Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Loving Christ Requires Change

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “It's ok to go on living as you did before. Just be nice to people and don't make judgments on whether behavior is right or wrong." Then he led them [out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are being victimized by your intolerance."

As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Matthew went back to collecting taxes. Peter and Andrew went back to fishing. The woman caught in adultery went back to her lover, telling the Pharisees not to push their morality on her. The Samaritan woman moved back in with the guy she was living with, working on making him husband number six. It was all okay because all that Jesus wanted was for us to be nice to each other and not judge.

--The Gospel according to... absolutely NOBODY.

The above passage is of course a perversion of Matthew 28, John 20 and Luke 24. It runs entirely against what Jesus actually said. But this is the Jesus the modern world seems to think exists. The world takes two passages from the Bible: Matthew 7:1-5 ("Judge not") and 1 John 4:8 ("God is love") and uses them to justify their own behavior, rejecting the concept that they are sinners who need to respond to God's love and gift of grace.

Thus, when the Church speaks about the moral obligations that come from God's love, like John 14:15 ("If you love me, you will keep my commandments"), the response is to condemn the Church for being judgmental, homophobic, anti-woman... basically to accuse the Church of being in opposition to Christ.

That's a mindset that puts souls at risk of eternal damnation. Jesus didn't come to tell people "be nice to each other." He came to save us from our sins.

But that action tells us a couple of things:
■ There are actions we do that are sins.
■ We are to respond to this by amending our lives, turning from evil and seeking to live as God commands (both with the seeking and depending on His grace).

Indeed, the modern world makes a mockery of His actions when they reduce His teaching to the Wiccan  'An it harm none, do what ye will.' It presumes other people are the problem because WE don't harm anybody (at least not anyone that matters), but THEY are trying to keep us from doing what we want.

But Jesus wasn't a "nice guy." He spoke very clearly about sin and Hell and the need to repent. Salvation comes to the penitent who knows his sin and is sorry for it. Not to the arrogant who believe they have nothing to be sorry for (Luke 18:9-14).

The arrogant aren't only the Pharisees. They can be found wherever the person refuses to consider his or her own behavior as being in conflict with God.

Think about it...

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