Certainly, one of the things I love the most. And what less should. It is debating biblical questions in discussions that will lead nowhere and no growth of my faith.
After the last debate, however, at the moment I was asking God’s forgiveness for not knowing how to keep silent. I felt He speak in my heart the passage of 1 Sm. 17: 7. Where it is said that the Lord does not see as men see. But it does look at the heart.
The word used in the Hebrew manuscript for the term “heart” is “lebab”. That carries different meanings. Among them, the soul, knowledge, reason, moral character, desires, intentions, etc.
Which means that when God says to see the heart of man, it means that He is seeing an infinity of things so that there is a holy approval.
We know we are considered approved before the Father by the blood of Jesus Christ. But this does not detract from our obligation to be in constant internal renewal. Aligned to the standards of holiness of the Kingdom so that we can present ourselves as approved workers (2 Tm. 2:15).
Rom 12: 2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”.
Enough of ceremony!
There are some things that have bothered me so much in Christian circles. Among them, the excess of ceremonies, jargon and “recipes” that have been placed as necessary ways to draw near to God.
I am not saying that traditions are not important. But I wonder all the time about what Jesus would do at such a time in earthly life.
The four gospels cite very clearly the struggles of Jesus with the Pharisees and teachers of the law. These people lived to the letter the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament but they did it only of an external and apparent way. So, on the outside, they were respected by the people for declaring themselves holy through their actions. But inside, in their heart, they did not have their moral character and soul aligned with the sovereign will of God.
In the following verse, we have one of the strongest statements of Jesus warning about the danger of religiosity:
Mt 15: 8 “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (9) They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’
Unfortunately today, within many churches, there are countless Christians living in the same way as the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. This is unfortunate. They are people who make holiness somewhat selective. They care more about clothing, personal presentation, and about fixing the social morals of others than cleaning up the mess of the place where the Lord has his eyes turned. One does not look at the biblical fact that it is necessary to pull the wooden beams out of one’s eyes before removing the speck from the other’s eye (Mt 7: 3).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes it clear that actions are only a reflection of sin that already begins in the heart of man, for example, in the passage he says about adultery:
Mt 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ (28) But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
It does not seem to make sense that people still live today in a manner similar to the Pharisees when we read the Bible. And really, it does not make sense to live that way, but unfortunately man errs in simple things for lack of knowledge of the Word of God (Mt 22:29).
Live in holiness
To be holy, to be separated from sin and to live in holiness is to keep away from things that go against God’s will. To live in holiness, then, is nothing but separate living for the Lord!
In the Old Testament, there were rules and ceremonies, circumcision. This process involved making a mark on the flesh of men. It showed that the one who was marked was part of God’s chosen people to be holy.
With the sacrifice of Jesus and the abolition of ceremonial laws, circumcision became useless, since the mark that matters to God is done internally.
Rm 2:29 “circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God”.
From the moment a decision is made and within the individual a mark is made through the declaration of the lordship of Jesus Christ in his life. A process of mind renewal begins (Rm 12: 2). That causes a change that begins with the moral character, and passes through reason, passions and motivations. Then this begins to reflect externally. It is at this moment that people begin to see Jesus through their lives. Change happens from the inside out.
May the grace and the perfect mark of our Lord Jesus Christ be in the hearts of all the brethren, amen!
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