Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cruel Shoes

By Steve Martin

Anna knew she had to have some new shoes today, and Carlo had helped her try on every pair in the store. Carlo spoke wearily, "Well, that's every pair of shoes in the place."

"Oh, you must have one more pair..."

"No, not one more pair... Well, we have the cruel shoes, but no one would want..."

Anna interrupted, "Oh yes, let me see the cruel shoes!"

Carlo looked incredulous. "No Anna, you don't understand, you see the cruel shoes are..."

"Get them!"

Carlo disappeared into the back room for a moment, then returned with an ordinary shoe box. He opened the lid and removed a hideous pair of black and white pumps. But these were not an ordinary pair of black and white pumps; both were left feet, one had a right angle turn with separate compartments that pointed the toes in impossible directions. The other shoe was six inches long and was curved inward like a rocking chair with a vise and razor blades to hold the foot in place.

Carlo spoke hesitantly, "... Now you see why... they're not fit for humans..."

"Put them on me."


"Put them on me!"

Carlo knew all arguments were useless. He knelt down before her and forced the feet into the shoes.

The screams were incredible.

Anna crawled over to the mirror and held her bloody feet up where she could see.

"I like them."

She paid Carlo and crawled out of the store into the street.

Later that day, Carlo was overheard saying to a new customer, "Well, that's every shoe in the place. Unless, of course, you'd like to try the cruel shoes."


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Obeying And Following The Law

Mike, I apologize for taking so long to respond. I was behind with my posting at Eye's place and did not want to fall farther behind.

Psalms 19:7-11 "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward."

Mike: "But God does NOT expect us to follow the Old Testament law as a way of life, whether the spirit of the law or whatever. That thinking stems from reformed theology."

Just so you know, I did not know anything about reformed theology until about two and a half years ago, and have only really studied it in the past year. I've always believed that we're still to follow the law because Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law and not to destroy it.

What I mean by follow the Law is that we're to obey God's commands. We're not to murder, steal, commit adultery, covet, etc. Right? If we do those things, that is sin. Right? Else, where does sin come in if there is no law?

If our dog bites our neighbor, we're to make restitution. Right? If we destroy someone's property (whether innocently or purposely), we're to make restitution. Right?

Do you really think that just because we're Christians that we're exempt from the Law? Do we not still bear the consequences of our sin? Not that we’ll go to Hell, but that we will reap what we have sown.

Like I said before, if we love God and love our neighbor like we should we are following the Law. Those are Jesus' words, not mine. :-) (Matthew 22:37-40)

Now, that is not to say that just because our outward appearance is good that our inward man is good, because we must be sure that we are clean on the inside as well. And we do this by staying in God's word, staying in prayer and doing the work of the Lord.

If Jesus were here today, ruling and reigning, we would be living under HIS Law. Murderers, rebellious teens, child molesters, rapists, adulterers, etc. would be put to death. In other words, capital offenses during the time the Mosaic Law was instituted would still be capital offenses if Jesus were physically here today. How could it not be? Is not the God of the OT the same God as the NT? (John 1:1, 14) Didn’t God say that He changes not? (Malachi 3:6)

Please do not get me wrong; following the law does not save or justify us.

Matthew 5:17-19 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (emphasis added)

Mike: "You [Dawn] also said, "If the law of God is no longer in effect, then we are lawless and I don't believe God expects us to be lawless."

This is Paul's conundrum in Romans 7-8, where he talks about the law as a way of life and the better life God has provided. He says, we are "dead to the law", "that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." (Emph. mine) [Romans 7:4,6]

Paul’s conundrum was that the Jews were still wanting to live by the letter of the Law. They were teaching that one must still be circumcised, that they were still not to eat certain meats and they were to continue to observe the ceremonial rites. So Paul was trying to explain that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection had done away with physical circumcision and that the heart was now circumcised by the law of God being written on our hearts. And that the meat was always good and was simply an example of what clean and unclean meant (i.e., walking in the Spirit vs. fulfilling the lusts of the flesh). He was not saying that we are not held accountable to obey God’s moral and civil law.

We are no longer expected to keep the ceremonial parts of the law because Jesus was the fulfilment of it and HE kept the whole Law perfectly. Therefore, we are dead to the law in that sense. We died with Christ and are resurrected in newness of Spirit. We are made righteous through HIS keeping of the Law. The laws are now written in our hearts. We are dead to it, but it is not dead to us.

Hebrews 8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:"

Romans 7:7 "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." (emphasis added)

Romans 7:13 "Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." (emphasis added)

We no longer have to go through ceremonial sacrifices, etc. We now can go boldly to the throne and worship the Father and ask forgiveness of sins in spirit and in truth. We now walk in Spirit and we produce spiritual fruit (i.e., love, patience, meekness, kindness, etc.) which is a fulfilling of the law.

Mike: "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh...that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh [by the law] but according to the Spirit [by faith]." [Romans 8:4-5]

The problem is not with the law. The law is holy and perfect. The problem is with our flesh. The law could not free us from sin and the wages of sin, which is death. The law could not give us a new nature. That is why God came to earth in the flesh as Jesus. (Romans 8:2)

Romans 7:12 "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."

Romans 8:4-5 is saying that those of us who are walking in the Spirit (i.e., born again), and not in the flesh (still under the curse of the law), are walking in righteousness fulfilling the law through Jesus Christ.

Mike: "Being outside the jurisdiction of the Old Testament law does not mean that we are lawless, for Christ said, "A new command I give to you, that you love one another." (As a side, Why is this a new command if we are still under the Old Testament law?)" [John 13:34]

This is not a new commandment.

Leviticus 19:18 "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."

Jesus was refreshing the Old Testament commandment that had been mostly forgotten and completely modified by the Pharisees as seen in Matthew 5:43.

Matthew 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy." (emphasis added)

God never said that we were to hate our enemies.

Here is the word "new" in the greek:

2537. kainos

of uncertain affinity; new (especially in freshness; while 3501 is properly so with respect to age:--new.

3501. neos

including the comparative neoteros neh-o'-ter-os; a primary word; "new", i.e. (of persons) youthful, or (of things) fresh; figuratively, regenerate:--new, young.

Mike: "You [Dawn] then said, "In fact, it is the law of God that we must follow." And again, I say that this thinking only comes from reformed theology, you will not find it in the words of Paul or post-crucifixion Jesus. Not the Old Testament law."

Again, what constitutes sin in our lives? Should we be allowed to get away with murder? What about adultery? Are Christians exempt from sin and the consequences of sin? Are we not still sinners, but saved by grace?

I’ve only been exposed to the TULIP portion of reformed theology and sought that out on my own.

  • What do you think Paul means when he speaks of the law of the Spirit of life through Christ Jesus?
  • What did Paul mean when He stated that the laws are written on our hearts?
  • Why did Paul say that the law is holy, just and good?
  • What did Paul mean when he said that he delighted in the law of God after the inward man?
  • Why did Paul say that with the mind I myself serve the law of God?
  • What did Paul mean when he said that if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live?
  • What does Paul mean when He says to walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh?

So, once Jesus died we don’t have to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves of which hang all the law and the prophets?

Mike: "You [Dawn] then said, "Jesus came to fulfill the law, not do away with it."But don't you see the beauty of it? By fulfilling the law, He did away with it." [Romans 10:4?]

I see the beauty in that Jesus fulfilled and established the law and in doing so we became righteous through Him. However, that does not negate obedience to the law. Like I said, we are not justified by it, but when we walk in the Spirit we obey the law. When we submit to God, we are submitting to His law. I’m not talking in a Pharisaical sense; I’m talking in a pure heart toward God sense and in a loving the law and seeing its beauty and righteousness and goodness sense.

Jesus did NOT do away with the law. Like He said, His fulfilling it did not destroy it. Rather, His fulfilling of it was to our end righteousness because we could never do it for ourselves.

Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

What does this scripture mean to you, Mike?

Mike: "What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made..." [Galatians 3:19]

"Before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law...Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." [Galatians 3:25]

"As always, the just shall live by faith." [Galatians 3:11]

Pointing us toward the Savior is not the ONLY purpose the law serves.

I agree, we are saved by faith. The law has done its job in that it pointed us toward our need for a Savior. It no longer condemns us, but it is still eternal. We are not free from the law or its consequences, but we are free from its curse which is eternal death. The ceremonial laws are done away with, but not the moral and civil laws.

Mike: "Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" [Galatians 3:3]

"Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" [Galatians 3:5]

"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone [you and me] who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them....the just shall live by faith. Yet the law is not of faith, but the man who does them shall live by them." [Galatians 3:10-11]

"...the strength of sin is the law." [I Corinthians 15:56]

Again, I’m not saying that we are made righteous through following the law. When we walk in the Spirit, then we ARE following the law. I’m not talking legalism here, either. The problem here as stated in Galatians was that they were still trying to teach the law as a way of righteousness. I.e., some were still requiring circumcision, the observance of days, months, times and years, forbidding fellowship and eating with the Gentiles and certain foods, etc. So Paul was simply setting them straight that it is by faith that we are saved and not observing the rites of the law. Paul is not saying that we don’t obey the moral and civil law of the Lord.

If we’re not to follow/obey the law, then how do we know when we are in sin? Or do you think Christians do not sin in the eyes of God?

Should we rid our societies of laws?