Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Thought for Thursday 26 February 2015

“You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself.  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am The Lord.”  Leviticus 19:17-18 NRSV

Before Jesus defined our “neighbor” by raising the bar substantially to include anyone in distress whom we are in a position to help (Luke 10:25-37), Moses had decreed to the people of Israel that each person is responsible for, and accountable to, the other according to what The Lord had revealed to him.  That is, while there is certainly a personal component to our relationship with The Lord, that relationship falls flat if we do not allow our love for The Lord to manifest itself outwardly.  Indeed, “He who says, ‘I know Him’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).

So how are we to answer the contemporary notion that the Commandments of The Lord have no meaning for New Testament or “saved” Christians?  How is being obedient and faithful to the One who “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9) somehow being “legalistic”?  How can we say turning a blind eye to the despair many experience is ok as long as we’re “personally saved”?  “We deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

When we question the usefulness of The Law, we question the very Word itself which was manifested in Christ Himself.  And when we dismiss the usefulness of The Law in our daily living, we dismiss the doctrinal and covenantal reality that we are Christ in the world today; the Living Word in all its glory and in the full Light of Christ in a world filled with darkness!

We must not worry ourselves about whether we “have to” do this or that.  Rather we must acknowledge this certain reality: the Word means nothing if that Word is left in the Book itself.  The Word is not a list of things we must do or “shalt not” do; the Word is who we become when we are baptized into the Covenant and strive toward perfection, becoming sanctified in the Word.  “Each person is imbued with the divine spirit of The Word; the words we speak and the actions we undertake are all manifestations of the Word, commandments in motion” (Dr. Eitan Fishbane).

“Do not be deceived; The Lord is not mocked.  Whatever one sows, that will one reap” (Galatians 6:7) … and the Word we are entrusted with becomes, by our own actions or lack of faithfulness, meaningless … not only to ourselves but also to those we are called to bless and to bear witness to.

We have a lot of living to do between now and the time of our death; so let us live fully and faithfully!  Not in the darkness of despair and the lies we create for ourselves, but in the full Light of Christ who beckons us to live fully and faithfully!  For He is the Law and the prophets fulfilled – so must we be.



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