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Thread: Christ's Commandments

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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 5:7-8 . . Persevere, therefore, brethren, until the coming of The Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; be strong, for the coming of The Lord is at hand.

    The koiné Greek word for "at hand" is eggizo (eng-id'-zo) which means: to make near; viz: approach

    So then, "at hand" doesn’t necessarily mean The Lord is poised to drop in any second now, but rather, his arrival is approaching and getting nearer by the minute.

    Although James' encouragement no doubt applies to all believers, it especially applies to his Jewish countrymen. They have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for God to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and to restore David's kingdom as per the voices of the prophets. I'm told that many have given up hope of the promises and the predictions ever coming to pass. But James says don't give up; God is reliable; and He and the kingdom are both worth waiting for no matter how long it takes.

    The problem is: according to 2Pet 3:9, The Lord is actually reluctant to return; primarily because an awful lot of people are going to lose their lives when He does.

    Take for example Rev 16:18-19 where there's predicted a world-wide earthquake preceding The Lord's return so severe on the Richter scale that cities all over the world will collapse at once.

    Something like 2,829 lost their lives when the World Trade Center was demolished by a terrorist attack in 2001. Well; just imagine the body count when all of Manhattan comes down at once. along with other major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Mexico City, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, et al. The carnage will be beyond belief. Surely nobody in a right mind is in a rush to see all of that start happening.
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    In the Bible, Jesus mentions only six of the commandments and they happen to address the same issues that all of the other world religions do:


    You shall not murder.
    You shall not commit adultery.
    You shall not steal.
    You shall not bear false witness.
    You shall not defraud.

    And then Jesus adds a final commandment: "Go, give everything to the poor, sell what you own and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamie View Post
    Christ's commands are those written with his own finger at Mount Sinai.

    His commands were placed in an ark and form a covenant with his people.
    The existence and use of the Ark of the Covenet took place centuries before Jesus was born.

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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 5:9 . . Do not complain against one another, brethren, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

    Although watching porn, quarrelling with a spouse, mistreating the kids, road rage, J-walking, coasting through a stop sign, spray-painting graffiti on a subway car, or cussing the neighbor’s dog, is bad enough; kangaroo-courting is even worse.

    If there’s a personality clash between you and a fellow believer; God forbid you should drag other people into the middle of it! And keep in mind that God is an eavesdropper. He hears and sees everything we do, think, or say. Don't let Him catch you maliciously shredding a fellow believer's reputation, assassinating their character and/or running them into the ground behind their back.
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 5:10 . . For an example of suffering and patience, brethren; take the prophets who spoke in The Lord's name.

    In rock music, role models are called influences. But whatever your preference, role models and/or influences are handy for providing a pattern for the kinds of people we wish to be and/or the kinds of people we think we ought to be.

    One of my favorite prophets was Noah. Can you just imagine the mockery, and the cruel remarks that poor man must have endured while he was constructing the ark? And the feelings of futility? He was a preacher of righteousness for 120 years (2Pet 2:5) and the only converts Noah won were his own wife, his three sons, and their wives. When the ark embarked, there was only a paltry eight human beings aboard.

    According to Gen 6:1-2, there were other holy men on earth during Noah's days but they sold their souls for sex and subsequently died in the Flood right along with everybody else.

    Noah was an oak; he never caved to the pressures of his era’s social customs nor duplicated their spiritual hypocrisy. Noah held his ground, remained true to the Bible’s God; and as a result, survived the Flood totally unharmed. He’s listed in the Bible as one of the most righteous men who ever lived.

    "Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness: testifies the Lord God." (Ezek 14:13-14)
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 5:12 . . Above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no be no; so that you may not fall under judgment.

    Christ took an oath. (Matt 26:62-64, Mark 14:61-62)

    God takes oaths. (Gen 22:15-18, Heb 6:13-18, Heb 7:20-21)

    Angels swear (Rev 10:5-6)

    Paul swore. (Rom 1:9)

    Israel's covenanted law, which Christ came to defend (Matt 5:17-19) requires oaths on special occasions. (e.g. Ex 22:10-11, Lev 5:1, Num 5:19, Deut 29:10-15)

    So then, not all oaths are wrong.

    The problem is, people are too careless with their oaths. They’re wont to say “I swear to God” and/or "Hand to God" for just about everything. And they make promises sealed with the same words. Those promises are a snare because like Jesus said “you cannot make one hair white or black”. Sure enough, when you seal a promise by God's name, the forces of heaven and hell, the stars in their courses, dumb luck, brute force, circumstances beyond your control, and the neighbor's dog are going to make it impossible for you to keep that promise.

    Will God grant you an excuse? Probably not because In order to grant you an excuse, He would have to compromise not only His integrity; but also the dignity of the name by which you swore; and that He will never do.

    So, it's okay to give your word on a matter, but if at all possible; avoid attaching God's name to it.

    "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name." (Ex 20:7)
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 5:13 . . Is anyone among you undergoing hardship? Let him pray.

    Q: Pray about what?

    A: Though Jesus' followers weren't experiencing difficulty while he was getting ready for his fate on the cross (Luke 22:39-46) Jesus knew that they were soon to undergo a stress test that would cause them to do something really stupid if they failed to seek God's providence in what was ahead.

    Most any kind of "hardship" can cause us to become irrational, lose our composure, and do something stupid, e.g. layoff, illness, death in the family, old age, betrayal, divorce, legal problems, student debt, traffic incidents, crime; etc. When that happens, it's a good idea to speak with God about the possibility of being led into doing something really stupid.
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 5:13-14 . . Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.

    Never ask the ones undergoing hardship to sing. They're really not in the mood.
    _

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    When Jesus mentions the commandments, he only talks about the ones that all of the world’s faiths treasure.

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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 5:14 . . Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of The Lord

    It's all too common for religious fanatics to allow their underage children to die from treatable medical conditions on the basis of that verse. Where do we draw the line with the so-called "freedom of religion" guaranteed in the US Constitution's first amendment? Answer: We draw the line at the child's inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; which, according to America's Declaration of Independence; are not only God-given rights, but also a self evident truth that men were created with those rights.

    The DOI goes on to say that all men are created equal. It doesn't say grown-up men; it says all men, which means that women and children have just as much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as anybody else. Parents who deny the truth of those rights are nothing in the world but wicked despots; and in point of fact the very kinds of twisted monarchs the DOI targets.

    Christ addressed this issue indirectly by means of his teachings on the seventh day Sabbath; which, in a nutshell, says that the seventh day was made for man, not the other way around. (Mark 2:27)

    "And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath days." (Matt 12:11-12)

    The sanctity of human life trumps the sanctity of the Sabbath. So then, hospitals, doctors, nurses, firemen, law enforcement, soup kitchens, rescue missions, Red Cross, Haiti emergency workers, etc. who are busy on the Sabbath do not sin. Do they break the Sabbath? Yes; but the sanctity of the Sabbath is secondary to the sanctity of human life.

    So then, I would have to say, in accordance with Matt 12:11-12, that people who deny their children adequate medical care in the name of religion regard the value of their own flesh and blood as something less than that of a beast.

    It's okay to have elders pray for your child, and it's okay to anoint them with oil as per James 5:14. But after that, parents really should take their children to a doctor because the sanctity of human life is far more important than strict observance of one's religious rituals.

    There used to be an old saying going around in Christian circles that went something like this: When a farmer prays for a crop, he should say amen with a hoe. In other words, don't just sit back and wait for a miracle when it's in your power to take some action; and if you don't, then in my opinion, you deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law when a child in your care dies from a treatable condition.

    "If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1Tim 5:8)
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 5:16 . . Confess your sins to one another

    The word "sins" is an arbitrary editorial insertion rather than a translation; viz: it isn't in the Greek manuscripts so somebody penciled it in. So we could safely re-translate that verse to read "Confess to one another".

    There's quite a number of key words in the Bible that sometimes trigger a knee-jerk-reflex in people's minds and "confess" is one of them. It would seem to me that James isn't instructing Christians to confess their sins to one another as Father Confessors for the purpose of absolution; but rather: to simply man-up and admit when they're wrong. (cf. Matt 18:15-17).
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    1Pet 1:14-16 . . As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.

    "conformed" is speaking of habits. Take for example alcoholism. The popular diagnosis these days is that it's a disease. Well; it if is, then it's the only disease I know of practiced by fools.

    "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." (Prov 20:1)

    Alcoholism isn't a disease; it's a habit, and one of the habits that Christ's believing followers are commanded to make a habit of avoiding.

    "Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation," (Eph 5:18)
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    1Pet 1:17-18 . . And if you address as "Father" the one who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in reverential fear during the time of your stay upon earth

    I once heard of a preacher complain that he wished his congregation were as afraid of the Devil as they are of holiness. (chuckle). Well, obviously his congregation lacked purpose; their attitude was that of drifters and vagabonds. They were all believers; they had that much going for them. They just needed somebody to throw cold water in their faces and wake them up to getting their eyes off the ground and getting their eyes up on the brass ring.

    "So then, since you have been resurrected with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then will you also appear with him in glory." (Col 3:1-4)

    People in heaven no doubt make a habit of treating God with reverential fear; that is: they respect both Him and His wishes. Down here, people make a habit of insolence and rebellion; even some of the people wearing a Christian ID tag.
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    1Pet 1:22a . . Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit

    The grammatical tense of the words "have purified" is past rather than future. In other words, the souls of the Christians to whom Peter penned his epistle were already purified before the letter arrived; and they did it not by means of a denominational affiliation; but rather, by obeying the truth; and their obedience was through the Spirit rather than through human artifice.

    Q: What is soul?

    A: Soul is a hot button topic; viz: it provokes endless debating that never gets to the bottom of anything, so I've elected to keep this simple and suffice it to say that "soul" refers to the core of one's being.

    The Greek word for "purified" refers not to sinless perfection, rather, to hygiene; viz: washing; for example:

    "Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." (John 15:3)

    Many of the Old Testament's sacrifices and offerings served to cleanse the people of contamination brought on them by their sins, but did nothing to make the people sinless; not even the great day of atonement Yom Kippur. The people went right on sinning as before just as soon as the ritual was over. So purification and sinless perfection are two very different spiritual topics.
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    1Pet 1:22b . . unto sincere love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently

    The koiné Greek word for "pure" in this case is katharos (kath-ar-os') which means: lacking impurities; which can be illustrated by tap water versus distilled water. Tap water contains impurities like chlorine and various metallic and non metallic elements; whereas distilled water consists of nothing but hydrogen and oxygen; viz: H
    2O

    I think what Peter is saying that believers be on guard against hypocrisy; viz: one's lips mouthing love for their fellow believers while in their hearts actually thinking very little of them.

    For example; my wife and I were once invited over to the home of a fellow Sunday school couple for dinner. When we arrived, guess what? An AMWAY manager was all set up and waiting for us. The dinner invitation was a bait and switch to conceal the Sunday school couple's scheme to lure us into signing on with AMWAY.

    That was not an exhibition of pure, fervent love; but rather an exhibition of dishonesty, deceit, and ulterior motives. That couple was friendly and cordial enough in Sunday school, but away from church they were covert and predatory; taking advantage of the good nature of their fellow Christians to snare them in a commercial venture.

    "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." (Matt 5:8)
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