The just shall live by faith

The question was raised yesterday in FB what is meant by ‘the just shall live by faith.’  Without looking at context, each word might unlock some meaning.  Who are the ‘just’? Those who walk uprightly? What is uprightly? Those who hold high standards and walk according to them?  How high do standards have to be to be high?  Where do we begin? Am I just if I am right?  Is the meaning of just tied to the meaning of justice?

What is meant by ‘live’?  Does it imply simply breathing?  Is it a lifestyle?  Does it include growing?  Can I live and still be dead in spirit? 

Then there is the word, ‘faith’.  Is this believing something even if you don’t ‘see’ it? Is it following someone you can’t touch?  Is it related to ‘live’ and ‘just’?  Is  there a connection between the word, ‘trust’, and faith?  If so, how are they different and how the same?

If we can find the truth in the answers to these questions, will we find the truth in the answer to the original question?  Think on it…

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compelled by God’s love

This is based on a study provided by Rick Warren’s Life Together series. 

Beginning with 1 John 4:7-12 

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God–for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

The Greek word agapaō is used.  It is the verb form of agape.  It means “Hey, do this! I mean it!  Couple that with Jesus’ command:  John 13:34-35   

  So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

and it begs the questions; Am I a disciple?  Do I love all the time? How is it evident?

  1. Be kind
  2. Be tender-hearted
  3. Forgive
  4. Remember:  God forgave you through Christ

Ephesians 4:32  Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 

Romans 12:9-21    Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.

Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.

When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night.

If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow.

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.

Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord.

Instead, do what the Scriptures say: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.”

Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.

That’s a list from Romans.  Again I ask, do I follow the recommendations? 

1 Peter 1:22  Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.

  1 John 3:16-18  We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters.

But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help–how can God’s love be in that person?

Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.

Connecting with God’s love will be evident in our life, in our actions, in how we treat one another.  That evidence will confirm to the rest of our world that we are truly His disciples.

It will look like this:

  1. Care for one another’s needs
  2. Work for the Lord together enthusiastically
  3. Share what we have with one another
  4. Be kind to one another
  5. Be tender-hearted with one another
  6. Forgive one another
  7. Be happy with one another in times of joy
  8. Be sad with one another in times of sorrow
  9. Develop a habit of eating together
  10. Develop a habit of offering a place to rest to those who need it

To do this we need to commit to:

  1. Prayer, alone and together
  2. Be patient
  3. Pray for our enemies and those who would attack us
  4. Let God take vengeance on others who malign us
  5. Work enthusiastically at the work God has given us

Let’s do it!  Working one at a time to change the way the world looks at Christians!!

A response to Julia…”When There Are No Answers”

 

When There Are No Answers

When There Are No Answers

When love is all there is

Why do I fall for the illusion

Of other than

When love is all there is

Why do I run away in fear

When love is all there is

How do I look into the eyes of a rapist

And not be filled with rage

When love is all there is

How do I look into the eyes of a child molester

And not want to make them suffer

Torment for the rest of their lives

When love is all there is

How do I not want to scream and rage

At all the violence and oppression

Disguised as religion

When love is all there is

How do I try to not commit suicide again

Because of all the extreme pain and suffering

When love is all there is

How do I stay sane in a world

Where people own their own private islands

While other people survive on less than

A dollar day

When love is all there is

How do I keep from going mad

at the way most people trash the planet every day

When love is all there is

How do I keep from turning in hopelessness

Every time i hear another human is being brought into the world

That already has too many people on it

When love is all there is

How do i keep myself from wanting to make people suffer

The same way they make animals suffer everyday for their “food”

When love is all there is

How do I reconcile all that is not love

Pasted from <http://juliabutterflyhill.wordpress.com/>

When love is all there is

How do I reconcile all that is not love…

Let me begin by saying this poem speaks to the conflicts I find within my self, have since my youth when I was trying to determine the purpose and reason behind creation and my part in it, finding myself focusing on what was majorly wrong and how to reconcile that with how “things should be.”  This discord has been a constant in my life and will remain to the end I’m sure.  Life itself has not helped to present answers only to reinforce that wrongs persist and rights are not forthcoming, probably because we can never get everybody on the same page at the same time.  So the dilemma continues for me also.

 This led to a spirit of judgment in me as well.  After all, not everybody is working to right the wrongs, many are actively engaged in continuing and creating the wrongs.  So it is easy to sound judgmental, to appear to be pointing the finger.  Only after one looks more deeply into the words spoken and the emotions evidenced can one see the tension that lives within.  The connection within me  gave birth to a reason to share.

 There is a way to make a difference for each of the reasons given to weep inside.  I can speak personally for one that may paint a picture in contrasts. 

When love is all there is

How do I look into the eyes of a child molester

And not want to make them suffer

Torment for the rest of their lives…

I was married to a child molester.  I have been touched by the shame, the pain, the filth, the harm and continue to be as I continue the relationship with the child. Watching as she grows and struggles to find peace in her life, keeps alive the emotions and pain.  Your reaction to the wrong is mirrored within me; but something is happening to me I cannot explain, give accurate voice to how it happens, answer questions for its being.  As I turn to the One who created me, and ask for the ability to love as my Lord loved, I find change taking place within me.  While I want to “make him suffer torment for the rest of his life“… I also weep for the harm he inflicted on others, and himself.  The lives thrown away for what…?  And the compassion, the weeping is becoming stronger.  I see a part of creation gone wrong and as much in need of repair as anything gone wrong.  The change within me  is happening from the outside inward.  There is a power greater than me, who created me and can make the repairs I can’t.  I am tapping into that power and it is creating the change.  I now believe it can do the same for the other causes to weep.  I believe God weeps as well, as He sees what is done to His creation.  I connect to that weeping. I am a firm believer that other wrongs can be corrected as well.  Reality tells me we will never all get on the same page at the same time to work to right the wrongs that cause the weeping.  But as you propose, each of us can exercise the power of one and when that one is united to the power that created us, it is amplified and the change is without explanation.