A Contagious Love

For many of us Christians we have been taught that the law of God is some icky, evil virus we should avoid. Well-meaning preachers, teachers, and others have sifted a verse or so to foster a stigma against obeying God. Consequently, we have nurtured generations of “believers” who believe grace is a license to live lawlessly while having the perspective God’s laws are nothing but a burdensome checklist of do’s and don’ts. Just like our current medical experts are discerning all of the data (of COVID-19) before implementing federal and state policies, we too need to discern all the Biblical data before implementing doctrines. Failure to do so invites preventable disaster, death, and eternal doom!

The Apostle Peter even warned his readers that many would twist the Apostle Paul’s difficult and confusing letters explaining “the law of sin and death” compared to the “law of God” and rather twist it to lead people to believe lawlessness is what Paul promoted (2 Peter 3:14-18). For example, some of the common passages people use to justify rebellion to God’s commands is found in select verses or chapters in the Book of Acts, Romans, and Galatians. If we only referenced the negative connotations while failing to realize Paul often goes back and forth revealing the pros of “the law of God” compared to the “law of sin and death”, which is the consequence of operating in the flesh breaking God’s law (Romans 7:21-8:8), we can easily confuse his message. When we compare all of Paul’s writings we get a clear message he, like Jesus, was against sin, which the Apostle John defined as being without God’s laws or breaking God’s laws (1 John 3:4).

Likewise, both Paul and Jesus were ardently against misusing or twisting God’s law for man’s own purposes or even worse, teaching people to obey their laws or their doctrines verses God’s law (see Mark 7 as an example). Rather, Paul takes significant amount of time throughout his writings imploring people to take advantage of the Holy Spirit in the sense of now being able with His Spirit of Holiness’ help to obey God’s eternal, holy laws producing eternal, holy fruit (Romans 8; Galatians 6; Ezekiel 11:19-21; 36:27; Matthew 7). He also chides those who are obeying God’s laws with impure motives such as:

1) Striving to obey God’s laws in order to be saved thinking they can save themselves dismissing the point of the cross (Acts 15:1; Romans 4:14; Galatians 3:6, 5:4)

2) Elevating (pagan or their own) traditions, customs, and doctrines above God’s law is wrong (Gal.4:8-20; Colossians 2; Mark 7);

3) Obeying God’s law as motive to simply fit in or to be accepted in certain circles is also wrong (Gal.2:11-14; 6:11-15) verses obeying them out of a grateful circumcised heart being apart of God’s family, while elaborating the once pagan, lawless Gentiles, but now believers in Jesus/Yeshua, are no longer considered unclean or being without God’s law/lawless for in God’s eyes both believing Jew and Gentile are one in the same upon believing in Jesus as God’s natural and adopted children and both are expected to learn and adopt the household’s instructions of Abba Father found in His Torah/law little by little as the Holy Spirit leads and having different classes of people needs to cease (Acts 10; Acts 15; Romans 2:28-29; 10:12-13; Romans 11; Galatians 3:28-29; Ephesians 2:11-19; 4:17-24; Revelation 12:17, 14:12, 22:14). Note: Did you know the Torah is known as the “tree of life”?

In fact, the Holy Spirit does a good job detailing God’s laws of love in the first half of Scriptures (Torah) while extracting the intent and sum of God’s laws in the New Testament.

Explaining the heart and nature of God’s laws is precisely what Jesus came to do (Matthew 5:14-19; 22:34-40) and will do again one fine day upon His rule and reign here on earth (Isaiah 2:3-4; Isaiah 51, 65-66; Micah 4; Zechariah 14) and He even raises the standard of God’s law revealing it is all about exposing the motives of one’s heart and encouraging true authentic love for God and one another (Matthew 7:21-32; 22:34-40; John 14-15).

Ponder This: Why would Paul (or Jesus) list and encourage people to fulfill God’s laws if they are done away with?

Moreover, when we demonstrate love we are fulfilling God’s law of love. Likewise, when we fulfill the law, we are being love!

Moreover, when we demonstrate love we are fulfilling God’s law of love. Likewise, when we fulfill the law, we are being love! This is why Jesus didn’t come to do away with His Father’s laws of love, for if He did so He could not be the sinless Messiah, but rather He came to pay the debt for breaking God’s laws, to teach us God’s motive in establishing them, and how they are in fact what God deems as loving Him and loving others. God’s laws are cultivating a culture of true love. Jesus both taught and obeyed God’s laws – He fulfilled them as we also are called to do. Because He first loved us, by demonstrating obedience to God’s laws of love, we will be inspired to love God and others in return out of a grateful, circumcised heart (1 John 4:19; 5:3).

So instead of viewing God’s laws of love as a fatal, hated virus we strive to avoid like the coronavirus, while attacking those who cheerfully obey God out of a grateful grace-filled heart, participating in precisely what Jesus warned would happen in the end-times detailed in Matthew 24:7-14, may we instead obey God’s laws letting our love for Him and others be contagious!

Lawless = Loveless/cold whereas Lawful=Love/warmth (see Matthew 24:12)

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

Coronavirus Repellant?

I have found it concerning and even alarming some Christians are pridefully quoting various verses such as “there is no fear in love” (I John 4:17-19), for example, out of context and rather attempting to use it as a magic charm to prevent the discomfort and potential spiritual growth of themselves or other believers. Conversely, I wrote an article (actually several) in recent days combating false teachings spreading on social media while using verses such as the one in 1 John 4:17-19, Psalm 91, and others. In Scripture, particularly the book of Jeremiah, we see more issues would befall the nation of Israel, for example, because of false prophets rising up saying similar things promising peace and security rather than repentance and obedience. It would be wise for more ministries/Christians to write or speak about that on social media then using God’s word as a magic charm to avoid tribulation and trials such as these.

For example, some are quoting 1 John 4:17-19 famous verse which in part says “there is no fear in love” ignoring the context of that phrase.The entire book of 1st John describes true love as obeying God’s commands. The author reiterates over and over again that you can distinguish those who are authentic believers abiding in God verses those who aren’t by who is and isn’t cheerfully, willfully obeying God’s laws, which ultimately defines how to love God and others (to list a few: 1 John 3:4, 7, 10, 22, 24, 4:12, 20, 21; 5:3). In fact, 1 John 3:4 defines sin as breaking God’s laws or being without God’s laws (rebellion). So by the time the author arrives up to the verses being commonly quoted during this pandemic in 1 John 4:17-19, it is understood that believers do not have to be afraid of God’s judgment because they are operating in perfect love by being living sacrifices laying down their flesh to a lifestyle of loving obedience to God’s commands, which ultimately is loving God and others. This is why we don’t have to fear. It has nothing to do with other circumstances and isn’t a misquoted magic charm to protect you from God’s discipline or judgment (unless of course, you are operating and led by His lawful Spirit of Holiness and being obedient as He brings you into more and more truth). Conversely, it would be more enlightening and productive to quote 1 John 3:22 in regards to this pandemic:

Furthermore, the verses to follow the misquoted passage of “There is no fear in love” defines love as obeying God’s commands and why we need not fear (see 1 John 5:3). We need not fear God’s judgment because we are obeying God’s commands, which are pretty easy and hopefully, most Christians are doing much of them without even thinking about it. If you aren’t obeying God, well then you are not being perfected in love and yes, you should fear very much (fear God).

Just something to ponder and dig into during these days of rest and reflection. Much love!

To study more on this subject, click the below link. https://flipflopfellowship.com/2020/03/17/false-teachings-spreading-fast-during-coronavirus/

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Seabbatical: Ki Tisa 🔼Coronavirus

Two interesting and timely points I observed in this past week’s #Torah portion found in Exodus 30:11-34:35…

#1 Cleanliness, particularly #washing hands and feet, was required to enter God’s prescence (Exo 30:17-21). Perhaps you could say “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Also, we know we are washed or made clean by God’s word (John 17:17) and our proverbial pure white wedding dress are our ‘righteous acts’ of obedience unto God’s word (Revelation 19:8).

It is believed this coronavirus as many other plagues may have come from contact or eating an ‘unclean’ animal (see Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14, Isaiah 65-66, Revelation 18:2). A consequence or result of disobeying God’s instructions is pestilence/plague/disease (Deut 28-30) that effects not just you, but your neighbor and in this case, the entire globe. Therefore, disobeying God’s instructions of right living is not loving God or your many global neighbors.

Interesting washing of hands is mentioned in this Bible passage and is being repeated in the news right now. Moreover, the germs on our hands are symbolic of the germs of our heart as Jesus shared in Mark 7.

#2 We are hearing much about “social distancing” to avoid catching and spreading this virus. Likewise, this Torah passage as many other Bible verses speak to being “set-apart” as those who claim to believe in the One True Living God (see 1 Corinthians 5:1-6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:11-7:1 as a couple of examples).

** Exodus 30:16 defines how others will know you are saved by grace. By being set apart in how you live differently from the world. God gave His commands as a means to be set-apart, holy, clean people, a light to the dark.**

Revelation 18:4 implores us to “Come out of her (proverbial Babylon/Egypt) lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues (diseases/coronavirus).” Notice this is right after mentioning unclean birds so clearly God’s commands of what defines clean vs unclean still apply then and now since it is a book all about the future and AFTER the cross. Also, Isaiah 65-66 define Jesus’ anger upon returning to find people eating swine and not honoring Sabbath…

Revelation describes the saints as those who believe in Jesus AND actually keep God’s commands to be set-apart (Revelation 12:17; 14:11; 19:8; 20:4). They are not merely hearers of the word, but doers as the Apostle James writes in James 1:22. What was the only word they had at the time? Torah.

But only the Spirit of Holiness can cause people to want to operate in a lifestyle of holiness (Ezekiel 11:19-21; 36:27; Romans 7:12) by obeying God’s instructions. Without the Spirit, people naturally will rebel against God’s Torah/instructions Paul explains in Romans 7 and 8. Hence, the point of receiving the Spirit of Holiness in the New Covenant to embed His Torah in our hearts causing us to want to obey. People, even those who believe but refuse to obey will continue being deceived by those who twist Paul’s words leading the naive to keep breaking God’s laws (2 Peter 3:14-18) following the lawless spirit of the AntiChrist rather than the lawful, Spirit of Christ, the Lawgiver Himself.

Recall the reptitive theme Jesus taught in Matthew 7 of real fruit of the Spirit is obedience motivated by an authentic love for God and His instructions. There were plenty of those who thought they were full of His Spirit. They laid hands on people, cast out demons, did miracles all in His Name, but they refused to obey Torah, His Father’s instructions, His eternal laws. So what was Jesus’ response? ‘Depart from me you who practice lawlessness’. To know God is to know and obey His instructions on how to be set-apart…how God defines love and relationship (1 John 5:3..really all of 1 John is a must read).

Consequently, we will continue to experience diseases and far worse outcomes because our hearts refuse to repent and be truly led by the Spirit of Cleanliness, the Holy Spirit. All of this is designed to ‘Reveal and Heal’ the condition of our unclean, diseased hearts. What manifests physically is only revealing the spiritual or unseen.

Eventually, all the viruses/plagues, earthquakes, tsunamis, major hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, etc etc reveal our need for Yeshua/Jesus and cry out for His return (Luke 21). When He does return, He implements and teaches the remaining world His Torah as it was intended and pours out His Spirit of Holiness (Isaiah 2; Micah 4; Zechariah 14; Jeremiah 31;Ezekiel 36-37).

Ezekiel 14:13 says if a land (any land) persistently rebels or is unfaithful to God’s commands, He inflicts His judgments of disease, war, death, famine, etc as a means of discipline..an awakening. So what can we do? Very simple: His Spirit says if My people humble themselves, repent, and return unto all of His word not just what sounds
comfortable and convenient, He will forgive us and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Today is a National Day of Prayer…aka Repentance.