First, Anonymous stated:
“Deuteronomy 6:24-25 is a statement of this principle from the perspective that a person who keeps the law is righteous. Up until Jesus time, the bible tells us He is the only one who fulfilled the law. “
Indeed, Jesus is the only one who was able to keep or fulfill the law from cradle to grave. But this has nothing to do with man's moral ability. Jesus did not come so that you will now have the ability to keep God's Law. Man has always had within his ability to obey God. To say otherwise is just plain false and is unbiblical. First, Jesus was able to fully keep the law, not because he had the supernatural ability to do so, but out of His love for the Father, the Holy Spirit and mankind. It was through the committal of his will that he was able to overcome self, and love God supremely. Jesus was a living breathing example of how we all should live - and that is to walk as He walked, to love as He loved. So what is the missing component that we need in order to love as Jesus loved? It is not that we lack the ability, but that we lack the desire to do so, we lack the desire to change. We know from the bible that man changes once he or she receives knowledge of the Truth (“For it is the Truth that will set you free and "whatever you ask, ask for knowledge and it will be given unto you”). It is through the renewing of our minds by the truth of Jesus Christ that will transform our will from loving ourselves to loving God and others supremely. We lack not any capacity to obey, but we lack heart or motivation of the will. It is through the cross and the blood of Jesus that allows us to walk in humility and allows us to become morally perfect (I will address this further in a later post).
Let me first address a couple of points here. In regards to your comment about Deut 6:24-25 The bible is filled with “Saints” that clearly loved and obeyed God. A saint is not one who continually sins, or is still abiding in their selfishness, but lives according to the Moral Laws of God as a result of his/her's love for God. A saint is one who the bible defines as a person who is walking according to their present amount of moral knowledge and obeys the moral laws of God out of love. I especially like Luke 1:6 whereby it states:
Luk 1:5-6 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. (6) And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Hmmmmm……interesting that Luke mentions that Elizabeth and Zacharias WALKED IN ALL THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD & ORDINANCES OF THE LORD BLAMELESS………I would be interested in hearing how you explain this verse in the context to your statement that no one has kept the Laws or Commandments of God. This verse clearly states that the two of them were very much able to keep the moral commandments of God and did so.
There many more examples of men and women who obeyed God and were found to be righteous in the eyes of God. I suggest you look these over more thoroughly:
Noah Gen_6:9; Gen_6:22; Gen_7:5; Heb_11:7. Abraham Gen_12:1-4; Gen_17:23; Gen_21:4; Gen_22:12; Neh_9:8; Act_7:3-8; Heb_11:8-17; Jam_2:21 Bethuel and Laban Gen_24:50 Jacob Gen_35:1; Gen_35:7 Moses Num_27:12-22; Heb_3:2-3 Moses and Aaron Exo_7:6; Exo_40:16; Exo_40:21; Exo_40:23; Exo_40:32 Israelites Exo_12:28; Exo_32:25-29; Exo_39:42-43; Num_9:20-21; Deu_33:9; Jdg_2:7; Psa_99:7 Under the preaching of Haggai Hag_1:12 Caleb Deu_1:36 Joshua Jos_10:40; Jos_11:15 Reubenites Jos_22:2-3 Gideon Jdg_6:25-28 David 1Sa_18:14; 1Sa_25:28; 1Ki_11:6; 1Ki_11:34; 1Ki_15:5; 2Ch_29:2; Act_13:22 Elisha 1Ki_19:19-21 Hezekiah 2Ki_18:6; 2Ch_31:20-21; Isa_38:3 Josiah 2Ki_22:2; 2Ki_23:24-25 Asa 2Ch_14:2 –Jehoshaphat 2Ch_17:3-6; 2Ch_20:32; 2Ch_22:9 Jehoiada 2Ch_24:16 Uzziah 2Ch_26:4-5 Jotham 2Ch_27:2 Levites 2Ch_29:34 Cyrus 2Ch_36:22-23; Ezr_1:1-4 Ezra Ezr_7:10 Hanani Neh_7:2 Job Job_1:8 Daniel Dan_6:10 Three Hebrews Dan 3 Jonah Jon_3:3 Ninevites Jon_3:5-10 Zacharias Luk_1:6 Simeon Luk_2:25 Joseph Mat_1:24; Mat_2:14 John the Baptist Mat_3:15 Nathanael Joh_1:47 The disciples Joh_17:6 Cornelius Act_10:2 Paul Act_23:1; Act_26:4-5; 2Ti_1:3.
Many others were called righteous, godly, holy, or sanctified, which is synonymous with “morally perfection”. However, these do differ from Christ in that He never sinned. They did sin, but when they did so they repented and persevered in obedient faith, they were once again compliant with their moral obligation and, hence, “morally perfect”. Contrary to popular beleif
everyone does not sin! “He that is born of God does not commit sin” (I Jn.3:9)! All true Christians have repented from their sins (quit sinning) and love God supremely and thus are morally perfect (I would be curious as to how you define biblical repentance?).
Another thing, sin is not a “cancer” or something that is passed along genetically or mysteriously to our offspring. Sin is not a “thing”, but is a moral choice. God does not hold mankind accountable for the sins of our mothers or fathers (or Adam for that matter), but for our own individual actions (Ezekiel 18). As for your use of the Jewish Encyclopedia you were not as forth coming as you could have been. Here is the part you left out:
“……..Jewish theologians are divided in regard to the cause of this so-called "original sin"; some teach that it was due to Adam's yielding to temptation in eating of the forbidden fruit and has been inherited by his descendants; the majority, however, do not hold Adam responsible for the sins of mankind.”
Most Jews I know do not believe in Original Sin (in the Calvinistic sense). Its primary roots are not Jewish, but can be traced back to the Gnostics who believed evil/sin was in the “flesh” of all human beings, rather than a moral choice. It wasn’t until the teachings of Augustine, who was heavily influenced by his previous religion the Manicheans, who incorporated the belief that sin was in the physical flesh (tissue or sperm) of human beings. Judaism has for the most part always adhered to the doctrine that man has a freewill choice and requires moral accountability.
You also stated:
“The difference between the Old Testament and New Testament is that now, sin is defined against the backdrop of Jesus as the standard for righteousness. His life is the example of perfection. If you can claim that you are living as Jesus, then you can claim that you are perfect and that you have stopped sinning.”
The fallacy here is there is no difference between the OT and NT when it comes to God’s definition of sin. Sin is the willful disobendience to God. The misconception you have is that God has somehow mysteriously changed when it comes to defining sin. Nothing about God has changed from the OT to the NT – his requirements remain the same and that is for all of mankind to keep His moral law. This is the same as today as it was 4,000 years ago! It seems you view man as someone who is either unable to keep God’s Moral Law or that God's laws are unattainable and can not be kept. God’s Laws are good and whenever they have been given to mankind, man has rightfully responded that they are indeed good and just laws (Exodus 24:3!). When God commands us to “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37) and “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:39). The moral law of God, in essence, is the law of love, love being the total and complete fulfillment of the whole of the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8). Are you telling me that you are unable to love God fully??? Is this not the fullness of salvation? That we love God and if we love God we will keep and obey that which he loves also?? How can one Love god and therefore continue in sin?? This is an impossibility. It is like saying a man can love his wife, but yet continue to have a mistress on the side. A person who says they love God and continues to sin is a hypocrite and hypocrites will find themselves in Hell.
God's Moral Law is good and we all know that in order for a Law to be good it must be within man's grasp to adhere to it. If not then God's Law is unjust. God does not command that we love Him with faculties that we do not possess, but rather that we love Him with all that we currently possess (keyword is “currently”). The commandments are directions to man as to how he is to use his ability. The commandments of God are not impossible, demanding that we love Him with a heart, soul, mind and strength that we do not have. Rather, it is possible to keep the law of God, which demands that we love Him with all of what we do have, with all that we are capable of, to the very highest of our ability, no more and no less. It is possible to keep the law because we are capable, and we are capable because it is possible to keep the law; our God-given commandments and our God-given ability directly correspond with each other.
As for Sin and Moral Accountability ponder this. All sin is voluntary and avoidable; therefore sin must be a choice and not something we are born with. If sin is something we are “born with” then it is not voluntary, but is involuntary and therefore is not justifiably punishable. This would be like saying babies who are born with blonde hair are condemnable to hell, because they are born this way. Only that which is unavoidable is excusable, but what is inexcusable must be avoidable. If sin is punishable then it must be voluntary (a choice), and what is voluntary must be avoidable. Therefore, sin is inexcusable and punishable because sin is voluntary and avoidable, and it is voluntary and avoidable because God has given man free will. The false doctrine you have is that sin is something we are born with. If God is sending people to hell for sins they can not over come or stop committing because they do not have the ability, then God would be unjust and a tyrant! Sinners will be sent to Hell because they clearly have the ability to stop sinning, but yet they chose to remain in their in selfishness.
I would also like to address here several accusations you seem to make against me in your response:
#7: Love your enemies AND pray for them, and it can’t be that lightening strikes them. Do you love Calvinists? (Matt 5:44)
I most certainly love Calvinist (and everyone else for that matter)! As a matter of fact I would hope that every Calvinist would awaken from their false doctrine and find truth. Indeed I have been very firm at times and have even openly rebuked Calvinist over their false doctrine. But it is also commanded by God that as beleivers we openly rebuke false teachers, to do otherwise would be unloving and harmful to themselves and possible bystanders.
#8: Contentiousness is sin (Romans 2:8). Check out your answer to the person before me?
How was my previous response “Contentiousness”?? I think you need to understand the context here and what Paul means by “Contentiousness”. The context here does not mean we as Christians are not to argue or to not vigorously defend our faith. How were my comments to the previous post “contentious”?? Look at my comments and I even placed a smiley face after my comment so that it would not be taken out of context. Or maybe your just trying to find fault with me here??
#9: Judging others is sin (Matt 7:1)
Really!!??? What exactly are you doing in your response back to me - judging??? Are you not judging me and my doctrine??? Besides, where does it exactly say that to judge others is a sin?? It is indeed a sin to judge others unrighteously (hypocritically), but no where in the bible does it say it is a sin to judge?. When Jesus said “Judge not lest ye be judged” this is a warning that when we judge others we too will be judged to the same standard, so that in the event we do judge we are to be certain we don’t have sin in our own lives. Jesus calls us to judge – but to judge rightly (Luke 12:56-57, Rom 2:1) Christ does not condemn judging in a judicial sense, nor does he condemn our “opinion” of the conduct of others, for it is impossible “not” to form an opinion of conduct that we know to be evil or deceptive (ie. false doctrine).
# 11: You have to tame your tongue, according to James no man can do it (James 3:8)
James is not saying taming the tongue is an impossibility. Here he is using hyperbole to get his point across. If you read further to James 4 he clearly give us the answer as to how man can tame his tongue:
Jas 4:7-10 Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. (8) Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (9) Be miserable, mourn, and cry. Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. (10) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
12: The very act of claiming to be sinless is a sin in itself, as this Scripture so ably demonstrates. A person claiming not to have sin deceives himself or herself, and in effect calls Christ a liar. I John 1:10
Again, you have taken this verse out of context. John is addressing individuals (primarily the Jews) who made the claim that they didn;t need to be saved because they were without sin. They had not fully submitted to Christ, they were lying about their rebellious condition. This verse is not addressing Christians, but non-beleivers. If you read further on in 1 John 3 he states:
1Jn 3:8-10 The person who practices sin belongs to the evil one, because the devil has been sinning since the beginning. The reason that the Son of God was revealed was to destroy the works of the devil. (9) No one who has been born from God practices sin, because God's seed abides in him. Indeed, he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born from God. (10) This is how God's children and the devil's children are distinguished. No person who fails to practice righteousness and to love his brother is from God.
Again, I hope to address the remaining topic of "Perfection" in an upcoming post shortly. In the meantime I would like to say to Anonymous that I find it somewhat disturbing that a so called Christ Follower is defending Sinning more so than "holiness" or "righteousness", but then again its hard to defend holiness when you see man as being morally incapable or that God requires the impossible from mankind (the keeping of His laws) and that God will send mankind to hell for doing that which he is unable to do.