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Friday, March 6, 2015

Getting me out of the way of Him

Romans 2:25 to 3:9 focuses on the advantage of being a Jew. I think the proper reading of Paul here is from the perspective of the Jewish Bible. Paul is a Jew. He says "we" when he speaks of the Jews. So what Paul says about Jews is said as an 'insider.' It is easy to forget that Paul's exhortation--being a real Jew is a matter of the heart and not simply based on outward signs like circumcision--is in line with the prophets of Israel from many centuries prior. Leviticus 26:41; Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4; 9:24-25; Ezekiel 44:7 (and other Jewish writings like Jubilees and Philo) all speak of circumcision of the heart. The covenant has ALWAYS been about faith/fidelity not just outward appearances.

Jesus, of course, was very focused on this very thing. He said: Do not do things to please others and get your reputation built up, do them secretly for God. He sees. He knows. The human ego is voracious and too often we are tempted to use God for our own glory.

Today's Gospel (John 5:30-47) is a long speech by Jesus about this very thing. Among other things He says "I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me..." Later He continues along the same lines, "How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?"

Lent is a time of purification: giving up "me" more than give up stuff. God is Creator, we are creatures. We owe Him everything. It is time to be clear on that. The Creator is also the Savior. In the end, we can not pull ourselves out of the human condition (sin and death). We have no means of escape. God alone provides the way. If we make anything or anyone the center of our hope for salvation, than we have no hope.

The Lenten practice of reminding ourselves that "it is not about me, it is about the Lord" is the best spiritual discipline. Obedient, trusting love is the only response worthy of the kindness-mercy-covenant love of God.

The message of the Scriptures (also a theme of John 5) according to Jesus is Him: You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; but it is they that bear witness to me..."
The whole Bible, both Testaments, are about Jesus.  In light of Jesus the Old is not Old (if you get what I mean) but ever new!

Life is a gift, a wonderful gift. The fullness of life, life unto ages of ages in the Messianic Kingdom is worth any cost. But it is God who is King there, not our selves. Let us pray for one another, pilgrims on the journey of faith, to let Jesus be the center and give God (Trinity) the glory

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