BY WHAT AUTHORITY? – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN
I don’t usually start an article with a scripture, but this one will. It’s found both in the book of Jeremiah and in Hebrews. When something like this happens, it is generally thought to be of special significance. A well-known example is Joel 2:28,32 being repeated by Peter in Acts 2:17-21. The Messianic prophesy of Joel is said by Peter to be fulfilled in Jesus. Fine.
But what about Jeremiah 31:33-34 being repeated in Hebrews 10:15-17? I wish Paul would have said it, but if you believe Paul wrote Hebrews, then he did say it, Regardless, here it is, and as you read it, note the author said the “Holy Spirit said it, rather than Jeremiah. That seems to me to add force to it in the writer’s eyes. To save space, I’m using the narrative form rather than the poetic form in which it is written.
“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says, ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds’
“Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’”
For some reason the writer omits after, “on their hearts.” “I will be their God and they shall be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord.’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the Lord.”
It would seem to me that if Jeremiah had the authority to say those words for God, the words should be included in understanding what the Hebrew writer said were the words of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s ask some questions. Where did Paul get the authority (Thus saith the Lord) to say circumcision was no longer the law?
Circumcision was part of the law of Moses. Lev. 12:1,2. It was seen as a covenant between God and his people from Abraham’s time forward. It was still seen that way in the time of Jesus. According to Luke, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day. Lk. 2:21. Jesus makes no comment about circumcision pro or con, except in John 7 where the subject is what can and can’t be done on the Sabbath.
In reading Paul’s letters, especially the letter to the Galatians, it is obvious that it was considered a law of God. At what point, and how, did Paul conclude he could declare it no longer the will of God?
The answer can be seen in such passages as Galatians 2:15. “We who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” It is interesting that he says, “We who are jews by birth… know…” Some Jews seemed to debate that.
As to how Paul reached that point, some might say he was directly taught by Jesus, due to Gal.1:11,12. However, Paul, at times, such as 1 Cor.7:12& 25; II Cor. 8:8-10, uses words like, “To the rest I say this..I, not the Lord. “ “I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.”
“And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter.”
Before commenting on that, consider
the event when Peter was being prepared to go to see Cornelius, a gentile, and we would assume uncircumcised. In the vision he sees a sheet filled with unclean meat. He is told to eat some of it. He refuses, as the Law demanded. As he thinks about this he is told Cornelius wants to see him. When he arrives he has reached the conclusion that the sheet and its contents represented people. And even though he says “It is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him,” he is there.
Cornelius tells of his vision, and from that Peter concludes, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34 He reaches this conclusion before the Holy Spirit made an appearance.
I think this is what Paul was talking about when he said, “But we have the mind of Christ” I Cor. 2:16b
To know the mind (teaching) of Jesus about God’s love, grace and compassion (written on our hearts) helps us to deal as Jesus would with those issues which do not have a (“Thus saith the Lord”).
It means that we do our best to bring the mind of Christ into every situation where understanding and love is needed. It means knowing Jesus’ mind well enough to step outside the accepted understanding, even of scripture. We know there has been a history of using scripture in a way that excludes people from the love and acceptance of God. Racial issues such as integration, interracial marriage, slavery, and the value of women in all areas of service and work, to name a few.
CONCERNS: Del Bolin’s brother, Doug, has had a stroke. He is stable and improving rapidly. Gary Overstreet fell on Tuesday and is in RMH room 786. Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, is making slow recovery from a stroke. Others recovering are the Phlegar’s grand niece following a bone marrow transplant; the Radford student Del Bolin knows who was injured in a car wreck. Judy (Shivers) Edwards (stroke) and her sister, Ann. (broken leg); Melisha Scruggs co-worker whose child has serious health issues. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Tolly Nicklas, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and DarneBarns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 8-13
Monday: Isaiah 6:1-13
Tuesday: Matthew 13:1-23
Wednesday: John 6:1-15
Thursday: Luke 15:11-32
Friday: Genesis 39:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 66:1-20
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 15-20
Monday: Hebrews 4:14 -5:10
Tuesday: Matthew 5:17-48
Wednesday: Genesis 1:1-31
Thursday: II Samuel 12:1-15
Friday: Ephesians 6:10-20
Saturday: Psalm 104:1-35
The Banquet for our graduates will be held on Super Sunday evening, May 21st in the annex at 6:00. Those being honored from High School are Jack Thompson and Mary Willa Foy, (Hidden Valley) Brock McRoy, (William Byrd) Hailee McRoy, (Franklin County) From collage, Garrett Williams, (Virginia Western) and Nick Bolin from Virginia Tech. Nick will be entering graduate school at Tech as well.
As summer approaches more of our church family will be traveling. Susan Jordan will be away most weekends until July. Mile and Karen Branch will be away every weekend of this month. Megan and James Downing will be gone for a week, starting yesterday. Let us know if you are going to be away.
We are anxious to hear about Mike Branch’s humanitarian trip to the Sudan. However, because he will be gone most of the month, he will tell us about it on Super Sunday in June
Susan Jordan tells us that this year Lyn will be able to go with her when she serves at the Ezell Clinic. They will go in August.
IN THE NEWS
If you receive the local paper, you may have noticed a front page article about a young woman graduate from the Carilion/Virginia Tech Medical School who is specializing in a certain area of research. She was among the graduating students who attended a banquet held here in our annex. A week or so age. This outreach to the medical school was developed by Martha Albert and aided by several of the congregation who brought food and helped serve. Among the group was also Andy Plaster and his wife.
Afterwards one of the instructor/ doctors thanked us for the warm atmosphere of the room as well as the reception all of those who provided and served the food. Thanks to all who made this successful.