Couch potato Christianity

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, taken from the narratives of the Holy Bible, Jehovah God gives His people the Ten Commandments, literally written on stone. These sacred precepts and tenets are God’s wise strategy for saving humankind from sin and evil.

Next, Jesus is sent to earth and simplifies the Ten Commandments into two. All God’s laws hang on two chief principles because one cannot truly love God and love the neighbor without obeying all ten laws.

Then Paul comes along and changes the whole moral trajectory of salvation, which renders God’s commandments null and void. Let me correct myself. Some of Paul’s words were interpreted by theologians in a way that has led to a change in the moral direction of salvation. The passage in Paul to the Romans (3:28), is the main culprit for this theological misstep:

“Man is justified by faith alone without the works of the law.”

Theologian Emanuel Swedenborg skillfully points out that what Paul meant by “law” was not the Commandments but the specific Mosaic law meant only for the Jews – such as the law of the meal offering or the law of the red heifer. As evidence for this Swedenborg claims this is the reason Paul rebukes Peter for Judaising and belonging to the “circumcision group.” (Galatians 2:12)

Then, Swedenborg offers three more passages that show Paul believed that salvation was not through faith alone but that the Law and its works should be followed:

“For not the bearers of the law are justified by God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Romans 3:13)

“God will render every man according to his deeds.” (Romans 2:6)

“We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether they be good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

But instead of “doing good” and following the law of God’s commandments, a new theory of salvation has popped up among certain Christian traditions. Instead of getting off one’s ass (and out of the easy chair) an individual can find salvation and appropriate God’s mercy merely by “believing” that Jesus is our savior and that His death on the cross “wiped clean” our personal misdeeds. This faulty doctrine inseminates the erroneous idea that Christians are excused from bad behavior.

I have to admit that this is an attractive strategy for our postmodern culture, which seeks instant gratification. It is a lazy man’s approach to gaining access to the kingdom of heaven. But it is a counterfeit theology. God’s kingdom is a kingdom of LOVE and spiritual service. Heaven is not a vacation destination or a reward for an “elect.”

This is why the Lord said that “If you want to enter life obey the commandments,” (Matthew 19:17) and that “Loving God with all your heart” and “loving your neighbor as yourself” were the commandments on which all the Law and the Prophets hang.

For anyone who still has doubts about Paul’s recognition of the importance love and good works in fulfilling the law I leave you with just two more biblical passages:

“Love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Charity worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore charity is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8,9,10)

A person cannot truly love from the principle of innocence without asking for the Lord’s divine help in following all the commandments and removal of harmful compulsions. And lastly, proof of Paul’s own conviction that love trumps faith!

“Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

The Second Coming will clear out all false doctrines, which have taken on the proportions of a Great Red Dragon!

http://www.staircasepress.com

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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4 Responses to Couch potato Christianity

  1. benmaulis says:

    According to this doctrine, what is the weeping and gnashing of teeth that Jesus talked about?

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear benmaulis,

    The words “weeping” and “gnashing of teeth” are symbolic of the grief those will face who challenge and fight against God’s Truth from false principles. While “weeping” is easily understood as “grief,” the gnashing of teeth needs a bit more explanation to arrive at its proper symbolism.

    The upper teeth of the jaw represent God’s immovable and “higher” truths, while the teeth of the lower jaw represent an individual’s subjective and false belief-system (because humans only move their lower jaw). The gnashing of teeth signifies the friction, grinding, and angry battle between a person’s belief-system and God’s eternal truths.

    If you doubt that such symbolic language was being used by the Lord, simply be reminded that Scripture states that Jesus spoke “only in parable.” This symbolic language is called CORRESPONDENCE and I have given many other examples of its use in Scripture throughout this blog.

    Thank you for the question!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  3. benmaulis says:

    I suppose you also have an explanation for what it means that Jesus will be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

  4. thegodguy says:

    Dear benmaulis,

    You seem to be hinting at Revelation and the “end days.” I suspect that up to now you have taken everything in Scripture literally. But that presents problems for those believers who think of God as Infinite love. The Lord’s weapon is Truth. Therefore, if you read a passage that describes the Lord with a “sword sticking out of His mouth” it signifies divine truth forged into a doctrine to combat evil and falsity.

    The Second Coming in fact is an opening of the mind (revelation) to the higher spiritual meanings contained with the literal words of the biblical narratives. But if you insist that the Second Coming is a physical event you will have to stay on your toes during overcast days – for the Lord will “come with the clouds.” Don’t worry your brain that “clouds” represent humankind’s mental obscurity in doctrinal matters, particularly that which is derived from the Holy Word.

    I know many traditional Christians who admit that Revelation is full of symbolic
    images and language. The knowledge of correspondences provides the key to interpreting this heavenly language.

    Again, thank you for your interest.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

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