Give Yourself to Others …

Archive for October 2010

The story of the Rich Young Ruler appears in Luke 18.  This very well to do young man asks Jesus what he needs to do deserve eternal life.

It turns out the young man has kept the rules.  But inspite of that, Jesus replies  it’s still not enough, and tells him to give away all his money.

Is Jesus’ response to the young man a command?  another rule to be followed?

If it is another command, then most of us have failed to keep that command.  And thus, are condemned.  After all, even the poorest American is richer than 90+ percent of the world.

Or, was Jesus saying this:  You’ve pretty much kept the rules as you know them, but your heart is still captured by your wealth.  You’ve not really given your heart to God.  And given this fact, here’s what you need to do …

I think it’s that later.  Because keeping the rules is only an exterior measure, and the real point — the only point that’s important to God — is who has your heart.

It’s possible that when the rich young man asked his question, Jesus might have replied, “Yes, you’ve followed the rules, but you really missed the point.  Let me explain what you’ve missed.”

Among theologians, both professional and amateurs, there is sometimes a debate over Solo Scriptura, or the idea that everything about God is contained in the Scriptures … variously defined as either the Old Testament and/or New Testament text.

First we have to recognize that the “word of God” as used in the NT Text is not a reference to scriptures.

Second, even the NT Text itself seems to minimize the value of written text. Hebrews 10:16 emphasizes that God will write his covenant with us in our hearts — in contrast with the old covenant which was written in stone.

Third, the NT Text cannot possible be comprehensive in it’s presentation of or about God, the Son and the Spirit. No human text could possibly contain everything there is to know about the subject. You might argue the NT Text contains everything we NEED to know — which is a credible position — but not everything THERE IS to know.

Fourth, the NT Text itself says that a legal or command oriented approach to righteousness is not what the new covenant with God is about. However, what does a reliance on the Text result in? A perpetual argument about what the Text means — which cannot be what God desired. And in fact, it seems to perpetuate a Pharisaical approach to our relationship to God, which is repeatedly condemned in the NT Text, especially in the reports in Mark about Jesus.

The only time Jesus is quoted as describing his own words as commands occur in John 13 and John 15. Both times, his command is to love one another as he loved us.

For me, everything flows from that. If it doesn’t, then it’s not from God.

This is the reason, for me, the debate over IM is so misguided.

Because for anyone to condemn or even chastise me for using IM — whether a little or a lot — requires you to judge my heart. And no one knows my heart, except God. Some times I don’t even know my own heart.

So, back to the initial focus of this post … a Solo Scriptura approach to understanding God is limiting. I won’t say I have a better source than the NT Text. I don’t.

But I also know that God is not constrained by or limited to what is written in the NT Text.

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