Thought Filled Thursdays – It’s All Relative

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:1-3 (NIV)
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As I was preparing this post, I was looking for Scriptures that would be “relative” in nature. That is when Philippians 2 came to me. It is such a passage of hope for relationships. It says IF you have any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from his love, any fellowship with his Spirit… any tenderness and compassion… Do nothing out of selfish ambition and vain conceit, but consider others better than yourself. The great commandment, in Jesus words, is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength – and then the second – Love your neighbor as yourself. Loving those closest to us as we love our self – What does that look like?
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A few weeks ago I was listening to someone on the radio beating someone else down and using the “Ten Commandments” to do it. I suddenly had a revelation about the “Law” versus “Grace”
issue of the Old and New Testament or Covenants. You see, God instituted boundaries in the Ten Commandments that would ensure the two commandments that Christ referenced would be observed by all who are marked by the love of His covenant. His covenant is an everlasting covenant.
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In the Gospels, Jesus tells us He did not come to replace the law but to fulfill it. I could not get past that phrase – not to replace but to fulfill. Of course, the evidence is that He fulfilled the Law and its requirements by never violating them. He also fulfilled the purpose of the Law by providing atonement and an avenue for unrighteous man to have access to God without the penalty of sin. He did it all. He loved them all. He died for them all. Love your neighbor as yourself. For God so loved the World that He gave all.
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It was this fulfilling of the Law that makes a relationship with God possible. So why am I dwelling on this in a week when we are talking about boundaries, relationships and relating to our friends and family in spite of our grief. Because it is all relative, that’s why. Through Christ we have relationship with God and a higher call to relationship with one another. We are called to continue the fulfillment of the Law in our relationships through the power and love of Jesus Christ.
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That day as I listened to the radio personality beating up on a “fellow Christian” with the Ten Commandments and Scripture – It struck me funny. How many times does Scripture say we are to be unified in Spirit and to love one another? How often does it say that love covers a multitude of sins? Yet, here is this self proclaimed Evangelist who is sarcastically tearing other preachers and teachers to shreds for the things they are doing and saying in their ministries on public radio.
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It just lay all over me as I muttered, “They preach the Law, but the Law is not at work in them. The Law fulfilled by grace.”
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I was not angry, nor was I disgusted – I was moved with compassion for people who try so diligently to keep the letter of the Law and miss the grace that is at work in it. The Law is full of grace. When God established boundaries for His people those boundaries were designed to allow His people to reflect two things: 1.) Their heart to love Him, and 2.) His heart to love us. The first four are about how we are to express our love and devotion to God, and the latter six are an expression of God’s love for mankind through His people. The beauty is that by not stealing, lying, murdering, committing adultery and coveting your neighbor’s things, as well as honoring your father and mother – we find ourselves at the center of selfless acts of love that allow us to administer grace instead of judgment. Grace at work in the Law and fulfilled on the cross through Christ Jesus.
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It is through the fulfilling of the perfect Law of God that redemption came, and it is through that same perfect law that redemption of our grief and our sorrow will come. When we institute boundaries in our relationships that exemplify our love for God and His love for mankind – specifically for those we are in relationship with we perpetuate the fulfillment of the Law and express the Gospel in love, truth and mercy.
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Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. ~ Psalm 112:4 (NIV)~

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