Sunday, February 7, 2010

Covenants in transition – a fresh look at James and Paul – the Jew, Gentile distinction Part V; the church is off the mark

We have taken a fresh look at James chapter two and, specifically the clause faith without works is dead being alone. We have shown that James was speaking to Jewish believers before the temple was destroyed….we have shown that the works that James used as an illustration were faith works promoting social justice linked to the judgment passage that Jesus put forth in Matthew 25:51-46….we have shown that James stressed the idea that mercy triumphs over judgment…and now, we will look at the New Covenant prophecy in Isaiah 58:5-12. Here is a portion of that passage:
Isa 58:7-9 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (8) Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. (9) Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
There are a lot of great promises in this passage…directed at the fulfillment of the New Covenant (Matt 26:28). In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said that they should let their light so shine before men that others might see their good works….what works?.....feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless, visiting the sick and those in prison.
If you look at the evangelical agenda today it appears that they have very little of this focus. Actually, I should say that they have very little tolerance for his focus. They are focused on electing so called Christian senators and congressmen. Many are focused on running this country on the Ten Commandments. They are focused on right wing politics and making sure that big corporations have no restrictions. And in most cases, that is the majority of cases, they are NOT focused on social justice and they are NOT focused on allowing mercy to triumph over judgment.
The bible has two consistent threads, one is redemption and the other is social justice. Many evangelicals have become so attentive to seeing the bible as the word of God rather than taking Jesus focus and seeing the gospel as the word of God and they have lost the prevailing redemptive and social justice theme. Look at what Paul said in Galatians:
Gal 2:9-10 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (10) Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
After Paul explained the gospel that Jesus had revealed to him via the Holy Spirit, the apostles agreed and only added the important reminder for social justice. One of the reasons that the light of the church is not shining brighter today is its neglecting of the gospel…the unmixed redemptive focus of the love of God…and the demonstration of his love in the earth through feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless and visiting the sick and prisoners.
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.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I agree we are truly focusing on the wrong things: power, fame, fortune, and not helping our fellow man or woman but to benefit our self-seeking selves.

    ReplyDelete

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