Does the commitment between a man and a woman have to be in marriage? I know that there's a lot of people now that live together and have for years, and are not married, yet are still 100% committed to each other AND they believe in God. Does this disqualify them from keeping the law? Do you think they'll be punished in a way for this? What's your take on it?
I genuinely and deeply believe after a situation I saw last year, most especially, that there is genuinely no commitment and no depth, and I mean DEPTH of love, without the piece of paper. I saw someone bail on someone that I never thought would, so...talk is cheap and apparently emotions are a dime a dozen and worthless. Only reason for the lack of the marriage license is greed, selfishness, and cowardice.
To me, I'd liken it to believing one's self to be in a good place with God without Christ; to be saved without the Romans 10:9-10 confession that says is what makes your salvation good. I was willing, going into last year, to entertain that commitment could stand for that piece of paper. Wasn't fully persuaded of that in the least, 'cause I knew from my own experience with my late wife that the sex before and after the marriage ceremony FELT ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. But after last year with what I saw between a couple of people, I'll never be convinced again that anything's less than an abomination to God without that marriage license registered with the county or perhaps something more cementing like a Catholic wedding where it can take the rest of your life to try to get out of that. But minimally the county piece of paper, for goodness sakes.
My opinion on this is that if I have already recieved Jesus, then my life has no choice BUT to change, and I will already be filled with the Holy Spirit who will MAKE me want to sing and give thanks, and that because of what Jesus did that there is no way that the Holy Spirit CAN be grieved with anything I do. The way I read this made it sound that I still have to work on NOT grieving the Holy Spirit... isn't that then works? Did I possibly misread what you wrote?
Lord Jesus said in Matthew 7 and St. Paul carried the same language and ideas into his epistles that those who hear His saying and do them have a house built on the rock that'll withstand the storms of life, but that the ruin of those who hear and don't do will be great, and James later in the New Testament gets nastier about it with placing a hearer that's not a doer in the same category as demons.
This is something I don't understand... How come God would ask me to compare myself with other people in giving instead of focusing on the life He gave me? Wouldn't that just cause us to judge ourselves as being not as good as other people if they give more than we do or can? Or if they are blessed with more than we are?
Well, others are blessed much more than others because the hand of the diligent shall be made rich the Scriptures promise from cover to cover. The only argument that one ever finds one's self in with other believers is diligent at what, and the story of Mary and Martha in the Gospels lets us know where our diligence is to be. And as far as acceptability to God, 2Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 say that it's according to what one has and not according to what one doesn't have, and Jesus singling out the woman that gave her last 2 mites (a type of coin back then) into the offering had outgiven the rich that were essentially tipping God with their fives and twenties.
As far as judging yourself, you're supposed to, because 1Corinthians 11 says that if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged with the world, but when we judge ourselves we're chastened by the Lord so that we won't be sick and prematurely die. The Gospel of John tells us to make righteous judgments, and Proverbs and the epistle of James is all about judgment with carefully balancing in one's life the difference between the wisdom that is from above with what Ecclesiastes would call the wisdom that's under the sun that James refers to as pseudo-wisdom and demonic stuff.
We're to judge ourselves regarding whether we're being diligent, whether we're being doers of the Word and not hearers only, whether our lives and prayer lives are baring fruit, and whether we're treating our bodies and our spouses with honor, since Ephesians 5 says for the wife to honor the husband and 1Peter 3 says for him to honor her. Paul's epistles say to make sure you're judging yourself about whether or not you're giving an employer the same level of service and excellence as you'd give the Lord. Jesus said that for judgment He'd come into the world and the New Testament is all about judgment on what's love and what isn't. It's the most judgmental book on the face of the earth because it teaches you how to discern between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Judgment isn't a bad thing. It's when you're not rendering righteous judgments or are judging others by what they do and yourself by your good intentions and proceeding from a position of hypocrisy and lack of commitment that you run into problems if you open your mouth. The New Testament is the White Throne that believers are to sit on and judge the nations as they preach the Gospel and command the repentance of every life on earth, their embracing and yielding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and a proving of their repentance by their deeds in doing and saying everything in the Name of Lord Jesus while letting His Word dwell in one's heart richly in all wisdom as they confess it over and over again before His High Priestly ministry.
Does this mean that God wants us to still preform works like giving? How would you see this?
Every book in that New Testament emphasizes obedience. We're called to a faith that works rather than to sitting on our blessed assurance and allowing the whole world to go to Hell in a hand basket. Not of works, contextually to the first century hearer and per the context of the entire New Testament, is about not relating to God any more on the basis of the priesthood of Aaron, animal sacrifice, and circumcision.
But we are supposed to renounce ungodliness according to the teaching of God's grace in the epistle to Titus and prove that God's grace is growing in our lives by what we do. All of the statements in this New Testament about it being by the faith of Christ means that it's by the faith that Jesus authors in your life through His High Priestly ministry, according to Hebrews, and your right relationship to the throne of God through the Scriptures as you approach your High Priest and fulfill your daily worship in being the express image of the invisible God, seated with Christ at God's right hand in everything you say and do.
Our lives are to be as diligent as His. Ephesians 2:12-13 calls this a Covenantal relationship and Covenants automatically imply God has His part in what He does and we've got our part in what we do in intercession for the nations, and being barefooted priests that tread softly where the treatment of our bodies and one another is concerned as we grow more and more proficient in manifesting the Name of God in the same way that Lord Jesus did in John 17.
Otherwise, there would be no marriage with God and we'd merely be shacking up with Him and could be discarded on a whim, on an accusation, or whatever. Marriage means both people bring all that they have into this marriage; the good, bad, and ugly, and it's not a matter of who brings more, but it's a mutual honor, admiration, adoration, and ceaseless tenderness, growing intimacy, and doing absolutely all you can for one another every single day and every single night.
Acts 13 in talking about the promotion of Saul and Barnabas from the offices of being prophets and teachers into Apostolic ministry says they were ministering to the Lord and fasting when Holy Spirit spoke saying to separate them to the work for which He has called them to. He called them to a higher elevation of work. Yes, it was a deeper level of grace, but it was a deeper level of grace that was about to work it's butt off harder than they ever did when they lived by the works of the Aaronic priesthood.
Romans 6 says to present yourself to God as alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness for obedience. Every book of the Bible, Old and New Testament has it's call to obedience and a few, including in the New Testament, growl at you about what you'll get if you don't.
I can understand being diligent in prayers but how can one keep a blameless testimony? It seems rather impossible for a human to do. Even though I have Christ in my life it doesn't mean that I won't still falter in my life as a believer. If God still expects me to try to keep a spotless record I can honestly say right now and here that I WILL fail Him. This is something I see as a 'works-based' belief. This is something I was taught to do all my life, and this is the judgement based behaviour I am working to get out of.
How's the 'works-based belief' working for you that says to do what thou wilt, harm none, that I don't mean to get ugly about on where that comes from -- but how's that working for you in place of taking Christ's yoke and being His disciple?
Yes, His yoke is easy and His burden light, but it is a yoke and it is a burden. God expects, fully expects for you to account each detail of Christ's life, teachings, sufferings, and glory -- each and every aspect of His glory and indestructible life -- as your very own and in your behalf and as the strength of your soul for doing greater things than He ever did or ever could, according to John 14:12. That's New Testament Christianity.
The suffering of the believer is to account one's self as having ceased from one's own works towards and for self, and one's own sufferings to create one's fruit as is required under Moses's Law, and to consider one's self laboring to entered into His rest of meditation, speaking, doing, thanksgiving, and enjoying fruitful harvests from what one blesses, says, sanctifies, gives, receives, and does. All else proceeds from evil.
The best that I can do is to be truthful with myself as to who I am, and not to try to be someone or to live a life that is a false representation of who I am through a works-based belief. I know that God will still love me even though I fail Him and that He won't hold my humanity against me.... how can He when He's the one that created me?
Only problem is claiming to be a believer and then don't believe it. The wisdom that's from above, according to James 3, is without partiality and without hypocrisy. The hypocrisy is claiming to believe it and then you won't do it, as he and St. Paul clarified again and again and again.
You're the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, if you've embraced the Lordship of Jesus Christ, you are complete in Him, the head of all principality and power according to Colossians and 1Peter, and you've been given His Name according to John, Acts, and Ephesians. You can do all things through His High Priestly ministry that strengthens you, and He meets all of your needs according to His riches in glory by the anointing that Jesus has as High Priest to see to it, according to Philippians.
According to Ephesians, Colossians, 1John, and 1Corinthians, you're the fullness of the Godhead in BODILY form. That's who you are and nothing less if you've embraced His Lordship and are allowing the Word of Christ to dwell richly in you in all wisdom and are walking up and down in His Name according to Colossians and Zechariah. You are His royal horse in the battle according to Zechariah 10:3, and all things are yours according to 1Corinthians, 2Corinthians, Hebrews, Ephesians, John 17, and many other passages and epistles of Scripture.
As far as shining as a light to the world, I agree that living with Jesus in your life will give you the ability to do that without even thinking twice about it... you will radiate the love of God to the world. I agree that having knowledge in the Word will better equip us (inwardly and outwardly) to share the love of Him who IS love to those in the darkness.
You sorta contradicted yourself saying this after saying all you'd never amount to in this life in Christ;-)