Through man it’s not possible…

At the end of the Rich Young Ruler story, when the young man walks off confused, Peter asks Jesus, under those circumstances who can be saved? (click here for all three accounts)  Jesus’ answer was simple, “With man it is not possible, but with God all things are possible.”For many of us, when we read something worded like this, we accept the words, but the full ownership of them is another matter.  For instance, with man it’s not possible….  and yet how many make rules about what is a sin and what isn’t in their lives and fights to conquer those sins?   Or how many make rules and try to impose them on others?   Aren’t those actions of someone trying to do what Jesus said was not possible through man, but rather through God was possible?

In fact, Jesus was constantly trying to help the pharisees understand the difference in keeping the rules vs being changed in the heart.  A man can keep the rules of the law, but still fail to have their heart right.  And God will save you on your heart, not on your rule keeping mastery.

In Matthew 5  Jesus addressed this aspect of the heart vs the law.
20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

The pharisees kept the law, by the letter, better than anyone.  Their whole lifestyle revolved around the belief that if ONE of them could keep the law perfectly for a day, their Messiah would arrive.   The man who was dying on the road to Damascus had two pharisees walk wide of him, rather than helping him.  Why? Because had they touched him they would have been unclean for 7 days.  That is keeping the law strictly.  It could have been very heart breaking for them, to have to abandon a dying man because they couldn’t touch him for fear of being unclean.  But they kept the letter of their law.

Jesus taught that the law had value and wasn’t to be changed.  But the method of keeping the law, wasn’t by the letter as the Pharisees approached it, but to get the heart right, for it to be changed.  So our focus should be on the path that changes our heart, vs the path of stringent self enforced obedience.

Ezekiel wrote that GOD replaces our hard heart, with a softer heart in Ezekiel 11:19 and Ezekiel 36:26.  Why, do you think, so many people try to take control and do the changing their selves?  When the taking control themselves, forces them to focus NOT on having a right heart, but on the written laws, real and imagined, that define sins?

Paul in Colossians warned that man made rules that were to appear holy, may not be, and keeping to them was a waste of misleading time.  The warning of those who practice self-abasement, would apply to all those who make issue with don’t say shit, damn or hell, don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t wear that, don’t eat this, etc….  People who feel some perverse need to impose more rules on themselves so they can claim to be holy.  That is the ONLY thing it is good for, is the claim or the posturing.  It does nothing to change the heart, nor touch the substance of Christ’s message.

We find that God’s seed, in us prevents us from sinning.  It is not our accomplishment.
Or that HIM IN US prevents us in another place.
Or that HIS SPIRIT prevents us from giving into temptation in another place.
We realize at some point in our growth, it’s not myself that drives me any more, but Him in me.

The life that is removed, is removed by Christ, not by our doing.
And that once it is removed, the Spirit of God indwells you.
In every instance, it’s by his hand, and his doing.   However, we still see man trying hard to master that part of their lives.    Through man, it’s not possible.  Through God all things are possible.
Paul taught us that we are changed, to be as spiritually mature as Jesus the Christ was on Earth by the works of service the church leads us to.    (See vs 13)The Author of Hebrews says that God trains us in a new discipline of life.  The word for Discipline here, has a training aspect to it.  Through doing those works, we are being taught the things that change our life from the inside to the out.  You have a real live “fake it til you make it” situation.  If you substitute “discipline” for training here, which is a valid word for interpretation, see if it doesn’t have a different meaning to you.

The word for discipline, from ‘s Strong’s Concordance application.

pī-dyü’-ō (Key)
Part of Speech
Root Word (Etymology)
Dictionary Aids

Vine’s Expository Dictionary: View Entry

TDNT Reference: 5:596,753

Outline of Biblical Usage
  1. to train children

    1. to be instructed or taught or learn

    2. to cause one to learn

John wrote that if you fail to love then God isn’t in you, and you aren’t in God.  I have to ask you, with all the self focused, trying to keep the law right, and not sin, and control your sins, what good does it do you, if you fail this simple assessment?

John wrote that love defines you.  And that those who ARE born of God love.  Lacking that love, you aren’t born of God.John equates this to sin earlier in the letter.  The one born of God doesn’t sin because His Seed is in Him.  Where we just read that LOVE is the determinant for God to be in you, as God is love.   The connection to if you love correctly, you don’t sin logically makes sense.  But who among us can not sin?

Which is the point, it’s not about sin.  It’s about love.  Your focus is not to conquer sin, but to learn to love.  As God teaches you that new lifestyle/discipline, your heart is changed until you learn to love as God does.

Jesus wrote that you are to be as completely loving as God is loving.  Hopefully you have read the comments on “perfect” or Teleios and what it means.  If not, it will come in really handy about now.   But Jesus taught that God loves even His enemies and that this love provides for His enemies.  In the last verse He says be perfect (complete) as God is perfect.  What Jesus was using God for the example of is how to love correctly.  

In Matthew 25’s last parable you see the sheep, who did all these acts of loving kindness went on with the King and not the goats, even though they both knew the King.  Why did the sheep go on?  Not because they had earned their way, but because LOVE requires demonstration, as Jesus exemplified with how God loves His enemies above.  And the sheep’s love, manifested into action.   You can read about this here… 
The path I see, is you are to love your enemy, your neighbors, your brothers and sisters.  That love will manifest in actions.  We will do things wrong at first, but each step of the way, in every failure that we persevere through, God teaches your heart a new discipline, from love self, to Agapao.  From a heart of stone, to a softer more loving heart.  This is the race you are to run.  This is the path you are to take.   Learn how to love.  If you learn to love, as completely as Jesus did, as you would be as spiritually mature as Him, then what sins would you be committing?

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