John 8.31-59 Some insights into spiritual growth 3

“I tell you for certain anyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (v.34)

Jesus’ mission was to preach the Good News which is: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

In this passage from Luke 4.18-19 Jesus is letting us know that we are slaves, poor, captives, blind and oppressed. The remedy is the “acceptable year of the Lord” which can be understood as the Kingdom of God. Can you imagine there being bondage of any kind in the Kingdom of God? He says: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (right here right now); repent (change your mind), and believe in the gospel (good news).” Mark 1:15

We find Jesus talking here to believers (v.31) who do not understand what he is saying. Sound familiar? (v.43), “why can’t you understand what I’m talking about?” I’m reminded of Jesus’ statement on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23.34

What is the sin we are slaves to? Sin from the Greek; hamartia means to miss the mark. The commentator from the online Blue Letter Bible says of this word; “It is the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity.” Maybe what this commentator is pointing out here is that the word hamartia itself is a morally oblique term. It is very possible this word is used on purpose to describe an amoral condition of blindness or ignorance. That we have not offended God for the simple reason we are unable to reason. We cannot see the target (God) and we have no clue as to how get there. Is this a moral failing or just the condition we find ourselves in?

Some of the synonyms for obliquity are: ambiguous, darkness, inscrutability, murkiness, mysteriousness, and opaqueness. Of course we keep missing the mark because we cannot see the mark. Is it not inscrutable that theologians would take such a morally ambiguous word and create an entire moral system based on the idea that God hates what spiritually blind people do? Of course God does not hate anyone and he is no more offended by our actions then we are of mentally compromised people. We just don’t know what we are doing. And this ignorance has us imprisoned, slaves to our insanity. There are no Venal sins, no mortal sins, no sins of omission and no sins of commission. These theological terms describe only one condition our inability to see.

There really is only one sin from which all our mistakes have their root. We mistakenly believe we are separate from ALL there is. God. We believe in the impossible. We believe in something that can never be. There are not thousands of choices for our happiness there is only one; choose God or we are stuck in our blindness.

Here is what Jesus’ contemporary theologians had to say:

39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (John 9 NIV)

This was said after healing the man born blind.

What we have done is cloak our ignorance in the fig leaves of theological thinking and convinced ourselves we can see. “Abraham is our father.” “We have just one father, and he is God.” said the people. Because of what they were taught they believed they could see.

For many of us our minds are full of theological theories and because we accept them and have called them MINE we are very attached to them. Did you know that your most important possessions are your beliefs? Aren’t we willing to kill for them even die for them? Unfortunately history proves this all to true. With this insight we see that the people in Jesus’ day were just like us. I find it interesting that at the end of Luke 4 and the end of John 8 the people are trying to kill Jesus. Isn’t this something we need to watch for in our lives? How do we react when someone threatens our theology? Do we demonize them? Once we do it is a very short path to the killing fields.

For the past 20 years I ave been a professional caregiver mostly working with people with Alzheimers and dementia. During this time I have been hit, accused of stealing, thrown up on, yelled at, told to leave etc. I would have not lasted very long in this work if I had taken any of this personally. These people no longer know what they are doing. In comparing our intelligence and spiritual insight to the creator of the known universe does it not seem that the human race has a case of Alzheimers? Now into this scenario comes a caregiver, a comforter who tells us we aren’t in our right minds. And why? because we have made a mistake, we believe that we are separate from God. This belief has given us dementia and we now think we are OK. However deep down inside there is a small bit of remembrance of how things used to be. It is this memory that Jesus is speaking to. It is like during those times of clarity when the one with Alzheimers remembers the name of her husband and begins to talk of all the wonderful things they used to do together.

What keeps us a prisoner? My mistaken belief that I can get back to God without help—”I can see.” This is where all of our insane actions (sins/mistakes) come from. I will have more than I need if I steal it. And we have forgotten we are sons of the King. I will have more love in my life with just one more lover. And we have forgotten that God is Love.

This way of interpreting hamartia in the light that God is not offended in any way brings us to a place where we must take another look at the death of Jesus and its purpose. But that is for future posts. Why if God is not offended did all those animals have to be sacrificed and why did Jesus have to be “sacrificed”? Just something to think about. And what of guilt?

Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Heaven?

The best answer I’ve read yet about who gets saved and who dosen’t

Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life

Is Jesus Christ the only way to heaven?

Yes . . . but it’s not what you’re thinking!

Here’s the deal. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is God. There’s nothing in the Bible about him being the second Person of a Trinity. That was a purely human invention. (See “‘Christian Beliefs’ that the Bible Doesn’t Teach.”)

Isaiah 44:6 says:

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

Guess who the New Testament says is the first and the last?

If you guessed Jesus Christ, you get a gold star!

Just take a look at Revelation 1:17–18; 2:8; and 22:12–13. The context makes it clear that the one who says in Revelation, “I am the first and the last” is none other than the risen…

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Inner transformation is sometimes our only option

When the unimaginable happens-what do we do? We will not know until the time and can only pray for God’s grace.

Mirrors of Encounters

“We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life, even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed.To turn predicament into a human achievement. For what then matters is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph. When we are no longer able to change a situation, that is when we are challenged to change ourselves.”

– Viktor Frankl

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You will never find your vocation unless you give up illusion

WOW

Mirrors of Encounters

The worst and most paradoxical thing about human nature
is not that man fears unhappiness and death,
but invariably dreads Happiness and Life.

Thomas Ross:
Your words resonate with one of my most treasured Tao passages.
“[The Master] holds nothing back from life; therefore he is ready for death, as a man is ready for sleep after a good day’s work.”

And perhaps even more, you send me again to the Auden passage – “We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die.”

Me:
Isn´t it so? When we really LIVE and hold nothing back from life, doing the best of our ability to fulfill our Real Call, we have enough time and are no longer afraid to die. When we fear life, we are always short of time, and being…

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John 8.31-59 Some insights into the means to spiritual growth. 2

SRF Garden Sunset (Spiritual Realization Fellowship)

SRF Garden Sunset
(Spiritual Realization Fellowship)

I’ve decide to change the title of this series into a more positive approach, from obstacles into how to grow spiritually.

The last post on this topic pointed out that spiritual pride can get in the way of growing spiritually. So a good place to start our journey toward Oneness with God is in the Spirit of humility. That no matter what I have been told or how much I have read how many retreats or seminars I have attended I really don’t know anything.

The toughest pill to swallow is, Truth cannot be found in books or sermons. Truth can only be found in the doing. Then we will know for ourselves what the Truth is for me. Jesus points out that if you “obey what he has said” then we will know.

Enter Pontious Pilate: “What is the Truth”

Jesus’ answer: “Silence” So much can be said when we keep our mouths shut. It has always been a wonder to me that so much can be said about what we can’t explain. But we/I keep trying. Jesus tells us the Truth is discovered in the doing. Here is my verbal stab into the dark.

The end of attack. The actions are the flowering of the seeds of thought, the effects of a mental desire and the clouds which hide the Light of the Son of Heaven. Only Love is real. We may have gained some truth but truth without Goodness (action) is cold and dead. Truth without Goodness is attack. Truth and Goodness equal Love in action.

Yes there is only One Truth. It is Solid, the Cornerstone of Heaven, the Rock that people stumble over, unchangeable, unassailable and without compromise. However as the cornerstone or foundation is not the entire building Love and Goodness must be the building, the Fathers House. Love and Goodness can only stand on the Foundation of Truth. This is the Reality of Heaven.

Jesus could say he is the Way, the Truth and the Life because he was the full realization of God incarnate which is Love and Goodness. Love is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one can enter a heavenly life without Love. We leave all attack behind and enter the Gates of Heaven, here and now.

God is Love, God is Goodness, God is Truth and if we do theses things we will never die. We have moved from death into life.

We can only know the Truth when we do everything in Goodness and Love.

In these verses he says several times “I am doing only what my Father has shown me”(Love and Goodness). He points out the people have another father, not Abraham as they were told, in the physical, but in the spiritual realm they are offsprings of another thought system. The system of the world that believes in separation from God. Jesus came to teach them how to be one with God again but they have to leave their old thought system behind—their entire worldview actually—and do what Jesus says.

Is Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life. He categorically denies his own Goodness/God. He never said he was Love. He did say he was the Light of the World and to follow him (do what he does) and we too will have the light that gives life. (Jn. 8.12) The Light of The World also tells us “we are the light of the world” (Matt 5.14) He is the way-shower illuminating our hearts and minds so we can be like him, One with God. (see John 17)

Now to leave you with the immortal words of poet and philosopher Leonard Cohen: When his audience answered in the affirmative that they wanted to know the secret, the truth of everything, he said: “de dom dom, de do dom dom”