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Carol Swenson
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A Higher Standard

When Jesus was asked, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" he replied, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind' - this is the great and foremost commandment, and there is a second like it, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'. The whole Law and Prophets hang on these two commands." (Mtt 22:37-40, Mrk 12:28-34).


Love and law are inseparably bound up together. The law of God comes from the love of God, and our love of God is expressed in obedience to his law.

Jesus was asked to name a commandment in the law which he considered to be the great commandment. He was not asked to name something which was greater than the law, stood outside of the law, or transcended the law. He was asked to name a commandment that was "in" the law.


We all know that when God redeems us from slavery to sin, he owns us and we become his slaves. We are freed from sin only to become slaves of God’s righteousness (Rom 6:15-23). However, to be God’s slave is to be free indeed, for God treats his slaves as his adopted children, and gives them the status of sons and heirs in his household (Rom 8:15-17).


Becoming enslaved to Christ, and out of wholehearted love placing ourselves under his law, we find true life and liberty. Jesus himself said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (Jhn 8:31-32, 14:6,15). What is "the truth" if not the law (teachings and commandments) of Christ, in which the great commandment is wholehearted love for God?


Now a slave, if given no better status than that of a slave, may serve his master faithfully, and may even love his master. But a slave who is given the status of a son and heir in his master’s household, will, out of overflowing gratitude, surely serve his master more faithfully and have a greater love for his master. This is what John had in mind when he said, "in this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atonement for our sins" (1Jn 4:8-10).


So we see in our third point, that when the Christian practices the greatest commandment, he does so with a special kind of love, a love better than that of a slave, a love of one who has been granted sonship.


The Greatest Love is Christ-like Love

We have been saying that the greatest commandment in the gospel or law of Christ, is one and the same as the greatest commandment in the old law. There is one important difference however, that we should notice before we close this lesson.


Jesus pointed out this difference when he said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (Jhn 13:34). This new commandment is the old second highest commandment in a new form (cf 1Jn 2:7-11).


The old commandment was, "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Mrk 12:31). Note the wording: the standard of one’s love for others is one’s love for oneself. In the new commandment, the standard is not your love for yourself but Christ’s love for you. The commandment to love others remains, but the standard attached to it is new and greater than before.

It stands to reason that if the second commandment has been modified by a new and higher standard, so has the first commandment. We love God not only with our own whole heart, but even better still, we love God with the heart of Christ. We love God even as Christ loved his Father.

So we see in our fourth and last point, that when the Christian practices the greatest commandment, he does so with a new standard of love, the love which Jesus Christ himself demonstrated while he was on earth among men.


(Simply Christians)

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Found in Him
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Just a simple thought that entered my mind when reading this post... Do children love because they are commanded to? The heart of a child is a beautiful thing!

Charles H. Spurgeon
(1834-1892)

"Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD." (Psalm 34:11)

Of Such Is the Kingdom of Heaven

Our Lord tells the disciples that the gospel sets up a kingdom. Was there ever a kingdom which had no children in it? How, then, could it grow? Jesus tells us that children are admitted into the kingdom; nay, not only that some few are here and there admitted into it, but, "of such is the kingdom of God." I am not inclined to get away from the plain sense of that expression, nor to suggest that He merely means that the kingdom consists of those who are like children. It is clear that He intended such children as those who were before him—babes and young children: "of such is the kingdom of God." There are children in all kingdoms, and there are children in Christ's kingdom; and I am not certain that John Newton was not right when he said that the majority of persons who are now in the kingdom of God are children. When I think of all the multitudes of babes that have died, who are now swarming in the streets of heaven, it does seem to me to be a blessed thought that albeit generation after generation of adults have passed away in unbelief and rebellion, yet enormous multitudes of children have gone streaming up to heaven, saved by the grace of God, through the death of Christ, to sing the high praises of the Lord for ever before the eternal throne. "Of such is the kingdom of heaven." They give tone and character to the kingdom; it is rather a kingdom of children than of men.

Our Lord tells us that the way of entering the kingdom is by receiving. "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." We do not enter into the kingdom of God by working out some deep problem and arriving at its solution; not by fetching something out of ourselves, but by receiving a secret something into us. We come into the kingdom by the kingdom's coming into us: it receives us by our receiving it. Now, if this entrance into the kingdom depended upon something to be fetched out of the human mind by study and deep thought, then very few children could ever enter it; but it depends upon something to be received, and therefore children may enter. Those children who are of years sufficient to sin, and to be saved by faith, have to listen to the gospel and to receive it by faith: and they can do this, God the Holy Spirit helping them. There is no doubt about it, because great numbers have done it. I will not say at what age children are first capable of receiving the knowledge of Christ, but it is much earlier than some fancy; and we have seen and known children who have given abundant evidence that they have received Christ and have believed in Him at a very early age. Some of them have died triumphantly, and others of them have lived, graciously, and some are here now, grown up to be men and women, who are honorable members of the church.

We know that infants enter the kingdom, for we are convinced that all of our race who die in infancy are included in the election of grace, and partake in the redemption wrought out by our Lord Jesus. Whatever some may think, the whole spirit and tone of the Word of God, as well as the nature of God Himself, lead us to believe that all who leave this world as babes are saved. Now, how do they receive the kingdom, for in the same way must we receive it? Certainly children do not receive it by birth or blood, for we are expressly told in John's gospel that the children of God are born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh. All privilege of descent is now abolished, and no babe enters into heaven because it was born of a pious father or mother, neither shall any be shut out because his progenitors were atheists or idolaters. My solemn persuasion is that the child of a Mohammedan, or a Papist, or a Buddhist, or a cannibal, dying in infancy, is as surely saved as the child of the Christian. Salvation by blood or birth there can be none, for the gospel dispensation does not admit of it: if saved, as we assuredly believe they are, infants must be saved simply according to the will and good pleasure of God, because He hath made them to be His own.

Children dying in infancy in China and Japan are as truly saved as those dying in England or Scotland. Babes of swarthy mothers, infants born in the kraal of the Hottentot or the wigwam of the Red Indian are alike saved, and therefore not saved by any outward rite, or by the mystic power of a priesthood. They are raised to the kingdom of heaven by the free and sovereign grace of God. How are they saved, then? By works? No, for they have never wrought any. By their natural innocence? No; for if that innocence could have admitted them to heaven, it must also have sufficed to save them from pain and death. If sin be not upon them in some form, how is it that they suffer? The imputed sin which makes them die prevents our believing that they claim heaven by right of innocence. They die because of Adam's fall. Sad consequences of their being born of fallen parents. Mark their appealing looks as the dear little ones look up in their suffering, as if they would fain ask why they must endure so much pain. We look at them with all the deeper grief because we cannot help them, and are made to reflect upon the mysterious union of the race in its fall and sorrow. The anguish of the dying little one is a proof of Adam's fall, and of its participation in the result thereof. The dear babes live again, however, because Jesus died and rose again, and they are in Him. They perish, as far as this life is concerned, for a sin which they did not commit: but they also live eternally through a righteousness in which they had no hand, even the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who hath redeemed them. We know little of the matter, but we suppose them to undergo regeneration ere they enter heaven: for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and to enter the spiritual world they must be born of the Spirit. But whatever is wrought in them, it is clear that they do not enter the kingdom by the force of intellect, or will, or merit, but as a matter of free grace, having no reference to anything that they have done or have felt. In that same manner you must pass into the kingdom entirely through free grace, and not at all by any power or merit of your own. You will enter heaven as fully by grace as if you had never lived a godly life, nor had practiced a single virtue.

Now we have to think of another sort of children; these who outlive the time of infancy and become children capable of actual sin, and of knowing Christ, and being converted. Many of these by faith enter the kingdom. Now, as these children receive the kingdom of heaven, so must we receive it. How do the children receive it? I answer, a child receives the gospel with humility, with simple faith, and with unworldliness. Children are not held up to us as an example in all things, for they have faults which we ought to avoid, but they are here praised in this point,—the way in which they receive the kingdom. How does a child receive it? First, with humility, He is humble enough to be without prejudice. Take a little child and tell him about Christ Jesus the Savior, and if God blesses the telling of the story of the cross, and he believes it, he receives it without having any wrong views and notions to battle with. Many a man goes to hear the gospel with the idea that Christ is merely human; he cannot get rid of that prejudice from his mind, and therefore he does not receive Christ Jesus the Lord. Another comes to hear the word with the recollection of all that he has heard and read of infidelity, heresy, and profanity: how can he profit till this is removed? Another comes with his mind stuffed with proud self-righteousness, with a belief in priestcraft, or with a reliance upon some form or ceremony. If we could get this lumber out of the soul, there would be some hope; but all this is a hindrance. Now, the dear child, as he listens to the story of the love of God in Christ Jesus, has none of these prejudices to spoil his hearing. Very likely he does not even know that such evils have been invented by man, and he is blessed in his ignorance. He will find out the evil soon enough; but for the present he humbly drinks in the word, and prays,—


"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look on me, a little child!
Pity my simplicity;
Suffer me to come to Thee."

Now, this deliverance from preconceived notions is what we greatly need. Just as your little boy or your little girl must believe, even so must you. There is only one way for the shepherd and the sage, the philosopher and the peasant. The little child receives Christ humbly, for he never dreams of merit or purchase. I do not recollect ever having met with a child who had to battle with self-righteousness in coming to Christ.

--------------------
~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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Carol Swenson
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Christian liberty is not a license to sin but an opportunity to serve.

This leads to a commandment: “By love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). The key word, of course, is love. The formula looks something like this:

liberty + love = service to others

liberty – love = license (slavery to sin)


The Holy Spirit within gives us the love that we need (Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:6, 22). Apparently the Galatian believers were lacking in this kind of love because they were “biting and devouring one another” and were in danger of destroying one another (Gal. 5:15). The picture here is of wild animals attacking each other. This in itself is proof that law cannot force people to get along with each other. No matter how many rules or standards a church may adopt, they are no guarantee of spirituality. Unless the Holy Spirit of God is permitted to fill hearts with His love, selfishness and competition will reign. Both extremes in the Galatian churches —the legalists and the libertines—were actually destroying the fellowship.

The Holy Spirit does not work in a vacuum. He uses the Word of God, prayer, worship, and the fellowship of believers to build us up in Christ. The believer who spends time daily in the Word and prayer, and who yields to the Spirit’s working, is going to enjoy liberty and will help build up the church. Read 2 Corinthians 3 for Paul’s explanation of the difference between a spiritual ministry of grace and a carnal ministry of Law.

(Wiersbe)

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Found in Him
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The born again child of God desires to do what pleases The Father. He does not desire to look for opportunity to sin or use his liberties to gain fleshly pleasure. Christ is the central desire and all in all of the born again child of God. The born again child of God does not get up in the morning and say "I have to obey today" but rather "I desire to be more like You Lord Jesus today!"

This is what I adore in young children. They desire to please their parents. They love unconditionally without being told to. They have clear/ clean consciences. They by far have the most beautiful hearts and minds to me!!

Praise be to The Lord our God who changes our desires and enables us to see Him as He truly is!!!

--------------------
~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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MentorsRiddle
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quote:
The born again child of God desires to do what pleases The Father
Good point, Found in Him.

Once the Sin Nature no longer has a dominating factor in your life, the God Nature guides the heart more.

--------------------
With you I rise,
In you I sleep,
kneeling down I kiss your feet,
Grace abounds upon me now,
I once was lost
but now I'm found.
The gift of God dwells within,
To this love I now give in.

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Carol Swenson
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My first post says the greatest love is Christ-like love. Found in Him, you seem to be saying that the love of a child is better.

Jesus wanted above all to please God, yet we know in Gethsemane He struggled. He did not DESIRE to go to the cross, but He OBEYED.

To say that we DESIRE to be more like Christ means that we DESIRE to OBEY God.

Matthew 26:39 (NLT) 39He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Matthew 7:21 (NLT) 21“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.

1 Peter 4:2 (NLT) 2You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.

The Galatians and Corinthians had a lot of problems, but Paul still considered them to be born again. They did not automatically DESIRE to do right, but Paul had to teach them.

We must read and obey the Word of God, not just go by what we DESIRE. To say that we DESIRE to be more like Christ means that we learn to OBEY with the help of the Holy Spirit.

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MentorsRiddle
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quote:
My first post says the greatest love is Christ-like love. Found in Him, you seem to be saying that the love of a child is better.

Carol, in Matthew 19:14 we read where Jesus said:
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

Perhaps Christ-like love, and child-like love are more similar than we think?

Just a thought, I'm trying to encourage the conversation.

--------------------
With you I rise,
In you I sleep,
kneeling down I kiss your feet,
Grace abounds upon me now,
I once was lost
but now I'm found.
The gift of God dwells within,
To this love I now give in.

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Carol Swenson
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He spoke of child-like FAITH.

I love children too.

But love is MORE than simple sweet joy and beauty and innocence. The love of Christ is self-sacrificing love.

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MentorsRiddle
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I agree 100% with you. You are absolutely correct.

Mainly what I am after in conversations on this board is to further my knowledge in the nature of ourselves and most importantly the nature of God.

I post my thoughts here to get feedback from you, my Christian Family.

So, if sometimes my posts seem contradictory to anyone’s views, it’s usually just my mind wandering down a road of thought and posting it here to see others opinions. [Big Grin]

God Bless

--------------------
With you I rise,
In you I sleep,
kneeling down I kiss your feet,
Grace abounds upon me now,
I once was lost
but now I'm found.
The gift of God dwells within,
To this love I now give in.

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Found in Him
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Carol writes... The love of Christ is self-sacrificing love....I say Absolutely!

Greater love has no man than this...that he lay down his life for his friends. Jesus displayed greater love in that He laid down His life for us. God The Father so loved us that He gave Jesus to us.

Jesus adored children and so do I...I see no wrong in admiring the heart of a child. Their unconditional love can speak volumes to us as adults. Jesus set us the example in how to love one another but Jesus Himself desired to lay down His life...desired to please the Father and desires that we desire Him above all else. That is where love is birthed. Love is birthed and poured out upon the brethren by Christ being the central desire, focus and purpose.

--------------------
~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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Carol Swenson
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"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (Jhn 13:34).

This is a commandment given to Christians. I love children too, but Christ-like love is different.

Christ being the central desire, focus and purpose of our life does not mean that every false doctrine that claims Him is acceptable. (The Family International, for example). And it does not mean that we ignore all the scriptures that teach us to obey Him as God.

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Found in Him
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I'm thinking that you are mad at me by now Sis Carol? Please don't be mad at me [Frown]

Jesus commands you to love me right?

ok.

I still love you.

[Confused]

--------------------
~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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Found in Him
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ok I understand that you are mad at me. Even though it makes me sad, I know that you will still love me because you are commanded to.

Sorry if Jesus is all I can speak about..I'm addicted to Him and He is all I see when I read the word, pray or talk about topics here on the BBS. I like it here on the BBS and I am probably still gonna inject Jesus wherever I possibly can. He is my milk and meat...oops, I did it again.

Have a better day? I pray that you will.

--------------------
~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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Found in Him
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I will go away now. But I will be back to see who is talking about Him later today. bye [Frown]

--------------------
~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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Carol Swenson
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quote:
Originally posted by MentorsRiddle:
I agree 100% with you. You are absolutely correct.

Mainly what I am after in conversations on this board is to further my knowledge in the nature of ourselves and most importantly the nature of God.

I post my thoughts here to get feedback from you, my Christian Family.

So, if sometimes my posts seem contradictory to anyone’s views, it’s usually just my mind wandering down a road of thought and posting it here to see others opinions. [Big Grin]

God Bless

IMHO this is a good thing. [Smile]

Sadly, you may notice from time to time that some people deliberately set out to provoke others over and over and over.

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MentorsRiddle
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quote:
Sadly, you may notice from time to time that some people deliberately set out to provoke others over and over and over.
I do notice behavior of people from time to time.

But, ironically, that is the very nature of people that fascinates me so.

We are all so different – so unique.

But I often wonder: If I had grown up in the exact same way as someone else, and had the exact experiences as someone else – would I be saying and doing the same exact same thing that person is?

I get upset with people so often – usually over trivial things that don’t really hold its just weight for the amount of anger I’m feeling. – But I get upset none the less.

We are all such beautiful creatures, such beautiful spirits within these bodies.

Carol, earlier you said
quote:
Christian liberty is not a license to sin but an opportunity to serve.
This is SOOO true.


Found in Him, you said:
quote:
This is what I adore in young children. They desire to please their parents. They love unconditionally without being told to. They have clear/ clean consciences.
Children ARE beautiful and wonderful – an absolute blessing.

But, children – like all humans – are born into sin, and thus are tainted by evil.

So they are indeed flawed in some way.

I’m not saying they won’t go to heaven if they die, but just that they are flawed and I do understand where Carol is coming from with what she is say.

Carol said:
quote:
But love is MORE than simple sweet joy and beauty and innocence. The love of Christ is self-sacrificing love.
This quote above is the MOST valid point: The love of Christ is self-sacrificing love.

A Child-Like love is NOT NOT NOT self-sacrificing love.

I have seen children countless times made decisions based purely out of selfishness… Thus revealing their sin nature.

Jesus Christ made his decisions out of pure love and no selfishness.

This argument alone proves Carol’s point.

--------------------
With you I rise,
In you I sleep,
kneeling down I kiss your feet,
Grace abounds upon me now,
I once was lost
but now I'm found.
The gift of God dwells within,
To this love I now give in.

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Found in Him
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well, I apologize if I provoked anyone. It certainly was not my intention [Frown]

and I'm not sure just what Family International is? I am a believing Jew. I am a member of The Church of God- Cleveland Tenn...Not that feel one denomination is above another, to me the ground is level at the foot of the cross.

I believe in the example that Jesus set as Greater love as The Highest Standard. I can only pray that I could ever love like Him and I do... It keeps me following right behind Him hanging on His every word though.

--------------------
~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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Carol Swenson
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I'm not mad at you. I am very, very glad you are not a member of the Family International (a cult).

Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly the Highest Standard, and I also pray to be more and more like Him each day.

Peace. Have a good day.

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Carol Swenson's article said
quote:
We all know that when God redeems us from slavery to sin, he owns us and we become his slaves.
We also become His adopted sons:

Galatians 4:5
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself.

Now it is true that sons in any family, and also in the Family of God, must be about the Father's business:

Luke 2:49
And He {Jesus} said to them, How is it that you sought Me? Didn't you know that I must be about my Father's business?

1 John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, but and it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

So the sons and daughters of a family, including of the Family of God, help out in the Family camp and household and business. We are much more than slaves.

If, however, as sons we act like slaves, it is only because of our utter dedication to what God has asked us to do in the Family camp, that we look like slaves. But we are faithful sons and daughters, if so be that we are faithful about the Father's business. Else we might really look like slaves.

love, Eden

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Carol Swenson
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My article did say that

quote:
However, to be God’s slave is to be free indeed, for God treats his slaves as his adopted children, and gives them the status of sons and heirs in his household (Rom 8:15-17).
Philippians 2 (NASB)

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


The New Testament contains over 175 names, descriptive titles, and figures of speech referring to Christians, including slaves and sons.

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Found in Him
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....He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

To save us from our sin and misery, God humbled Himself. The stages of His humiliation are grouped in different ways,God took five giant steps down.

First, He became a man. To you and me, humanity is a high privilege, for man is made in the Image of God and given dominion over the world. But for God, it is a low insult. To be the Image of God is less than being Divine. Yet the Lord’s human nature was not Divine, but human only.

Second, He became a man at the bottom. He was not born into a noble family, of a noble race, at a noble time. His family was poor and despised, His nation was enslaved, and His society was rotten to the core.

Third, He was born under the Law. The Law of God is good, but it is not easy. Starting with His circumcision at eight days old, the Law inflicted a great deal of pain. Some years later, a devout Jew called it a yoke on our necks, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. Yet bear it He must and bear it He would.

Fourth, He was subject to long and hard suffering. He grew up with parents who did not understand Him and with siblings who were ashamed of Him. When He came to manhood, He was driven into the wilderness to fast for forty days and to take all the malice Satan had been saving for Him since the Fall. His public ministry was full of contradiction, slander, and physical persecution. At the end, He was arrested and spat upon, beaten and mocked, crowned with thorns and nailed to a cross for everyone to see and ridicule.

Fifth, He died and was buried. For three days and nights, the Prince of Life lay in death. It was a death that demoralized His friends and called His every claim into doubt.

In one way, His humiliation is like other men’s, only worse. But, in fact, it is wholly unlike other men’s for the simple reason He had a choice. He could have said No to the embarrassments of becoming a man and living a man’s life. But He didn’t say No. He said Yes, and His Yes was not given with hesitation and doubt. It was eager Yes.

Lo I come, in the volume of the Book

It is written of Me,

I delight to do Your will, O God,

Yes, Your Law is within My heart.


That’s the Yes our Lord gave to His humiliation and to what came from it: our salvation. This is the One we remember at the Lord’s Table. The One who Being in the form of God… humbled Himself.

Now that's a Higher Standard!

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!

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~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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Carol Swenson
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Amen!
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