the heart of it

Posted: August 24th, 2011 | Filed under: book, life | Tags: , | No Comments »

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” -Jesus; Luke 12:1 ESV

The ‘leaven’ referred to here is the Old Testament way to salvation. It is corrupt doctrine. It becomes corrupt when it is mixed with the message of the Gospel in a way that perpetuates the list of rules as a requirement to receive the grace of the Gospel.

Jesus calls it ‘hypocrisy’ because it is a man-made mixture of how to live a godly life. It is a citizenship to two different kingdoms. It’s serving two different masters. It’s hypocrisy because it’s already clear that no one can follow the rules. The rules remove the heart of the purpose for them. Jesus and His grace changes the heart and the rules become peripheral.

People want to hear ways that they can make themselves more holy. They want a definitive list of things they can do so that they can say they are set apart by appearance and practice. It’s a way for them to be like God, choosing good because they know the difference.

“You will be like God, knowing good and evil.” -the serpent in Genesis 3:4 ESV

“Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” -God in Genesis 3:22 ESV

People can launder their appearance with a list of perfectly good attributes and unarguably valid points. But, the heart is missing. They can be like God, choosing good to be more God-like, but there is no beat in their chest or life in their blood. Have you ever known someone to call him or herself a Christian and completely tear another apart or leave someone behind? They even give credit to their Christianity for their lack of compassion and empathy. Haven’t you wondered, “Have you no heart?”

It’s a mutilated Gospel for the one who thinks that denying the overwhelming urge to love a ‘sinner’ is the part of ‘self’ that must be denied. They actually believe they are honoring God by sacrificing their heart. Don’t you remember? The sacrifice has been made! You can love freely now!

“…use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.” -Galatians 5:13 MSG

“For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?” -Galatians 5:15 MSG

The outside world, the ones to whom you have been commissioned to prove God’s love, wants no part of a religion that has no heart.

Rules, sacrifices, and rituals cannot get to the heart, not the heart of man or the heart of God.

Under this system, the gifts and sacrifices can’t really get to the heart of the matter, can’t assuage the conscience of the people, but are limited to matters of ritual and behavior. It’s essentially a temporary arrangement until a complete overhaul could be made. -Hebrews 9:9-10 MSG

The same passage in a different translation says this:

According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. -Hebrews 9:9-10 ESV

“…until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9:10 is the only one mention I could find of “reformation” in scripture. There is only one scripture, that I could find, that tells you what it means and the intended purpose, which is the heart, of the Law. It is here:

“And if by this discipline you are not turned to me but walk contrary to me, then I also will walk contrary to you, and I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins.” Leviticus 26:23-24 ESV (emphasis mine)

Young’s Literal Translation words my emphasized portion as “instructed by me”. If, by following the law, you are not instructed by God, then you have missed the mark. The meaning of sin is “missing the mark.” (Vines Concise Dictionary).

Jesus is the mark. The Holy Spirit instructs you, personally. Throw the laundry list out. If people want to use grace as an excuse to sin, then the Holy Spirit will twist them apart on the inside. That is what this scripture means:

“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” -1 John 3:9 ESV

The ‘seed’ is the Holy Spirit. Making “a practice of sin” is not the same thing as “committing a sin”. Those who are Christians will sin and the Holy Spirit will crush them until they cannot continue. The will of man is crushed, to breaking, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If you see a man who has sinned and is being crushed, it is not because the Holy Spirit has left him, it will not, it is because He overwhelmingly evident in him. You don’t have to point out the obvious. The Holy Spirit is a better lover than you are, which makes Him a better corrector than you could ever be.

You will be harassed for preaching and believing in the sovereignty of God, grace, and the authority of Love. Not by the outsiders, but by the insiders.

Be cautious with those who preach a watered down Gospel. Be on the lookout for those take up issue with “too much love” or “too heavy on grace.” Ignore their tirades and consider yourselves in good company. You can see which kingdom they’re under by which flag they choose to raise.

If I were preaching that old message, no one would be offended if I mentioned the Cross now and then—it would be so watered-down it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. -Paul; Galatians 5:11 MSG


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