The Human Choice - 21
THE SOCIAL SCIENCE OF JESUS
Jesus - M't. 5:43-46. You have learned that they were told, "Love your neighbour, hate your enemy." But what I tell you is this: Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors; only so can you be children of your heavenly Father, who makes his sun rise on the good and bad alike, and sends the rain on the honest and dishonest.
Two things here: again the appeal for charity within spiritual family, then a reminder that judgment day is at the end of, not during, this lifetime. In this life we are treated equally.
The war against evil (and evil is not uncommon within a community) is a different situation to war between spiritually related families. The war against evil is a permanent war where appeasement is itself a crime.
That point is picked up quickly following items of advice on social behaviour such as:
Jesus - M't. 6:1. Be careful not to make a show of your religion before men; Self-aggrandisement is not spiritually profitable.
Jesus - M't. 7:6-7. Do not give dogs what is holy; do not feed your pearls to pigs: they will only trample on them, and turn and tear you to pieces.
7:7 Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened.
The first is a clear reference to evil where those of immoral commitment are described as dogs and pigs. No turning the other cheek. Here, you are warned, good is repaid with violence.
The warning of 7:6 is extended, but not before some advice on learning, 7:7. However this advice is often misunderstood to mean: Ask God. But as we have already seen we should not put the Lord to the test and that God allows the rain to fall on good and bad alike. This is one of several reminders that we must put self aside and be open-minded. To "ask", "seek", and "knock", require a willingness on our part to be open to, and to actively seek, new understanding. We have a spiritual nature and should seek enlightenment within our resources rather than make demands of God. We are given spiritual force for honest use and benefit.
Jesus - M't. 7:12-19. Always treat others as you would like them to treat you: that is the Law and the prophets.
7:13. Enter by the narrow gate. The gate is wide that leads to perdition, there is plenty of room on the road, and many go that way; but the gate that leads to life is small and the road is narrow, and those who find it are few.
7:15. Beware of false prophets, men who come to you dressed up as sheep while beneath they are savage wolves. You will recognize them by the fruit they bear.
7:19. When a tree does not yield good fruit it is cut down and burnt.
We may do well to note that the wolf in sheep's clothing is an emblem of the socialist Fabian Society. However, also note the conflict between item 7:12 and 7:15-19, and the warning 7:13 entered between them. This conflict is resolved when we realize that we are being advised on our different relationships with spiritual friends and spiritual enemies, and the danger from temptation to take the easy path. As Jesus repeats: 7:20.
You will recognize them by their fruits. The tree that does not yield good fruit is cut down and burnt.
We now come to a third revealing witness in this matter of the true position of the Christian in relation to evil.
Jesus - M't. 7:21-23. Not everyone who calls me "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my heavenly Father. When that day comes, many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out devils in your name, and in your name perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them to their face, "I never knew you: out of my sight, you and your wicked ways!"
This is fair and clear warning to those who use the Gospels selectively in order to mislead the innocent or to excuse, and thereby condone, evil. We must do the will of the heavenly Father; that is: live by the moral and spiritual truth. Living humanistically and doing good to satisfy earthly values and causes has no value in spiritual life; it is the motivation behind what we do that is spiritually important.
Jesus - M't. 8:11. Many, I tell you, will come from the east and the west to feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But those who were born to the kingdom will be driven out into the dark, the place of wailing and grinding of teeth.
This reveals the expansion of the Christian revelation to include other tribes and the distress to befall the many who fail to accept the benefits of their privileged position.
Jesus - M't. 10:28. Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. Fear him rather who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
And 10:35-36. You must not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, ... a man will find his enemies under his own roof.
We here have a forecast of things to come as a result of human intransigence and rebellion against the self-discipline and respect for truth necessary to human life.
It requires a superior insight to give such warnings 2000 years in advance. The division and breakup of families is now far beyond anything imagined within the intervening time.
The sword is the Christian Revelation. Understanding of social truth allows us to more effectively battle deceit. This sword is a weapon of spiritual, not physical, war.
Now another vital quote.
Jesus - M't. 12:30-37. He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And I tell you this: no sin, no slander, is beyond forgiveness for men, except slander spoken against the Spirit, ...
12:37 For out of your own mouth you will be acquitted; out of your own mouth you will be condemned.
No pussy-footing here, if you don't work for good you work for evil; no half-way house. This is a plain and direct statement reminding us that when we do not oppose evil we aid evil; and so it will be judged. Forgiveness covers a wide field - until we are offered enlightenment.
True Christians keep to the rules and do not cheat. There is a space in the nature of creation that cannot be halved - it therefore cannot be occupied - such a space exists between good and evil. Note Luke 16:19-27. choice21.htm
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