holiness from every Christian. He says "Be ye holy, for I am holy" But it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

    Note: Gal 2:21 simply tells us that the works of the Law do not make one as righteous as God (which is what God demands), and that justification is by grace through faith.

    So I trust you will have to good sense to acknowledge that your understanding of this matter was seriously deficient.
     
  9. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Active Member

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    I really think it's best if we try to treat each other with respect. If you would sooner not discuss with me, just say so. I have plenty of other things to do.
    We are talking about the righteousness of God. That is what He imputes to the believer.
    The righteousness of God is not sanctification and I cannot think where it is ever described as such. There is a holiness without which no man will see the Lord, but that is not the righteousness of God. We all stumble in many things (James 3:2). Our every work falls short, and only the grace of God keeps us from being thrown into hell. But....

    'When Satan tempts me to despair
    And tells me of the guilt within,
    Upwards I look and see His face
    Who made an end of all my sin.
    Because the sinless Saviour died,
    My sinful soul is counted free;
    For God the just is satisfied
    To look on Him and pardon me.'
     
  10. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Active Member

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    I have just returned from a church Bible Study.
    We are looking at 'Respectable Sins' and adapting our studies from a book of that name by Jerry Bridges.
    We have looked at Discontent, Bitterness, Selfish Ambition, Envy & Jealousy and Ingratitude. Tonight we looked at the Sins of the Tongue from James 3, Matthew 12:33ff and various verses from Proverbs. In the future we shall look at Wrath, untruthfulness, Respecting of Persons and, perhaps most important of all, Pride.

    I suggest that in the absence of repentance from sins like these, our prayer, worship and meditation is unacceptable to God (Amos 5:21-24).
     
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  11. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member

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    That's really interesting, Brakelite. I've never seen those two passages side by side before... and I think you're right, actually. Good works in the context of Matthew 5:16 would especially be walking in love towards one's persecutors, i.e. blessing those who cursed you (Matthew 5:11-13). And yes, such works should be seen by men, to confirm that we are not the hypocrites (i.e. actors) that Jesus said the Pharisees and scribes were.

    That's quite good...

    Not saying there should be a hard and fast rule that you never under any circumstances tell anyone you are fasting, or praying, etc., as there are times when you need to. But certainly they are not the things Jesus focused on wanting other men to see in us. What He wanted was for men to see our righteous conduct in the face of being abused and reviled for proclaiming His name : )

    Brings me back to some things He's been teaching me on how I respond to people on the forums.
     
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  12. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member

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    Aww... Yes, keep your mind on the victories, and don't let the Devil get you down. Good to hear you are having successes : )
     
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  13. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member

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    Steve, I won't automatically assume this was the theology of the reformers, as I truly don't want to tell you the truth, but this doesn't make any sense to me either. The greatest commandment wasn't given to the unregenerate. It was given to His people. :confused:

    Not trying to be overly critical, but I just can't identify with that view, so I hope they truly didn't hold to it.
    Another one that just bounces off me, LoL. You'll have to forgive me here, Steve, but I've never been one to tow the line, especially when it comes to theological matters. And to me it just doesn't make sense that the greatest commandment of both the Old and New Testament era would be one we cannot keep. I think the reformers were missing it here.
    :)

    I like your last quote a lot. Nothing to disagree with there. On your comment about the righteousness of God, we may have a bit of a disagreement on what His grace is intended to produce in the believer, and that both actually relate to fulfilling the righteousness of God. But that would likely be a long conversation for another time : )

    Blessings in Christ, and thank you for sharing.
     
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  14. quietthinker

    quietthinker Well-Known Member

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    hypocrisy is the stench that Jesus railed at.
     
  15. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Active Member

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    It was given to the Israelites. Do you believe that they were all born again ( 1 Corinthians 10:1-13)?
    You are forgiven. ;) Just to clarify: neither the Reformers nor I hold that believers cannot keep the commandments at all in any way. But we cannot keep them perfectly. It's not that we can't love some people somewhat some of the time -even the tax collectors do that (Matthew 5:46-47). We may well love a lot of people quite a lot a lot of the time - but we don't love all people as ourselves all the time. And if we think we do, we may well be guilty of pride which is an abomination to God.
    I will only ask why you think that if we can keep the commandments perfectly, our lives should be one of constant repentance.
    The quotation BTW, is the first of Luther's 95 theses.

    Blessings to you too.
     
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  16. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    Praise God! I agree wholeheartedly. Of course we can obey God's commandments. BUT...as Jesus said, without Me you can do nothing. Sadly, it seems most Christians believe that even with Christ we can't do anything either.

    And with this I wholeheartedly disagree. Why would someone be guilty of pride just because he can honestly declare that he knows of no-one he doesn't love? I can claim that. With a clear conscience. However, that doesn't mean that tomorrow the Lord may introduce me to someone who is totally obnoxious and a right pain in the rear end. This pain may challenge me in ways I have never before seen or experienced. This pain may push all the previously set boundaries of my comfort zone, and challenge me to the very core of my being. But guess what. I know Him in whom I believe, and He abides within and I know I can trust in His promises that nothing is beyond His strength and power, and in and with Him I can determine to love this individual, regardless of how terrible a person he may be, and despite how vile he may behave toward me...because I choose to. And it is Christ Himself who gives us power to choose. In that manner we can overcome. And I refuse to allow anyone, be they Christian or otherwise, to attempt to convince me that anyone is incapable of overcoming sin.
     
  17. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member

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    Well, no. As with today, there are many who "believe" in God yet are not truly obedient to Him. But those who truly believed obeyed, both in OT and in NT times. There is a question in my mind, however, as to what extent the faithful in Israel kept this commandment. Certainly there are hints of it here and there, such as in Isaiah where he said, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee."

    The same is also implied in Deuteronomy 6:4-8, where the greatest commandment is mentioned specifically: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads..."

    Also Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

    So the commandment was there, and being kept in practical terms by some at the very least. Nehemiah said, "For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you.” (Nehemiah 1:4-6)

    I think if they could keep it, then we who received Christ can keep it, too. :)
    That's a good thing to hear first thing in the morning, LoL. :D
    Ok, well that helps. Now we're into the question of sinless perfection, which isn't really what I'm driving at in this thread. But I am talking about extent, and I think the argument that we can't keep them perfectly has sort of opened the door to excuses for why we don't keep them nearly like we should, or nearly as often. Again, the primary question I'm asking in this thread is how is the commandment truly being kept; and to what extent are we to abide in his Presence on a daily basis to consider ourselves as keeping the commandment.
     
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  18. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member

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    CF has an award system where they can vote certain comments or posts as "Winners."
    Sometimes I wish we had that here. I used to give out "winners" when I read them, quite a lot actually, LoL.
     
  19. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    I know personally that the moment I cease praying daily...reading the word...meditating and thinking about spiritual things...in other words, not abiding, then my attitudes toward others, even my dearest and nearest, suffer. Without Christ we absolutely cannot do what we ought.
    I am just now reminded of that mention of the church at Ephesus...
    KJV Revelation 2
    2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
    3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
    4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
    5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

    Having ones candlestick removed I would imagine is serious business. Another scripture having regard to these last days...

    KJV Matthew 24
    12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

    It is believed by many that the opposite to love is hate. I have learned however that that opposite to love is selfishness. And the iniquity spoken of above...which brings with it a coldness and a lack of empathy, compassion, and love for others is an apt descriptive of these times in which we live with society becoming so overwhelmingly self absorbed.
     
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  20. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Active Member

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    Thank you for this. May I just point out that by loving everyone you know, you are not fulfilling our Lord's command? You have to love them as much as you love yourself.

    May I ask you your view on our Lord's words in Mark 12:34? Is 'not far from the kingdom of God' a good place to be, do you think?
     
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