Monday, July 11, 2011

A Few Questions Pondered

What if the promise of eternal life were not intended to be an incentive to righteousness?

What if the Presence of God in the "now" of life turned out to be more fulfilling of all your emotional needs than you ever predicted?

What if the incentive to walk in righteousness was simply knowing the beauty of God and the love within Him as the source of all your motivations and the fulfillment of all your loneliness?

7 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to fopllow my blog

ded said...

Steve, thanks for visiting and for the invitation to follow your blog. Please understand I haven't accepted the invitation because I usually do not have the time to read any blogs. I follow one close friend, and I only manage to read from him once a week. The hazards of being a school teacher is that keeping up with my professional duties includes reading much student work and much professional literature. I actually do very little recreational reading. Best to you!

Joshua the Centrist said...

You do realize that you just sparked a storm, right? Righteousness is not just about feeling good that you love our Heavenly Father then going back to your business in the world. It's dedication to our Heavenly Father to strive towards moral perfection.

ded said...

Joshua,

Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

I prefer to think of my post as pushing the envelope of status quo Christian experience represented (ironically) by your view.

The Presence of God by the Holy Spirit calms the storm just as Jesus did on the Sea of Galilee. You make an inference that I never intended: that in seeking to know the Presence of God, we become self-satisfied and enter the everyday world and do nothing else.

I have come to recognize "righteousness" is only and all in Jesus. Our good works are not a function of our righteousness. When Jesus tells us to come to Him and find rest for our souls, when He tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, He is relieving us from striving after righteousness by works.

His work on the cross and resurrection coupled with my faith in His atonement and new life in Him are the basis of my righteousness. He completed the work that completes my righteousness. What remains for me is to obey His leading and unction in every day life. I do works for God, but I work from a place of knowing a deep wonder at His closeness. I find Him to be wonderful. Why does that spark a storm?

Joshua the Centrist said...

I think you sort of got it wrong there, you still have your part to live a righteous life, bro, and that means you must also strive to moral perfection like our Heavenly Father/Jesus Christ. Your righteousness or will to live a holy life was not simply done by Jesus being crucified.

ded said...

Joshua, you put righteousness and will in the same sentence. The first is a work of the Father and His Son. I agree with you, the second is my responsibility to exercise toward holy living. However, my righteousness, my efforts at holiness are filthy rags.

Faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. Nothing has changed.

I appreciate and respect what you feel you must do and say here.

ded said...

Joshua, as a young man I felt much the same as you regarding my responsibilities before God. What I have learned in my walk is that I cannot make the old nature heel to God's commands. I must live, by faith, life in Christ as the new creature He birthed in me by the Spirit.

The old, natural man must be reckoned as dead. It is my responsibility to exercise my will and die to all of the selfishness which springs from that old man. Then as an exercise of my will, I submit to the Presence of Jesus within me and commune with the Holy Spirit. I put on His righteousness, His perfection in that place. Loving Him and not my old self causes my thoughts and motivations to conform to Him and thus to love others. If I fulfill the two great commandments on which the whole of the law stands (Matthew 22:40), then I have kept the whole law both in faith and in daily practice.

When I fail this, there is no condemnation since His righteousness and not my own covers me.

Here's the wonder of it: If I love Him, loving Him will hold me in obedience to Him. In John 14, when Christ is telling His disciples He will be leaving soon and to not be afraid in His absence, He includes the phrase, "If you love Me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). In chapter 13, Jesus has just told Peter of his future denial of Christ. Then He begins the "Do not be afraid" speech, numbered as John 14. Because a chapter division has come does not change the context of the warning of Peter's denial. What follows is a list or reassurances that His disciples (and we Christians, I believe) may hold in confidence. These are assurances they would know (we can know now)in the face of living without His literal Presence on earth. The assurances flow from a warning of the reality of failures or our "denials" of Him. He promises the Holy Spirit with us; He promises we know the Father and are one with Him; He tells of the assurance that loving Him will result in obedience.

I think we are probably disagreeing over semantics, but if that is not the case, then you are saying that "striving" is required to achieve a righteous act and thus be righteous. I am holding the position that I cannot achieve what He has already done: provide me His righteousness even as I sometimes sin.

As a function of His revelation of Truth, yes I have some responsibility. I am to be perfect as He. Creating a new set of laws that perfection means doing this or that will never get me to a more righteous standing with God than I already have. Perfection will flow easily from a place of rest in the Spirit of Jesus; and from that rest, from a position of faith in what He has done, I exercise my will to love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. I see no striving toward righteousness required. Just faith.