July 1st, 2010

The Spirit and The Letter, To Believe or Not To Believe

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Written by: Gene

2 Timothy 2:14-17 (Contemporary English Version)
An Approved Worker
“Don’t let anyone forget these things. And with God as your witness, you must warn them not to argue about words. These arguments don’t help anyone. In fact, they ruin everyone who listens to them. Do your best to win God’s approval as a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed and who teaches only the true message. Keep away from worthless and useless talk. It only leads people farther away from God. That sort of talk is like a sore that won’t heal. And Hymenaeus and Philetus have been talking this way”

Every so often I come across a Biblical debate that I choose to not be a part of, simply because it has no benefit to the building of the Kingdom of God. I can understand the pursuit of the deeper meanings of the Word of God, but I don’t understand why people choose to “debate” to the point that they tear down the “faith” of a fellow Christian just to prove a point.

There are two ways to look at the Scripture… 1)determine the letter of the law 2)understand the Spirit of the law.

The trap that the pharisees got in to, was the constant bickering about how to interpret the letter of the law. The argument caused them to take the original Books of Moses and debate them to the point that they no longer understood what the Spirit of the Law stood for. When Jesus told them that “All of the law is this, love your neighbor as yourself”, He was redirecting them back to what God originally said.

They had argued about the single word to the point that they no longer knew what to believe, and they lost sight of the original meaning. They had in essence lost the concept of “love your neighbor”, and adapted the concept of use the law to beat down your neighbor.

If “all of the law” is Love, then the Bible really isn’t meant to be a law book, but it is meant to be a Love Letter to us.

When I was a kid, my mom would write notes to me and put them in my lunchbox. They would say things like “Gene, I love you and want you to try to learn something new today at school”. She would write notes because her love for me caused her to want to see me grow, and by learning something at school I would grow. It is a simple concept.

My mom would have been upset if I had taken the note she left me, brought it to my sister, and demanded that she recite one thing she learned. It would have not been her intention for me to tell my sister that if she didn’t learn anything, then mom wouldn’t let her live with us anymore.

It sickens God when Believers use His Love Letter as a way to cause other Believers to doubt. As a Christian who is saved by grace and love, we need to allow the same towards others.

There is a rule that I keep when it comes to studying the Word of God:

The letter of the law is for my personal growth, and the spirit of the letter of love is for the way I treat others.

The Scripture tells us to consider others better than ourselves, and that means that we are to understand the Spirit of God’s Word before we try to look at the Letter of it. If the letter tells you anything that goes against what the Spirit says, then it is plain wrong.

God’s Word comes in many different translations and paraphrases because He wants us to understand how much He loves us. I can tell my wife in German that I love her everyday, but if she doesn’t speak German she will just think I am spitting on her.

We ought to be ashamed when we cause the world to think that God is spitting on them, when we ought to be telling them that He loves them.

About the Author

A husband to an awesome wife, father to 3 beautiful girls, step-father to a beautiful girl and smart son. Preacher, Designer and best of all a Servant to a loving and gracious God.

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