Friday, July 18, 2008

But I say unto you...

But Jesus said unto us (cf. Matt. 5)
  • You don’t have to murder—just hating your brother or calling him a fool carries a death sentence.

  • You don’t have to commit adultery—simple garden-variety lust renders you guilty of gross sexual immorality.

  • Moses said you could divorce. Well you can’t.
There are those who say that Jesus is merely explaining that the Pharisees were misrepresenting the law. Nonsense. Over and over Jesus repeats a clear teaching from the Mosaic law, and then explains why it is null and void—because the true law is more severe. The Mosaic law was dumbed down. The Mosaic law was sugarcoated. The purpose of the Mosaic law was, in part, to demonstrate this: you people can’t even obey the law when I make it simple—just no overt actions such as murder or adultery. Just keep your emotions in check and keep it zipped. And if you can’t even obey that law, how will you obey the real law, which examines the heart rather than the deeds?

This is good news. Yes, there are people I hate. Therefore I am no better than a murderer. Lust—is that ever a problem? Well, I haven’t had a lobotomy, yet, so ‘nuff said. I am so busted under Jesus’ law, while under Moses’ law I can say: well at least I haven’t murdered anyone. That’s dangerous thinking. The more realistically we see the impossibility of a Pelagian style salvation, the more ready we are to concede that it is either all by grace or we all are utterly lost.

Some people rather nonsensically call themselves four-point Calvinists. And some people just as nonsensically call themselves five point Calvinists.

I’m a one point Calvinist. You only need the first letter from the TULIP acrostic. From Total Depravity either the remaining four points follow or we all are lost. That's what makes Total Depravity the most wonderful of Reformed/Augustinian Doctrines. If we actually could save ourselves--how awful that would be. How much pressure, anxiety, and fear that would entail.

With the exception of v. 43 where Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. '” Which he then upgrades to “love your enemies.” The teaching “love your neighbor and hate you enemy” is not found, in an explicit sense, in the Old Testament. One could argue it is there implicitly, since David, in the Psalms, certainly wrote about hating his enemies and hating God’s enemies.

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