There is a strong pull in our day to conform to some kind of cultural ideology; to get on board one kind of ship or another, and then bad-mouth anyone not on your ship.
The problem is this: all of the ships sailing around aren't good vessels. They may have a stripe of something good here and there, but they all lack, because they aren't built by the right manufacturer - and they sure ain't captained by the right people.
In order to judge right from wrong, you've got to have a standard, else you're just spouting your opinion. You can't just decide capital punishment is wrong or right by yourself. You can't just say we have to go to war with that nation or this nation, or that we need or don't need the government's help in schooling our children. People go round and round about matters as these, and you hear one opinion after another. One "solution" after another.
In order to make a decision about your marriage, or family, or job, or whatever... you've got to have some kind of blueprint to go by. Some say that blueprint is what you feel is best, but then comes along another person with a "what-they-feel-is-best" blueprint, that doesn't match yours.
Some people think the Democratic Party is the blueprint. Others think it's the GOP. Then you've got the Libertarians poking fun at both of them, while trying to build an industrial hemp plant.
The reason there is so much bickering is because most folks have somehow made the decision to NOT allow the Creator to make all the decisions. They've decided what He says might be alright sometimes, but when they run across something He says that they don't like, they run back to some other level (or un-level) measurement.
The other day my wife was showing me some amendments that people could vote on here in Georgia (our home state). As I read through each one of them, the only thing that crossed my mind is: what does the Creator say in His law? I've trained my mind to think like that. It's taken a while, but it helps to be a creature with a heart that's being written on by the Almighty Himself. He's helped me get to where I am today. I think like He thinks, because He has made me think like He thinks.
There was one amendment that was about alcohol sales on Sunday (before noon I think I was). I remember when you weren't able to buy alcohol on Sunday, and I get where that comes from here in the southern "Bible belt." But... the Creator doesn't say anything in His law about buying a 6-pack on Sunday. He doesn't forbid it, so that was an easy one for me to vote on. Plus I like to drink, so there's that. (In moderation of course... for all you people who think drinking means getting drunk.)
My point is that I have a standard, and that standard is the law of Yahweh, the Creator, and the author of the Torah, His instructions and guidance for humanity. I'm pro capital punishment, because He is. I'm anti-homosexual practice because He is. I'm pro helping widows and orphans and foreigners because He is. I really couldn't care less about what anyone else says. All other arguments are mute to me. You might as well talk to a telephone poll if you are trying to get me to okay something that He forbids, or to forbid something that He allows. I'm not listening. I'm closed minded.
It makes life easier to have such a standard. I'd argue that it's the only standard in the universe, but regardless... I have one. It's not me. It's not my feelings. It's not a political party. It's not a denomination. It's the holy law of the Creator of all things. He created us, so I let Him call the shots. I go by what He says.
What's your standard? What do you judge everything by? Why do you think the way you do? What makes something a sin to you? Why do you allow some practices and forbid others?
Everyone judges by something. I'd suggest making that something Yahweh's Law, else you'll always end up changing with the whims of the culture.
Back in 2003 I compiled a list of Biblical law that could be found in Exodus 20 to the end of Deuteronomy, but existed prior to the codification of the Torah upon Mount Sinai. I did this because I've met many bible-believers who think that the law only came about in Exodus 20 with the 10 commandments. It's been 12 years since I made this list so I could probably add to it now, but here is the list as I made it back in 2003. I just ran across it again today.
1. Sabbath = Genesis 2: 2-3/ Ex. 16
2. Offerings of flock = Genesis 4: 4
3. Offerings of fruit = Genesis 4:3
4. Clean and Unclean = Gen. 7:2/8:20
5. Offerings of worship = Gen. 8:20
6. Building altars = Gen. 12:8
7. No eating blood = Gen. 9:4
8. Capitol punishment (murder) = Gen. 9:5-6
9. Parental authority = Gen. 18:19
10. Against adultery = Gen. 39:9/34:7
11. Priesthood = Gen. 14:18
12. Tithing = Gen. 14:20/28:22
13. Circumcision = Gen. 17:9-10
14. Oath Taking = Gen. 21:23
15. Birthright = Gen. 25:33
16. Anointing with oil = Gen. 28:18
17. Obligation of vows = Gen. 28:20
18. Idolatry = Gen. 31:32,35
19. Uncleanness = Gen. 31:35
20. Raising seed = Gen. 38:8
When I read 1 John 5:3, I think of the Sabbath. That text tells me that His commandments are not a burden. I guess the reason I think about the Sabbath is because Sabbath means rest. To stop, an intermission, cease from work. What a gift that is.
Yeshua states this in his ministry in the form of "the Sabbath was made for man." I've heard that statement before by some in an attempt to abolish the 4th commandment. I can't for the life of me understand why someone would want to abolish a commandment that privileges us with rest, but go figure. In context, Yeshua meant that the Sabbath was made FOR man, in other words, to bless man. Man wasn't made to bless the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made to bless man.
The Sabbath can become a day in which you are scared silly to pick up your leg out of bed and put your foot on the floor. That is, if you treat it like a first-century Pharisee; if you view Yahweh as some kind of "big-thumbed-god" ready to squash you the instant you mess up in the least little manner. Yahweh is rather the merciful Mighty One, longsuffering, slow to anger, rich in love, and abundant in mercy. I took that last line from the Old Testament.
The Sabbath is a day to unwind, dedicated to Yahweh yes, but a day in which He gifts us with something we need: REST. We all work enough, some of us (including myself) too much. I'm thankful for His gift. I've been keeping a Sabbath now for 19 years. I don't ever want to stop. I love His rest.
References: Mark 2:27; Exodus 34:6-7; Exodus 20:8-11
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:26-27 HCSB)
1. The new heart relationship with Yahweh, will have a new heart relationship with His law - every single time.
2. The leading of the Holy Spirit is never contrary to the Holy Law.
3. The Holy Spirit is given to the house of Israel to cause them to obey the Holy law. Without the Spirit, it’s impossible.
4. Israelites do not possess the new heart, new spirit, or Yahweh's Spirit by nature. By nature they have hearts of stone. New hearts must be given to them.
5. Yahweh does not change or abrogate His law. He changes the stony hearts of His people to keep His law.
6. If Yahweh says, “I will make you clean,” then you will be made clean because it’s a supernatural work, not of man.
7. To try and separate the Spirit from the law is futile. The Spirit is given so that the law can be followed.
8. Good works are the effect of a cause placed in man, by Yahweh. Therefore He should get 100% of the credit.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.