14 Feb 2006

Are New Testament commands the Lord's to-do list?

Submitted by theshovel
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The below set of questions was forwarded to me. Ken writes: "Could you please read her questions below and share what you think would be helpful?"

But didn't Jesus say we are to live by e-v-e-r-y word that came from God's mouth? Not just those grace passages. Tell me, when is a direct statement in the New Testament NOT to be considered God's will for us Christians? Since the Holy Spirit inspired the NT writings, isn't each statement in the gospels and letters actually THE will of God for each Christian, at all times ? For lack of a better word, why not consider those "directives" as New Testament commands for us? Aren't they the Lord's "to do" list for us today? Anonymous

Hello Ken,

Here's the verse in question:

But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" Matthew 4:4

It seems your friend has grossly misread what Jesus actually said, but it is a common mis-perception based upon a mind of legal expectations. For it is not upon every word that PROCEEDED or CAME out of God's mouth ... but every word that PROCEEDS or COMES from God's mouth. A big, a huge, a colossal difference!

Now, as the son of man, Jesus lived according to what he quoted. He could do nothing other. However, it was not the words of God that had been written on stone that Jesus lived by, for the dead letter did nothing for him. In fact, the Pharisees were often offended by his flagrant disregard of what they had considered "Every word that CAME out of the mouth of God".

Jesus himself saw his father's doings and did what he did; he heard his voice and spoke his words. He lived by every word that was coming out of the mouth of his father.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. John 5:19-30

Notice how totally contrary this description stands against that legal definition of "the will of God". Jesus lived because of the father, he did according to the father's doing, He heard his father's voice and lived according to it, though to the legal, religious perception of living by words that have been recorded.

We do not live by grace passages or by any particular verses of the Bible, whether in the old or in the new testament writings. We live by him who has made us alive together in Christ. Those who desire to use the NT writings, even those "good" ones, as the Lord's "to do" list can knock themselves out in the process. Perhaps then it will become obvious. :)

Jim

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Superb! Adam

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