“Love or Law? Which is more important?” goes the question. Frankly, that is the wrong question.
Love and keeping the commandments are intricately intertwined within Scripture. They are inseparable. If you love God, you will keep His commandments. If you keep His commandments, you will keep the most important one of all, which is to love God.
2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:2-3, King James Version)
The above should make it quite clear that the children of God love God and keep His commandments. Not only that, but keeping His commandments are not “grievous”. That is, it is not “burdensome” (NIV).
You have to have both. Keeping His commandments (even if you could) will not get you into the Kingdom. Simply having some emotional experience will not get you into the Kingdom. God wants obedient and loving children.
That’s one big reason only a few are chosen now. Too many will go into one ditch or the other.
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14, King James Version)
C'mon John, you can say it, "It's Jesus that gets His people into the Kingdom."
Love, fruit, works, obedience all follow and my job is not to condemn other Christians who choose to worship God as He leads them.
Anonymous wrote: "Love, fruit, works, obedience all follow and my job is not to condemn other Christians who choose to worship God as He leads them."
Why do you hate others so much? Why would you willingly watch them ruin their lives through disobedience? Why would you not warn them of the dangers of sin?
God has clearly shown how He leads them. It is through His Bible that He left as an instruction book for all mankind.
If an instruction book says to not stick your finger into an electrical outlet, would you not warn someone else not to do it?
Ephesians 2:8-11 (King James Version)
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto "GOOD WORKS", which God hath "BEFORE ORDAINED" that we should walk in them.
Anonymous quoted: "10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto 'GOOD WORKS', which God hath 'BEFORE ORDAINED' that we should walk in them" [bold my emphasis]
Yes, we are shown grace, and out of gratitude we do good works. Both are required.
"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
John: I'm the first Anonymous post here (9:51 PM). Here's the rub:
As you know "Lord, Lord" people from Matthew 7:21-22 talk a lot about Jesus, but they don't do what He says (His will), their fruit is bad and their foundation is on sand. Their works and "obedience" are motivated by their own self will, prideful desires.
The message you're sending is: obey, obey, don't sin, don't sin, live righteously, live righteously. Choices. That message fails to give the ultimate answer. In fact it implies that if you do better, then God will accept you. At best that message emphasizes self and covers up Jesus Christ – the power to change. At worst, it changes grace into works salvation.
Think about it John and correct me where I'm wrong. You believe God is not calling or working with 99.9% of the people today – they will be "saved" in the future Kingdom.
So the only positive, practical result of preaching the gospel of the coming Kingdom is to possibly make society afraid enough of coming world events to morally change for the short-term. Even HWA says the gospel of the coming Kingdom is primarily a warning message (and he referenced Matt 24:14).
What practical, day-to-day "good news" is that? Think about it, my marriage is failing, I'm about to get a divorce, my teens are rebelling, but one day Jesus will establish His Kingdom on this earth and we'll all be happy.
What? What "good news" and help does that serve me now? That message leads to a neglect of people in need.
The true Gospel emphasizes the message of the love of God (John 3:16) – that He gave His only Son so that we can have salvation (spiritually saving) now. When that message truly penetrates the heart, then life change takes place. No matter my circumstances, in the end I know God loves me and is looking out for my good. I can make it because of Him and His power. Life will definitely work out and I can trust His unfailing love.
Putting an emphasis on me living a life of not sinning and doing better is similar to the American philosophy of "doing better" "living a moral life" "fixing it yourself" and "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps" instead of admitting failure and trusting in God's power to change.
You say I hate people. I don't hate people by willingly watching them ruin their own lives. I communicate the hope of Jesus Christ – where real, true salvation comes from. If they hear that and they ruin their own lives, they will have the message of hope and love in Jesus Christ. That means something today. That message has changed people from suicidal thoughts to a life of serving and loving God and others. Jesus meets the humble and broken at that point in our lives. Then we are changed.
So, which message really cares about people and which doesn't?
The gospel of the coming Kingdom and living "right" attracts some people. The results however are "knowledge" of future events which leads to physical self protectionism (i.e. a physical place of safety – which I know you don't believe in – but you're in the CG minority) and pride.
Why not emphasize Jesus, His power, His love, and His ability to save? The results are changed lives, a correct emphasis on God to do the work and the inward work of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin (i.e. I don't need a person harshly condemning me because God's conviction is more powerful than any person), teach and comfort.
When you get to the point of brokenness, you realize it's all God – even my best choices are selfishly motivated. That motivates me to tell others about His love and live righteously by His power!!
@Anonymous: You honestly don't understand salvation. Sin is what causes the problems of the world. God's way saves you from sin. To preach anything else proves you don't love people.
Jesus will come to the earth. Why? Do you even know? Obviously not! He will come because the aggregate of sins will lead to the destruction of the earth if He does not. Sin is the base problem.
Only a life built upon Jesus is going to work. Only a life devoted to Him is going to work. Only a life of repentance will lead to that.
The message of mainstream Christianity is a message without repentance. That means the suffering will continue. It is a message of hate, not love.
I've seen more repentance and life change in Protestant congregations than I've seen in CG congregations.
John wrote, "The message of mainstream Christianity is a message without repentance."
Then you don't understand the message of mainstream Christianity. I thought you listened to "Way of the Master" and liked it – maybe I'm mistaken.
Anonymous wrote: "I've seen more repentance and life change in Protestant congregations than I've seen in CG congregations."
That's a contradiction. By definition, Protestants are a variation of the Catholic Church. Therefore, they don't believe the Bible in the first place.
"Then you don't understand the message of mainstream Christianity."
No, you are the one who is blind. I feel truly sorry that you refuse to see that all they teach is that once you accept Jesus, you can live out your life in sin all you want.
"I thought you listened to 'Way of the Master' and liked it – maybe I'm mistaken."
You are. I listened to it for a while because it is unique in that they go through 9 of the 10 commandments in order to get people to see their need for salvation. However, the hypocrisy of ignoring and then denigrating those who believe in the 4th got tiring.
"I've seen more repentance and life change in Protestant congregations than I've seen in CG congregations"
People also see more biblical lawlessness in life style teachings from Protestant congregations. Where their clergy teach people that same sex couples also can enter a marriage covenant and become one flesh.
Granted Protestants are divided about the subject, yet when division occurs in the CoG something is supposed to be utterly wrong and unhealthy with the CoG? Are you seeing any hyprocrisy and lack of impartiality?
Then there's Herbert Armstrong and being associated with his teachings as something unhealthy. Yet somehow, knowing what is readily available to be known of Martin Luther, it's healthy to associate with his teachings? Are you seeing any hyprocrisy and lack of impartiality?
Matt 7:12 Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
I believe people see what they want to see; morally even Atheists change and a few of which even regard abortion as totally wrong. But can Protestants see that keeping the 7th day Sabbath as a Church tradition, is what would happen were they to actually follow Jesus Christ?
Perhaps that is what you should be trying to teach to other non Sabbatarian Protestants rather than spending your time here on a blog for CoG. Don't be deceived it is not impossible to keep the Sabbath holy, as the testimony handed down to this generation clearly shows such a thing can be done.
Luke 1:6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, following all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
Dear Anonymous, you have said; "In fact it implies that if you do better, then God will accept you. At best that message emphasizes self and covers up Jesus Christ – the power to change. At worst, it changes grace into works salvation."
How would you apply this to what God said to Cain about sin? Did GOD not say to him something like–if you will do better, then you will be accepted?
I was recently reading Deuteronomy 28:1-68. I urge everyone to read it carefully and think about it. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 lists the Blessings for Obedience and Deuteronomy 28:15-68 lists the Curses for Disobedience. This is what is actually in the Bible. It is from God.
These blessings and curses were given to all Israel–all twelve tribes. HWA taught that Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and the democracies of North-Western Europe are the descendants of the "lost ten tribes" of Israel, and that these blessings and curses apply to them today. They would also apply to the modern nation of Israel, which is the tribe of Judah.
Reading some of these absolutely horrendous and frightening curses in Deuteronomy makes me wonder why anyone would ever think that disobedience is acceptable to God, and maybe even pleasing to Him. It makes me wonder how anyone could possibly think that obedience is displeasing to God, and somehow wrong in His sight. Just what sort of curses are they trying to bring on everyone? How can they hate God and mankind that badly?
HWA taught that these curses were going to befall these nations in the near future because of their sins. Frankly, I can't help wondering about Australia, with its big gay pride parades, getting drought, and then firestorms, and now floods. At least the people there are alive yet, and therefore have a chance to repent.
Reading the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:6-21 makes me wonder what sort of person would be opposed to them, and would ever want to teach anything against them. What sort of mind would be so hostile to God and all these right and good ways of His?
How could anyone who claims to be a Christian ever want to turn people away from God's ways and try to talk them into going Satan's ways? Such people are not Christians at all, no matter how much they claim to be. They are actually Satanists, no matter how much they try to deny it.