Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FATHERS: Offering All

Let us become like Christ since he became like us. He assumed the worse that He might give us the better; He became poor that through His poverty we might become rich; He came down that we might be exalted; He was dishonored that He might glorify us; He died that He might save us; He ascended that he might draw us to Himself, who were lying low in the fall of sin. Let us give all, offer all, to Him who gave himself a ransom and reconciliation for us. (In Defense of His Flight, Gregory of Nazienzen, 371 AD)

St Gregory gets right in the face of much of today’s morality, which focuses on doing what is going merely because it is right. In other words, doing good because it is the law. All too often today, little emphasis is placed on doing good out of devotion to Christ. If all we have is conduct based on law, it is because the benefits obtained for us by Christ remain only in the cognitive and mental part of our reality. We know he is good and speaks the truth so we feel obligated to do what he says. Yet, experiencing Jesus requires that we live in the truth of what Jesus has procured for us to the point that we actually desire to respond by do what is pleasing to our Lord. This is what is meant in the New Testament by love fulfilling the law.
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," James 2: 8


  1. I memorized the following;
    Ethics are a set of rules that bind a society together for the greater good.
    God can, and has, added to those ethics.
    Morals are the itemized elements of those ethics.
    One is Moral to the extent that those morals conform to those ethics.
    A man or woman can follow those ethics and morals completely, and STILL be in utter darkness.
    So why all the fuss about morals and ethics?
    Say a prayer for the politicians, public servants, policeman, corrections officers, prosecutors and judges who understand what would happen to our culture's society if those ethics were NOT translated into law.
    Yet, in my mind, the New Testament is plain. Those laws, ethics, and morals are for the unbelievers. Those NOT led by the Spirit of God.
    Am I an antinomian? God forbid, I am still subject to the same laws, ethics, and moral code, yet as subtle as the difference is, taken to its end, it is as different as night and day.
    There is a story (true or not, it still speaks to my point) of the Preacher visiting New York City. Seeing a man without shoes, he takes his off and gives them to him. Unable to hail a cab in the late night, he is forced to walk back to his hotel on the icy cold streets and sidewalks. Cracked and bleeding, he complains to God.
    He soon realizes that the idea came from him, not from God.
    That said, wearers of the now famous bracelet with the initials "WWJD" might consider changing it from, "What Would Jesus Do?", to, "What Is The Living God, Through The Indwelling Lord Jesus Christ Doing Through Me?
    Father Carlos is understated in his assertion that when I do good because it is the law, or because I feel obligated, it is only a mental exercise. Or as we children of the 60's might still say, a "head trip".
    Living day by day with someone, indeed anyone, I develop a relationship. I, and only I, know Him as only I know him. And like a father, brother, and friend, when I have lived long enough with Him, I KNOW what pleases Him (for me).
    A Heart trip.
    How good am I at doing His will?
    (Smiling) None of your business.
    He loves me mad, glad, sad or bad.
    But for me, over a long, long period of time it no longer became just a head trip.
    "My head", someone once joked, "is like a bad neighborhood. I don't want to go in there by myself".
    When, from time to time, I revert back to making ethics and morality just another head trip, I have the means to escape that neighborhood, through His living example and His love.

  2. Very well put Markus. WITLGTTILJCDTM :)