Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Freedom To Righteousness

Humanity typically looks at good with reference to evil. We see some acts as evil and others as good. We judge subjectively. We usually judge others harsher than we judge ourselves. We think we are good because we haven’t stolen anything or murdered anybody. Or we think we are good because of what we do, aiding our neighbor, raising our kids, loving our spouses, or giving food to a hungry person. But at the same time we are doing things that are not good all the time. We see good as the opposite of evil or evil as the opposite of good. But we don’t understand “good” without reference to evil. Even in our own hearts evil is always lurking. We are always comparing and contrasting and justifying ourselves. We find even the most giving people in the world have dark nights of the soul with the published diary writings of Mother Theresa. Yet we still reach for righteousness. We yearn for world peace. We want everyone to get along with everyone as if fighting, murder, and violence isn’t supposed to happen. We see these actions as somehow out of kilter with what “ought” to be. How can this be if at the same time we deny that there is a standard of what “ought” to be outside of our own subjectivity?


I’ve been watching the popular TV show Heroes. The characters are becoming duplicitous. The “good” ones are becoming corrupted in their fight for justice and the “evil” ones are showing compassion and integrity for the first time on the show. The lines are being blurred. The struggle in the hearts of man is coming to the forefront. Corrupted morality and compassionate acts of kindness are rising up in the same individuals. How can they determine the right path when their own hearts are so duplicitous?


Humans are only left with subjectivity when we try and figure out how to live in a way that is good. Some would say that’s all we have and we must make the best of it. But what if that’s not all we have? What if there is a better way than the human way? What if we can enter righteousness to where we can have our eyes opened to pure perfect goodness without contrast to evil?


The biblical moral code is quiet extensive. The law that was given to Moses was in effect when Jesus walked the earth. He encountered many people who were living out the law, or at least claiming to be, but whose hearts were corrupt making them unable to keep the law. Jesus said the law is fulfilled by loving God and loving people. He said that these were the two greatest commandments that fulfilled all law. The law was given to show us that we cannot keep it without His eternal love working through us. The focus was never to control people to conform to God’s law, but to free people to conform to righteousness personified in Christ Jesus. When we live in our corrupted nature we are not free. When we live in oneness with His nature we are the most free. Jesus said he came to give us life so that we could live life more abundantly. We can be transformed to righteousness and be free of all the weight of corruptness of heart, mind, and soul. The chains that bind us to thinking naturally, to evil, to sin, to corruption of the heart, and the bondages of addictions are broken by the cross of Christ. There’s more, Christ resurrected making it possible to live life a new – to live like Him.


To often the Church has tried to control people to live a certain way instead of simply leading people to Christ who doesn’t need us to put rules on people. Christ transforming power is more than sufficient to bring about righteousness in a person, to change hearts, to renew minds. Moreover fear ought never to be employed in sharing about Christ. Jesus didn’t invoke fear of punishment, penalty, or hell. He lived the truth He personified, being himself the example of life properly aligned with God. He came to point us to the way to life, not to bring condemnation and judgment. The world was already living in that by their own corruption. He came to free them from that way of living. He came to free them from guilt, condemnation, judgment. He came to raise us up to be heirs with Him in all things.


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The biblical moral code is quiet extensive. The law that was given to Moses was in effect when Jesus walked the earth. He encountered many people who were living out the law, or at least claiming to be, but whose hearts were corrupt making them unable to keep the law. Jesus said the law is fulfilled by loving God and loving people. He said that these were the two greatest commandments that fulfilled all law."

What do those things have to do with not eating pork or shellfish?

Karla said...

That's Old Testament law. Do you realize how bad pork is for people? And how bad eating certain seafood the kind not allowed by the Old Testament is for people? These were just basic health protections. I eat pork, but it isn't a healthy thing to eat. It's actually quiet bad for you.

However when I was talking about an extensive moral code I was thinking more about how Jesus talks about not even having lustful thoughts in ones mind for immoral actions starts internally before it is employed externally.

Brooke said...

Hey! Karla come check out my page really quick. Thanks!

Also on the subject, in biblical times there was actually a disease in pork that most times could not be cooked out of the pork, which is why it was so bad during the Old Testament time. I think it was called Trichinella. It is mostly eradicated now. The seafood was a similar problem, fresh seafood as in the bottom feeders such as crab and shellfish were often impossible to come by, so it was often bad for the people once it arrived miles from the coast. Just a little more of an explanation behind those two regulations.

Anonymous said...

"That's Old Testament law. Do you realize how bad pork is for people?"

What does it being in the OT have to do with anything? You stated that the law of god, which means the OT law, is satisfied by only 2 requirements. How do those requirements satisfy the prohibition on eating pork?

"These were just basic health protections. I eat pork, but it isn't a healthy thing to eat. It's actually quiet bad for you."

No, it's not any worse than beef. Many things can be bad for you, you don't see god listing all the bad things that one shouldn't do.

Anonymous said...

brooke,
"Also on the subject, in biblical times there was actually a disease in pork that most times could not be cooked out of the pork, which is why it was so bad during the Old Testament time."

You are almost 100% right. Pork can still contain bacteria and disease, so you should always cook pork thoroughly before eating it. Proper preparation of it (then and now) would keep them safe, however.

"I think it was called Trichinella."

Close. That's the name of the parasitic worm that lives in the pork and infects people. The disease is called trichinosis.

"It is mostly eradicated now."

Um, not really. Undercooked meat (not just pork actually) causes problems even today.

"The seafood was a similar problem, fresh seafood as in the bottom feeders such as crab and shellfish were often impossible to come by, so it was often bad for the people once it arrived miles from the coast. Just a little more of an explanation behind those two regulations."

Again, quite right.

The fact remains that god saw fit to outlaw such things, to claim that they are sinful. How does loving one's neighbor or loving god fulfill these laws? The only way I can see to not be sinful is to not eat pork or shellfish.

This also begs the question as to why god would make such laws. Why wouldn't god simply tell the people that they won't get sick if they properly prepare their food? Instead, he creates a moral dictate not to eat those meats. god would have known, given his omniscience, that the food was actually safe if prepared correctly. OTOH, a primitive culture that was making up their own moral strictures would not know that it was safe to eat pork when properly cooked, so they created a law that came from god in order to keep people from eating tainted meat. Isn't the latter more parsimonious as an explanation?

Karla said...

Anonymous, there were parts of the law that were dietary or sanitary restrictions for the benefit of the people. All of it had purpose. The reason for the law is fulfilled by love. The new covenant was brought in by Christ. Under the new covenant there is liberties that were not there under the old covenant law. For example under the old covenant if you touched a leper you became unclean. In the new if you touch a leper the leper becomes clean/healed. There is a new authority released through Christ that wasn't there in the old covenant.

Anonymous said...

"In the new if you touch a leper the leper becomes clean/healed."

How many lepers have you touched?

"There is a new authority released through Christ that wasn't there in the old covenant."

So, now you are moving the goal posts? Are they heavy?

Karla said...

"How many lepers have you touched?"

I haven't ever met one. But I have laid hands on people and seen them healed.

"So, now you are moving the goal posts? Are they heavy?"

What are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

"What are you talking about?"

Changing your story and what I objected to, of course.

You spoke of how Jesus says that one must only do two things to fulfill the Biblical moral code. When asked how one can do those two things and fulfill the prohibitions on pork and other dietary rules you retreated to the rules being changed through Jesus. This is not supported by the scripture, however. Jesus didn't say that there are new rules. He said that you can fulfill all the old rules by those two actions, which he is clearly in error about.

Karla said...

It fulfills all the requirements of the law for the requirements of the law were put into place to show man our need for God. Once we have direct relationship with God we can live a life of love without focus on rules for we will know the will of our Father and our love relationship with Him will lead us in all truth through the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

"It fulfills all the requirements of the law for the requirements of the law were put into place to show man our need for God."

And how does this happen in the specific example of not eating pork? We don't need god in order to eat properly prepared pork that doesn't make us sick. But, god made that rule anyway, and simply loving god and others will not keep us on the correct side of god's law not to eat pork unless we also don't eat pork.

Karla said...

It's still not beneficial to eat pork. But it is no longer a matter of law because we live under the new covenant of Christ. Christ freed us from even obeying laws of dietary protection to gain righteousness. There are still good principals in the Old Testament law like not eating pork. But we are no longer bound by law because it is fulfilled.

Practically if you love God then you won't consume what's harmful to you because God has placed value upon your life. If you love people you would not want to consume what is harmful to you because you don't want to harm yourself and not be there for the people you love.

There is more to old covenant and new covenant distinctions, but that's a simple practical answer to your question.

Anonymous said...

"It's still not beneficial to eat pork."

What's not beneficial about it? It provides nutrients and energy.

"But it is no longer a matter of law because we live under the new covenant of Christ."

Again, that's not what you said. You said that the law of Moses was fulfilled by loving god and loving one's neighbor. How do you respond to the fact that this is not correct?

"There are still good principals in the Old Testament law like not eating pork."

I fail to see why it is a good principle. There is nothing inherently wrong about pork. In some ways it's actually better for you than beef.

"Practically if you love God then you won't consume what's harmful to you because God has placed value upon your life."

Uncooked pork is potentially harmful, cooked pork is safe. god, however, made no distinction between the two.

"There is more to old covenant and new covenant distinctions, but that's a simple practical answer to your question."

It's an evasion and denial of actual facts. How do I obey the law of not eating pork by simply loving god or my neighbor? The only way that I can see obeying that law is to simply not eat pork. What you are saying is in error. One can not fulfill the Mosiac law by simply loving god and one's neighbor.