Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Golden Rule

I noticed recently that in Luke’s gospel, the golden rule is in context of Jesus’ teaching about loving your enemies.

The tendency most people have is to give to one’s enemy what the enemy gives to you. With maybe a little more added. If they trash you, you trash them. If they abuse you, you abuse them.

But Jesus said, treat your enemy as you want to be treated. No one wants to be abused, trashed, taunted, insulted, or spat upon. We all want to be treated gently, politely, and with respect.

Jesus commands us to live contrary to our natural inclination. Even to move in the opposite direction. For abuse, give kindness. For insult, give praise.

Of course, to really, authentically act in a different way, a person needs a different heart. To act in love at all times, a person needs a new heart. A person needs new spiritual DNA injected into the core of our being. To get new spiritual DNA, a person needs a new agreement with Jesus, to give one’s allegiance to Jesus.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Old Vs. New Covenant

God told Jeremiah that he would make a new covenant with his children. The first covenant was made on Sinai, when God gave the Law to Moses. The covenant was based on an agreement between God and the people. God would bless the people, as long as they obeyed the Law. And God would permit circumstances that would punish the people, when they disobeyed. And they continually broke the covenant. The Bible narrative contains a series of waves. The people ride high on the crest of obedience. Then, the crash on the beach of disobedience.

It was a choice to surrender to weakness, and expedience. To want to be like others. To stop following the Lord. Israel chose to follow other gods, almost from the very first day God delivered them from Egypt.

So, a new covenant is needed. One that is not based on men following the Law in their own strength and will. Because that is never going to happen.

This new covenant is also based on an agreement with God and people. The people choose to follow God. God chooses to make a fundamental change in the person’s spiritual DNA. The change occurs deep in a person’s inner man. Thought processes, motivations, and imagination are all fundamentally changed.

And Jesus came to bring this new covenant into being. And many Jews realized something extraordinary was happening. But what many did not seem to see was that a change in covenant also meant a change in practice. It’s like when a person gets a new item of clothing, because an old item has a hole in it. One does not get the new item to use it as patch material for the old item. One begins using the new item, and gets rid of the old one.