Friday, February 5, 2010

Covenants in transition – a fresh look at James and Paul – the Jew, Gentile distinction Part III

It is a good time to shift gears again, at least for a short time and, look at what Jesus taught his disciples about the scripture and scripture interpretation. The main reason is to see if there is an interpretation that is closer to truth than the ones currently offered by evangelical Christianity and its myriad of doctrines. We have decided based upon John 5:39-40 and, Luke 24:27 & 44-47 that Jesus taught a solely redemptive interpretation of scripture.
You can find posts that explain various positionss of this blog in the following areas: Introduction, The Word of God, Realized Eschatology, Jew – Gentile Distinction. These are just a few of the blog posts but, I encourage you to look through them or, you can get a free PDF of the blog through the latest Saturday.
In yesterday’s post we looked at what I perceive to be an error in the evangelical doctrine that has arisen from James chapter two. It seems to me as though, the works necessary for faith have been interpreted to be almost any kind of legalistic obedience that a group can conceive. James however, links the faith works if we dare call them that, to the perfect law of liberty; I believe this is the Law of Christ and is therefore, the Law of Love. It is obvious from the Old Testament Prophets that God is concerned with love expressed in terms of social justice and James chapter two is focused on social Justice. Jesus said that the entire law was “do unto others what you would have them do unto you” and, quite frankly….that entails social justice.
The illustration that James uses to establish the fact that faith without works is dead is found in the following verses: Jas 2:15-17 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, (16) and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (17) So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. I think that he purposely uses this situation to emphasize the works that Jesus says would demonstrate a person who had embraced kingdom principles.
If you read Matthew 25:31-46, you will find the standards by which the saint will be judged and adjudicated fit for the kingdom. Here is an excerpt: Mat 25:37-40 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? (38) And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? (39) And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' (40) And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' For Jesus, the standard that shows faith is feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless and, visiting the sick and prisoners. This is what God has called the followers of Jesus to do. Just like God called Abraham to demonstrate his faith by sacrificing Isaac; since Jesus, he is calling his followers to social justice.
We have a lot more to say about James and Galatians but this will do for today….it will be tied to the New Covenant prophecy of Isaiah 58. However, for now, for all of those who believe that judgment is their calling and you know I am talking to a lot of people remember….mercy triumphs over judgment and, it will every time.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with James; we are to treat people the way that we would like to be treated, and help those that cannot help themselves. I believe we should be there for one another, if we are to imitate Jesus. Serving does not earn us salvation. But when we serve it shows our commitment and our love for God. It also verifies our faith in Christ.

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