2 Corinthians 5:21: “For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!”

The human spirit is unfettered and free. Try to subjugate humans, eventually they will shake off the shackles and move on. That is why all dictatorships have an expiration date. I call dictatorship “Law on steroids”. In a dictatorship the dictator is the Law. Everything he or she says is to be followed. Discussions or different viewpoints are strongly discouraged; agreeing to disagree is not an option. There is no free press, there is no free thinking; consequently, there is no room for creativity, spontaneity and ingenuity.

Dictatorships are not meant to be. People were created by God to be free.

Initially we were created free from the Law. Then there was this tree that we were not supposed to touch, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yeah, that tree! I call that tree “The Tree of the do’s and don’ts” – in other words – it’s the tree of the Law. God never wanted us to go down that road because He knew we would get lost in the Law. And so it happened! We ate from that Tree and we have never been the same; we became strangers to God, strangers to freedom.

Meanwhile, God has never abandoned us. He helped us out. He worked with us. He even gave us the Ten Commandments so that we could see firsthand that even the best of all laws with the best of intentions cannot bring peace to the world or to the human soul.

We have learnt the hard way. So when we learnt our lesson, God sent His Son to restore us back to the way things used to be, which is the life we can’t remember anymore – the life we had before we touched that Tree. So in a passage of rites, Jesus lets Himself get nailed by the Law, completely and utterly nailed – as in nailed to the tree – and dies – which is all the Law can do. There is no life in the Law.

The Law will outlive its usefulness. The age of the Law has expired with the arrival of the Son of God. Jesus’s death and subsequent resurrection started a whole new era; Jesus brought us the Kingdom of God, which is goodness on steroids – God’s goodness poured into us. We don’t become good by not sinning but by accepting Jesus’s wonderful gift. Plain and simple! Unless of course we don’t want it plain and simple, which puts us right back under that Tree.

I am a tree huger. I love trees, but I certainly don’t like the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree has brought us nothing but grief! However, I realize, old habits die hard, and there are die-hard fans of the Law out there. They emerge anywhere regardless of nationality. They especially emerge in various religious pursuits. I strongly discourage this approach. Religious doctrine is not what Jesus had in mind for us. He came to save us from the Law and all its repercussions. He came to free us – and indeed He did.

Let freedom ring!

Oh, freedom, Oh, freedom
Oh freedom over me
And before I’d be a slave
I’d be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free

Deuteronomy 30:16: “For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways.”

This is a picture of my husband serenading me as we were camping at Yosemite in California.  We’ve been married for more than a decade now. Time flies! Bill loves to think about stuff when he showers. He calls them his shower moments. He comes up with song ideas or a genius solution to a nagging problem. The other day another light bulb went off in his head and he shared it with me:

“Law without love is slavery. Love without law is still love.”

What he says makes perfect sense considering that there was no law at the beginning of mankind, but there always was and has been – love. I believe everything that came into being was conceived out of love because our Creator loves His creation. Deprived of love, we all die. Love is why we breathe.

Love preceded the law; people came first and the law came later – almost like an afterthought, so it seems. Nevertheless, God gave us a conscience.  It is common sense that stealing is harmful to human society. It’s no rocket science to figure out that cheating on your spouse will hurt any marriage relationship.  It is obvious that no one can replace the person who was just killed.  So, without being spelled out – the law has always been in place, and love is the key to obeying all these laws.  Apply love to the law, and the Ten Commandments look something like this:

Love has no other God but the Lord; Love does not idolize; Love does not abuse the Lord’s name; Love observes the Sabbath rest; Love honors the parents; Love does not kill; Love does not pursue sexual relations outside of marriage; Love does not steal; Love does not lie; Love does not covet.

Love – and we are home free. Isn’t that the truth? Bill would say: “Yepper doodle!” Here’s to you, Bill! Here’s to Love!

“And even though we ain’t got money. I’m so in love with you, Honey
And everything will bring a chain of love” Kenny Loggins

Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

A self-loathing, dissatisfied, angry individual is like a ticking time bomb. Any given opportunity, and the bomb will explode into a frenzy of criminal activity. Ironically, the law applied in those situations does not make the individual any better. Incarcerated, this person has not changed. It’s still the same self-loathing, dissatisfied and angry individual. The high percentage of recommitting crimes after incarceration speaks for itself.

Paul is writing about people who underwent a spiritual makeover and show all the telltale signs of joy, gentleness, kindness, and love coming out of their pores. No law needs to be applied in their case because to love is no crime. What this tells me is that God’s kingdom essentially does away with the law. Law becomes useless when it does not need to be applied. Indeed, God’s kingdom does not rely on the law. God’s kingdom entirely runs on God’s Spirit.

We all need a spiritual makeover to be part of God’s kingdom. We’ve got issues, and our hearts are clouded to various degrees. God’s Spirit unveils God’s beauty to us and based on our consent we are able to unburden our hearts and start the healing process in a moment’s notice.

Join the movement that goes around the globe! I dare say that people from all tribes and nations have been touched by God’s Spirit in some shape or form. The Holy Spirit is working tirelessly 24/7 to add individuals to the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God stretches worldwide, starts in the here and now and goes on in perpetuity.

Posted in Law

Deuteronomy 6:4-6: “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.”

A way of internalizing God’s beauty is to learn the law of God by heart – and it will take time to learn 613 commandments as recorded in the first five books of the Bible – however, I believe there’s a method to the madness: by delving into God’s laws we get to know the heart of God. If the sanctuary with all its imagery depicting Jesus is God’s love letter to His Son, then the law could be God’s love letter to His people. It’s the priest’s law spelling out how to minister to people; it’s the people’s law encouraging social justice, exposing moral depravity and designing a way to rid ourselves from it; and most of all, it’s God’s law of devotion encouraging us to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, which is why the love command is the centerpiece of it all: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”

“Love command” sounds a bit odd in our ears, and I believe it is! Everybody knows that issuing a command to love someone will not result in love at all. So from the start it becomes obvious that the body of laws penned down in the Torah is not meant to be obeyed but lived and breathed. It’s a gross misunderstanding of the whole Bible to think this is essentially a rule book, and by obeying such rules we pave our way to heaven. The Bible is a testimony of God’s love relationship to humans. It’s meant to encourage and invite all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve back to the Garden of Eden.

Ever since the incident in the Garden of Eden a lot of time has passed.  One might say an estrangement occurred between the two parties – God and mankind – and rightly so.  I believe that the Torah was written in stone for a reason: to counteract this estrangement by carving some of God’s personality traits into stone. All His character traits flow into one pool and come under one common denominator: He is holy. And anything coming near Him either wants to become part of Him and become holy or stay apart from Him facing destruction, a phenomenon we also observe in our solar system; what goes on in the stellar core of the Sun is nuclear fusion, where hydrogen nucleus are merged under incredible pressure and temperature to form helium nucleus. Comparatively speaking, we either merge into God’s holiness and become part of His kingdom or we keep separate and get busted – not unlike hydrogen nucleus merges into helium nucleus and some elements are destroyed in the process while some are reformed to become part of the Sun’s energy. With all this imagery in mind I believe it is no accident that Moses encountered God in a burning bush – a bush that was burning, yet not consumed by fire. That’s what holiness is all about.  It’s the paradox of a life-altering (not destroying) fire.

Dealing with the phenomenon of God’s holiness Leviticus 21:12 says: “He [the priest] must not defile the sanctuary of his God by leaving it to attend to a dead person, for he has been made holy by the anointing oil of his God. I am the Lord.” Death and life are mutually exclusive. Death belongs in the destruction camp; life belongs in the holiness camp. Unfortunately, all of creation as we know it today is under the death grip, and death has profoundly damaged and altered our DNA.  Innocent nature has become corrupted. We see corruption raise its ugly head in sickness, disease, the deteriorating effects of aging, addictions, mental illness, selfish attitudes. And all of creation suffers as a result.

Leviticus 22:31-32 has the antidote: “You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord. Do not bring shame on my holy name, for I will display my holiness among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who makes you holy.”

We did not trust the Lord back in the Garden of Eden when we could taste and see His goodness in the unspoiled creation around us, when we walked with God in His garden.  Now  outside the garden, in the midst of the mess we’ve created, we are called to trust and wait on the Lord.  This is a circle that cannot be broken: because of lack of trust we lost Eden. And by way of trust we’ll be reintroduced back to Eden.

Psalm 37:5-6: “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.”

Posted in Law