WHAT HOLDS THE BODY TOGETHER?

The Vitruvian Man (c. 1485) Accademia, Venice (from here)
The Vitruvian Man (c. 1485) Accademia, Venice (from here)

1 Corinthians 12 is a fascinating chapter in the Bible.  Here the great Apostle Paul describes how God equips us to spread the Gospel, what Christians must do when they come together and work in unity for the cause of Christ.

First the apostle gives us a sampling of the gifts God gives us through the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:7-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Then using the human body as an analogy, Paul describes our unity in the cause of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

But what holds the body together? In the 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes the greatest gift God gives us through the Holy Spirit, the gift of love. Love is what hold people — what bonds people — together in unity.

The Bible has much to say about love. Because it is so beautifully written, 1 Corinthians 13 is perhaps the most well known chapter in the Bible, and this chapter, following 1 Corinthians 12 , speaks of love, the love that holds together the body of Christ.  In this Age of Apostasy however, I fear we need to reflect upon of another passage.

Not enough of us strive to bring up our children in the Christian faith. Not enough Christians work to strengthen each others faith. We do not devote ourselves to the spread of the Gospel. We spend too little time in prayer and in the study of God’s Word. Have we forgotten that God is love, that He demands that we love each other?

1 John 4:7-21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

What hold the body together? Love. For God is love, and His love is the greatest of His gifts to us. Because He loves us, He demands that we love each other for love is also the greatest gift we can give to each other.

AMBUSHED AGAIN…..SIGH!

childrenI suppose I should know better than to post comments on some blogs.  Shrug.

To prove something or other (figure it out for yourself), violetwisp posted a fragment of a comment I made on her blog. See punishing children. I suppose I could comment in some detail, but I won’t bother. Mostly, I will just post a few comments from this post: breaking news: more bible translation errors discovered also at violetwisp.

Why not say more? When I read their comments at punishing children, it quickly became obvious that the people whose opinions I care about think violetwisp is being absurd.

So here is my reply. We make choices. Then we deal with the consequences, but some people grow up thinking they are exempt from suffering the consequences of their bad choices. Those people try to shift the consequences of their bad choices onto others. The enslavement of others is an extreme example of such behavior.

Children who receive proper discipline know that it is not right to make others suffer the consequences of their bad choices. That’s the basic difference between a responsible citizen and one who isn’t. The responsible citizen accepts personal responsibility. It also seems to be a big difference between the Modern Liberal and a Conservative. Hence that is probably why Modern Liberals and Conservatives divide so predictably on this issue.

Anyway, violetwisp has given me a good excuse to post some Bible verses.

To our modern ears, the Bible can make discipline sound harsh.

Proverbs 23:12-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 Apply your heart to instruction,
And your ears to words of knowledge.

13 Do not withhold correction from a child,
For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
14 You shall beat him with a rod,
And deliver his soul from hell.

Beating a child with a rod sounds awful, but consider the alternative.  The rod was for the child who would not listen.

Proverbs 29:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom,
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Moreover, the point of proverb is to encourage parents to save their children, not hurt them. The point is to get a child’s attention so they will listen.

When I was little, I was a rascal. My mother was a small woman.  Once she realized spanking me with her hand hurt her hand more than my butt, she began using a wooden brush.  Still, I was trouble and had an uncontrolled temper.  When I threw a toy gun (made with metal in those days) and hit another child, my father used his belt on my butt. After that, I finally began to understand the consequences of bad behavior.

Anyway (again), here is the first link (to my first comment in the thread) to the comments in the thread violet that violetwisp extracted a fragment of one of my comment on her post.

https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/breaking-news-more-bible-translation-errors-discovered/#comment-29948

Here is the full text of the comment that the fragment violetwisp quoted came from.

@violet

We are works in progress. We each have to deal with our problems as we best know how.

Did I discipline my children as well as I should have? No. I have a temper, and the ability of my eldest when she was two to set it off scared me. So I would have been stupid to wait until I was furious. Did that once. Did not hurt the kid, but I was thoroughly ashamed that I was about to lose it. It is important to be meek.

Just the same, when my wife was home alone with two kids, she had to do something with the older child or she could not take care of the new-born. She finally conceded the necessity of punishment (spanking was not something she liked either). Mostly she just stuck the two-year old in the backyard (fenced) until the child agreed to behave. Even with a shaded patio deck, Houston, TX can be quite uncomfortable without air-conditioning. Watching that stubborn, wilful little girl cry hurt my lady more than it did my eldest. Still, it worked.

There are spankings, and then there are very disagreeable alternatives that are just as punishing. Frankly, I prefer what my wife did, but it takes more patience, and the weather has to cooperate.

Why was the oldest misbehaving? Part of the reason is that she had lost her status as the center of mommy’s attention. So mommy included her as much as she could in taking care of her sister. Still, two-year old children will act up, and sometimes the “reason” for their bad behavior is they just want to do something they know they are not suppose to do. Even a two-year old child can be a control freak, and that kid was smart. She is an MD now. (from => https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/breaking-news-more-bible-translation-errors-discovered/#comment-30008)

Here is the first link in another thread on the same post that that also relates disciplining children.
https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/breaking-news-more-bible-translation-errors-discovered/#comment-29896

I suspect these two comments are the ones that most irked violetwisp.

  • “she disapproves of punishing children when they do wrong”
    Absolutely! It’s all about setting good examples and providing reasons for behaving in a socialised manner that takes other people’s feelings into consideration. Children aren’t ‘bad’, they’re just clueless about social norms until they’re sufficiently exposed to them, and they have some very basic needs (food, rest, comfort) that people tend to overlook before they launch into counter-productive disciplining. And this is one of the reasons I can never accept the Christian god in the Bible – the caricature of this omniscient being punishing its puny creation is disgusting.

    • @violet

      Well, you just gave away the game.

      It was never was anything about what insanitybytes22 actually said. It was about your perception, what you believe. It was about the fact Christianity offends you. Its mere existence offends you.

      I was that way once. The notion of God dying on a cross caused me to roll up my eyes. I could not understand the idea of original sin, that we are born with an affliction that only the love of God can cure. And the idea of a God with so much power…… What was little Tommy compared to Him?

      I have watch children grow. Brothers. A sister. My own. They are not entirely clueless. They waste no time learning the word “mine”. We are born with an insatiable pride. ME FIRST!

      Only love can quench a child’s pride, but first we must get a child’s attention. Without a bit a of mild punishment that’s next to impossible. With one child? Maybe. We can hold a child until it is willing to accept direction, if you have the time. With two or more? No way. Not even the most devoted stay at home mom or dad has that kind of time.

      If you love your kids, the choice between letting them run wild and smacking them on the bottom quickly becomes obvious. At least it does for people who raise their own kids.

I don’t think violetwisp liked my explanation of her attack oninsanitybytes22, not that I said anything that was not obvious to everyone from the start.

ALTERED REALITY NEWS FLASH: EMPRESS HILLARY CLINTON DENIES THE APOSTLE PAUL A VISA

Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657
Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657 (from here)

Today Empress Hillary Clinton issued an executive order directing her State Department to deny Christians entry into the dominions of the New World Empire. Sources say the application of a religious provocateur widely known as Apostle Paul for a visa to enter her domain prompted her to issue her executive order.  The State Department cited the apostle’s writings as grounds for the denial. The apostle is a high-ranking leader of a radical atheist cult that denounces the worship of the gods, discriminates against gays, denies women equal rights, and opposes infanticide for birth control.

The Apostle Paul, previously known as Saul of Tarsus, is a follower of the founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth. Pontius Pilate, Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea ordered Jesus crucified on March 29, 1991.  Christians claimed that Jesus rose from the dead on March 31, 1991. Christians cite his supposed resurrection as proof Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. Sensibly calling that claim blasphemy Paul joined with those Jews that both Jewish and Roman authorities directed to stamp out the seditious cult.

After relentlessly prosecuting Christians for several years, Paul claims he experienced a vision while traveling to Damascus, Syria.  Incredibly, Paul says  he saw Jesus in this vision. Immediately afterwards Paul says he spent three years in the Arabian desert. What he did there is unknown, but he apparently spent that time undergoing indoctrination in the Christian ideology.

Since his desert experience Paul has preached the seditious teachings of Jesus throughout southern Europe. Paul has mislead thousands of previously loyal citizens to adopt his atheistic Christian beliefs.

Because rumors abound that Christians drink human blood and eat human flesh, authorities have repeatedly investigated Christian churches for engaging unauthorized human sacrifices. Thus far authorities have not confirmed any of these rumors. Nevertheless, Christians make no secret of their refusal to worship the empress and the Roman gods, their opposition to the gay lifestyle and pederasty, and their insistence all women should dress and behave modestly, including those engaged in temple worship. Because of its implications for population control, the empress is especially concerned by their opposition to infanticide for birth control. She considers this a direct threat to the stability of the empire.  Therefore, the empress issued her  executive order.

WHAT QUALIFIES AS CHARITY AND WHO IS WORTHY OF OUR CHARITY?

The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants (1670) shows the Good Samaritan tending the injured man. (from here)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants (1670) shows the Good Samaritan tending the injured man. (from here)

The Parable

In WHO IS MORE INCONVENIENCED, THE DETAINED OR THE DEAD?, some of the commenters in the discussion that followed insisted that Jesus would insist that our Christian beliefs obligate us to let refugees of all sorts into the United States. One even cited The Parable of the Good Samaritan to support his argument. Let’s examine what Jesus expected.

When we think of being charitable to our neighbor, most Christians do in fact think of The Parable of the Good Samaritan. What is important is that when we read this parable we suddenly realize that everyone is our neighbor. There is no one God does not expect us to love.

Luke 10:25-37 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Why a good Samaritan? The Jews and the Samaritans were notorious for detesting each other. The Jews still attempted keep the law, but the Samaritans had fallen away and intermarried with non-Jews. Thus, Jesus contrasted the behavior of a couple of Jews who knew the law and disobeyed with a Samaritan whose conscience guided him to obey the law.

The Lesson

So what is the lesson of the parable? When we look around the world, we see seeming endless numbers of people suffering. What does this parable tell us to do about that? Well, if we draw the wrong conclusion from The Parable of the Good Samaritan, we can become hopeless. What can we do? How are we suppose to love all the people in the world as we love our self? That’s not possible. Which of us can solve all of our own problems? How are we suppose to relieve the entire world of all its suffering? We cannot.

With dreams of Utopia and out of guilt, many of us call upon government to end human suffering.  These think of the immense power of large numbers of people working together. They think that if we can just get everyone to work together we can solve all the world’s problems. That is, for the sake of fulfilling a dream they deify (or make an idol of) the government. That misses the point of the parable. With this parable, Jesus calls upon each of us, not bureaucrats in some government, to care about each other. When the good Samaritan came across someone in trouble, he gave from his own resources what help he could. Does anyone actually think God will admit us into heaven just because we paid our taxes?

So it is the early church organized charities. Here are some examples.

  • Act 6:1-7 describes the organization of the first charity to help widows.
  • 2 Corinthians 8-9 speaks of a collection for needy Christians in Jerusalem and exhorts the brethren to be cheerful givers.
  • 1 Timothy 5:3-16 provides the guidance the Apostle Paul gave a protegé, Timothy, as to how a church should support needy widows.

Consider again the lawyer’s question. “Who is my neighbor?” Does it make a difference that the man the good Samaritan helped was a stranger? Yes. So long as we remain in this life Jesus does not expect us to treat our husbands, our wives, our children, our relatives, our friends, and members of our community the same way we treat complete and total strangers. That was the amazing thing about the good Samaritan. He actually helped a stranger.

What We Owe The Stranger

Consider that good Samaritan. He had other business to attend to.  So he did not stay with the injured man.  Instead, he gave the innkeeper two denarii and left the stranger he had helped in someone else’s care. The good Samaritan had other obligations that had a higher priority than the personal care of a stranger. Still, he did what he could.

Because we are all the image bearers of our Creator in one sense we are all neighbors. Nevertheless, we each have greater obligations to family, friends, and the people in our community than we do to strangers. Since the word stranger occurs over a 100 times in the NKJV, we can safely say the Bible makes a clear distinction.

Leviticus 19:33-34 New King James Version (NKJV)

33 ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. 34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

That’s why the Bible calls upon us to allow the stranger who dwells among us to become one of us. Moreover, the Bible reminds us with some irony, to take care of our own.

Leviticus 25:35-38 New King James Version (NKJV)

35 ‘If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. 37 You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

Note, however, that when a stranger lived among the Jews, the Jews expected that stranger to conform to their customs. So over time that stranger became Jewish or he had to leave.

Strangers might receive sympathy, but they were not trusted.

Proverbs 11:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer,
But one who hates being surety is secure.

The Jews knew in fact that strangers could be especially dangerous.

Isaiah 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Your country is desolate,
Your cities are burned with fire;
Strangers devour your land in your presence;
And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.

Nevertheless, Jesus calls upon us to help even the stranger.

Matthew 25:37-40 New King James Version (NKJV)

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

How much should we sacrifice to help others? That’s a personal choice.

  • We have no right to sacrifice what belongs to others. We don’t starve our own to feed the hungry.  We don’t take the clothes off our children to clothe others. When we nurse the sick, we strive to avoid getting sick. When visit prisoners, we don’t stage jailbreaks. When we take in strangers, we don’t give up our own culture and beliefs or risk invasion and conquest.
  • Because we each belong to God, we have no business carelessly sacrificing our self. We must take care of our self so that we might serve as long as we can.

Other Views On The Parable of the Good Samaritan

  • The Good Samaritan (settledinheaven.wordpress.com): This post is a traditional verse-by-verse exegesis.  If you really want to dig into the parable, this is a great place to start.
  • What is the meaning of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (altruistico.wordpress.com): As its title suggest, this post seeks the meaning of the parable.  The focus here is on the concepts Jesus wants us to learn from the parable.
  • Go and do likewise (lifereference.wordpress.com): Here the author examines the last two verses from the parable, calling these lines the most fundamental of all of the teachings of Christ. Effectively, this is the minimum we must get out of the parable.
  • Love According to God-Part 1  (thei535project.wordpress.com): This post uses the The Parable of the Good Samaritan to emphasize God expects us to love everyone. This post fits the parable into the overall concept of Christian love.
  • Who Crosses Your Path? (secretplacesofelelyon.wordpress.com): This post explains how some can twist the parable into a guilt trip.
  • Syrian refugees and Christian values? (insanitybytes2.wordpress.com): This post deals most directly with the refugee issue. It also has the least to say about the parable, but it says more than enough to justify including it here.