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SM #17: Above & Beyond (Real Righteousness, Part 4)

Updated: Mar 24



For I tell you that unless your righteousness goes above and beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of the heavens. ~ JESUS (Matthew 5:20)


SUMMARY: Read this and skip the rest (if you want)


  • Real righteousness is right-relatedness, going beyond justice to compassion. Jesus' goal for his disciples in this life is not moral perfection but mercy perfection.

  • Real righteousness prioritizes those things that lead to reconciliation and restoration, like forgiveness, grace, mercy, and peace. We can pray for justice, but we work for mercy.

  • Ultimately, real righteousness begins in us as a gift from God. God justifies (meaning, righteousifies) the ungodly from the inside out.

  • The common protest "No Justice, No Peace" is secular. Jesus-followers say "No Mercy, No Peace".

  • Jesus teaches us to go "above and beyond" the letter of the law to find the love that motivates it. We follow love not law.

  • The way of law is appealing to many people because it is more black-and-white, more clear. The way of love is more messy, but it is worth the work of discernment done by us together.



CORE (The heart of the message):


Now Jesus drops the bomb: real righteousness is different than religious righteousness. Real righteousness is revolutionary in its love, mercy, peace, and compassion. The most religious people are no closer to his kingdom than the worst sinners, maybe even further away, if they are not living lives of love. Jesus leads us into a righteousness that goes above the law to find the love, and goes beyond justice to mercy.



CONTEXT (What’s going on before and after this passage):


This is the final in our four-part series to help us unpack Jesus’ main thesis in the Sermon on the Mount. After these verses Jesus goes on to provide six illustrations of the point he is making (called the six antitheses). So our understanding of this passage is will become clearer as we keep working our way through the rest of Matthew 5 in our next few studies.


[17] Do not think that I have come to cast down the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to cast them down but to fill them up. [18] For Amen I tell you, until the heavens and the earth pass away, not the smallest letter or even a part of a letter will pass away from the Law until everything comes into being. [19] Therefore anyone who loosens one of the least of these commands and teaches this to others will be called least in the kingdom of the heavens, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of the heavens. [20] For I tell you that unless your righteousness goes above and beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of the heavens. ~ JESUS (Matthew 5:17-20)


CONSIDER (Observations about the passage):


Righteousness. As discussed in an earlier study, “righteousness” is a different biblical word and idea than “justice”, even though the two are often confused, conflated, and equated by uninformed or linguistically sloppy Christians. Real righteousness is right-relatedness, which includes and even centralizes grace, mercy, and peace. Real righteousness is not sinlessness but wholeness, individually and relationally. For instance, according to Jesus, a righteous disciple would be someone who lives out the Sermon on the Mount, and a disciple who obeys the Sermon on the Mount to perfection will be someone who hungers and thirst for their own righteousness, prays daily for forgiveness of their own sin, deals with the plank in their own eye before helping a friend with their splinter, and who regularly grants non-judgemental mercy to others who sin so they themselves will receive mercy. For Jesus, the ethical goal for the Church is not moral perfection but mercy perfection (compare Matthew 5:48 with Luke 6:36). In fact, for Jesus, mercy IS moral, and to be unmerciful is to be immoral. Here as elsewhere, Jesus radicalizes our idea of righteousness. Radical righteousness goes above and beyond religious righteousness: above the law to love and beyond justice to mercy. The illustrations Jesus gives later in Matthew 5 will help us see that one can claim to keep the letter of the law and yet be guilty of breaking the spirit of the law. For instance, someone might claim to have avoided murder and adultery (“I’m better than King David!”), and yet still be a murderer and adulterer in their heart (“Whoops. Spoke too soon.”). Jesus drives this point home later in Matthew's Gospel when he says about the scribes and Pharisees: “You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean" (Matthew 23:25-26).


Above and beyond. The two Greek words used here mean a) “more than” or “greater than”, used to describe how something “greater than” the wisdom of Solomon is found in Jesus (Matthew 12:42), plus b) “surplus” or “over and above”, used to describe the “leftovers” from Jesus’ miraculous loaves and fishes lunches (Matthew 14:20; 15:37). The righteousness of Jesus people must be over and above, or above and beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees. This kind of righteousness is less concerned with sin avoidance (which is still important) and more focused on actively engaging the world around us with compassion. In the words of Anabaptist theologian Stanley Hauerwas in his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew: “The community that Jesus calls into existence cannot be determined by what it avoids.”


The scribes and Pharisees. The scribes were professional teachers of the law, sometimes called “lawyers” in older translations. They were the Torah scholars who had been in training since childhood. The Pharisees were a fundamentalist movement of “back to Bible basics” who wanted everyone to follow the Law of Moses meticulously. These two groups of Jewish religious leaders made up the best and brightest in Israel and were the most punctilious (I like that word) in keeping the law. And Jesus says, we need to be more righteous than them? In fact, later when rebuking the Pharisees, Jesus tells them that because they have not changed their hearts, even though they may keep the letter of the law in their lifestyles, they are still “lawless” (Matthew 23:28). For Jesus, the heart of the matter is always the human heart.


Certainly not. There are two different Greek words for “no” or “not” and Jesus (as recorded by Matthew) uses both here (translated as “certainly not” which flows better than “not not”). Unless our righteousness goes above and beyond the religious leaders, we will “no no, never never, uh uh uh” enter the kingdom of the heavens.


The kingdom of the heavens. Remember that for Jesus, the kingdom of the heavens is both an eternity with God AND heaven coming to earth right here and right now. Jesus is teaching us about more than eternal salvation after we die – he is teaching us about being in tune with his kingdom of love while we’re still alive. When we prioritize religious law and justice over relational love and compassion, we are missing the kingdom of heaven all around us. The Pharisees among us, like the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal son, are standing outside of what God is doing.


As the sermon progresses, we realize that Jesus did not expect his disciples to surpass the scribes and Pharisees at their own game; rather, he redefined righteousness. ~ Daniel M. Doriani (Matthew)


Jesus says our righteousness must go above and beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees.

CONFESSION (Personal reflection):


I confess that the way of law has a kind of simplistic appeal to my religious mind. It is straightforward and easier to comprehend. Specific sins, for instance, had specific punishments in the days of Moses, end of story. I for one would have been stoned to death by now, and even if that feels harsh, it has a kind of stamped-it-no-erasies clarity to it that I sometimes find appealing. Mind you, Jesus kind of threw a monkey wrench into that system of justice with his whole "whoever is without sin should cast the first stone" maneuver (John 8:7). Way to muddy the waters Jesus. (Or, did he suddenly make everything more clear?)


The way of grace that Jesus brings is more messy. His atonement erases sin and his love is all about second chances – even seventy times seven chances. (See our discussion about Jesus and Peter in our Coal Fire Fellowship study.) Sinners just live longer in the New Covenant (unless your names are Ananias or Saphira). And we have to learn how to deal with one another, as increasing numbers of us fail and hopefully repent and are granted fresh starts rather than are stoned to death.


The way of grace sacrifices some clarity and structure in favour of relationship. This will be appealing to some and frustrating to others. The way of grace means some questions have to be answered by working issues out in real time, in real life, case by case, face to face. The way of grace is less about consulting the rule book and case law and more about walking in wisdom that dares to get intimately involved in people's lives. The way of grace might seem inconsistent on the outside by anyone who isn’t intimately engaged with the hearts of the people involved, but love cares less about appearing consistent and more about being compassionate. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emmerson, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”


For instance: should a Christian leader, say, a pastor, who has morally failed in a significant way ever be returned to an official position of Christian ministry? (I’m asking for a friend.)


The way of Law would make this a simple issue: stone the adulterers and move along. The way of grace leaves us with questions and a variety of possible answers since the New Testament Scriptures don’t give a hard-and-fast rule and the Old Testament does offer some conflicting examples.


Some Christians (the minority position) say a failed Christian leader should never return to any form of official ministry for he or she is no longer "above reproach", a qualification for overseer in 1 Timothy 3:2. And if the sin is sexual, their disqualification is twofold, since 1 Timothy 3:2 also says fidelity in marriage is a qualification for overseers. Seems straightforward.


Most Christians agree that significant moral failure will likely disqualify someone from Christian leadership - for a time. The question is whether or not this disqualification should be permanent. Can a disqualified pastor, for instance, become requalified given the right amount of time and the right kind of process? There is the debate.


Christians who affirm restoration (the majority position) point out that God's gifts and calling are irrevocable (Romans 11:29) and some gifts become who we are not just what we do, that is, our identities not just our abilities (Ephesians 4:11-12). So, an evangelist or teacher may become a failed and faltering evangelist or teacher, but they are still an evangelist or teacher.


"A pastor who has sinned sexually can be a pastor again. And I say that just because of the grace of God and the fact that “above reproach” can be restored, probably." ~ John Piper (Desiring God)


Points of debate (Can Christian leaders be restored after significant sin?)...


PRO                                      CON

Romans 8:29

God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer must be above reproach

Ephesians 4:11-12

Gifts are described as identity not just action

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer must be faithful in marriage

Galatians 6:1

When caught in sin, restoration is the goal

1 Corinthians 9:27

Paul knew the possibility of being “disqualified”

Examples of restoration to leadership:

e.g., David, Moses, Jonah, Peter, Paul

Examples of consequences for sin:

e.g., David, Moses, Jonah, Ananias and Sapphira


Among those Christians who affirm a process of restoration, there is still disagreement on how and how long a process of requalification and restoration should take. Some say it should be immediate, as in the cases of David and Jonah and Peter. Others point out that God may be able to discern hearts immediately, but humans need more time. So most agree that restoration takes time. But how much time? Some say as little as six months to one year. Others lean more toward at least one-two years (the majority position). And some feel it should be more like five-ten years.


Remember that a process of restoration is not just about the health of the fallen Christian leader, but also the healing of those they have hurt. A person can be forgiven immediately, but the process of rebuilding trust can take much longer.


So? What do you think?


I’ll go first... I don't know. I am on a journey of listening to opinions and insights as I assess my life – past, present, and future. (Prayers appreciated!)


But one thing I do believe with clarity: the best decisions happen via case-by-case assessment made by wise and mature believers who are intimately engaged with the person and the process. We cannot "gently restore" someone caught in a sin (Galatians 6:1) from a distance. The process of confrontation, repentance, forgiveness, discernment, and restoration (as laid out in Matthew 18 and elsewhere) happens within close contact relationship. Without journeying closely with a fallen sister or brother to observe and engage them with discernment, accountability, and compassion, we are merely armchair critics. Qualities like genuine repentance, humility, and submission to accountable input are hard to decipher from afar. This means all moral pontificating from far away can be laid to rest. Saints have better ways to invest their God-given energies.


To be precise, when someone sins significantly, posting opinions online may feel good and public announcements may sound righteous, but they have very little to do with a New Covenant response to sin. Detached declarations are performative, not reformative or restorative.


Pastoral career restoration debates aside, what is far more important is this: restoration as family, as sisters and brothers, is always paramount for the Church as a heavenly kingdom community.


And this issue is just one of many that, under the New Covenant, we need to fill the gaps with grace. We should accept that good and godly sisters and brothers will hold different positions (and will think they have Scriptural guidelines and Holy Spirit leading on their side).


The way of law (over liberty) and justice (over mercy) will always be appealing to religious folk, but we must go above and beyond the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees if we want to live the life of heaven here and now.



COMMENTARY (Thoughts about meaning and application):


Many scholars agree that we are talking about Jesus’ most shocking statement in his entire sermon, because the scribes and Pharisees were the epitome of righteousness in first-century Israel.


The Holy Spirit is helping Jesus create a movement of disciples who are “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3). But the “righteousness” he has in mind is not of this world.


When we read through the four biblical Gospels, we can pay attention to many conversations and conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees to flesh out their two different understandings of righteousness. The Pharisees really cared about learning and following the letter of the law. According to Jesus, they took care to keep themselves clean on the outside, through external obedience, but their hearts were not aligned with God's heart (see Matthew 23). The Pharisees wanted to stone adulterers, but Jesus championed compassion (like his stepdad Joseph had done with Mary).


In many places, the apostle Paul reinforces what Jesus is teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Here is one of those passages [with explanatory notes in square brackets]:


No human being will be justified [the verb form of righteous – righteousified] in his sight by observing the law; for through the law comes consciousness of sin. But now [one of the biggest “buts” in the Bible!] the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, though testified to by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified [made righteous] freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation [meaning the one who wipes our sin clean away], through faith, by his blood. ~ The apostle Paul (Romans 3:20-25, New American Bible, Revised Edition, italics mine)
However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies [makes righteous] the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. ~ The apostle Paul (Romans 4:5; also see Genesis 15:6)

This new righteousness is a gift of grace from God, who gives his righteousness to the UNgodly. Wow. God forgives our sin, cleansing it away completely (the meaning of “expiation”). What Good News! When we practice mercy and forgiveness toward the sin of others, we are in tune with the real righteousness of God. (And if you find it hard to practice mercy and forgiveness, take time to ponder how much God has forgiven you.)


Notice Paul’s opening statement: no human being will be made righteous by observing the law. Whoa. Paul is saying that even IF someone observes the law perfectly, that isn’t enough to make someone truly righteous inside-out. A perfect law-abiding person has graduated to the level of a religious legalist – good for them – but they are not yet lovingly righteous. We can perform all of the right actions, but if our morality is not motivated by love, those good deeds are just performative noise (1 Corinthians 13:1-4).


[EXCURSUS – EXPIATION VS PROPITIATION: Caution, this is a total Bible nerd paragraph – feel free to skip ahead. You’ll notice in the translation of Romans 3:25 above that Jesus is called our “expiation”. The translators offer this note… “This rendering is preferable to “propitiation,” which suggests hostility on the part of God toward sinners. As Paul will be at pains to point out (Romans 5:8-10), it is humanity that is hostile to God.” The Greek word here is hilastérion, meaning the “mercy seat” (as it is translated in Hebrews 9:5). It is the place of mercy where our sin is wiped away, rather than the place of judgement where God’s wrath is wiped away (the meaning of propitiation). The emphasis here is on wiping away our sin, not wiping away God's anger. The sacrifice of Christ changes us, not God. God didn’t pour out his wrath upon Jesus, we poured out our wrath on Jesus, and God forgave us anyway, for “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).]


When we accept this inside-out cleansing righteousness of God, we are rightly robbed of all moral boasting about our successes (shame about our failure). Paul says, “Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. Through what kind of law? That of works? No, rather through the law of faith” (Romans 3:27). Paul is fond of law-based word-plays (e.g., Romans 7:21, 23; 8:2). He knows that the Greek word for law (nómos) can be used to mean principle or standard. So Paul says the Law of Moses has been replaced with the “law” of faith, which is really not a law at all, but a trusting relationship.


The scribes and Pharisees were the social justice movement of their time. But Jesus says his disciples must go beyond joining a social justice movement to forming a social mercy movement. This is real righteousness.


This is not the motto of the Kingdom of the Heavens, which would be closer to "NO MERCY, NO PEACE" or perhaps "KNOW MERCY, KNOW PEACE."

Please note, grace and mercy are not presented by Jesus as provisions for our failures to be righteousness; in the New Covenant, grace and mercy, received by and lived out by faith, are how God defines righteousness! You don’t have to be morally perfect to be righteous. You just have to be graciously compassionate and merciful toward yourself and others in the face of moral failure. That takes faith, and that is real righteousness.


Yes, this Gospel emphasis on grace, mercy, and forgiveness is open to abuse (just read Paul's letters to the Church in Corinth). Grace can be misunderstood as a license to sin with impunity. The Gospel of grace can attract morally lazy people, or worse, morally harmful people who presume upon God's kindness in response to their sin. But that response reveals a heart that has not been impacted by actual grace. Grace is powerful, not just conceptual. When we try to use the concept concept of grace to justify sin without allowing the power of grace to change our hearts, we have missed the Gospel.


Shall we continue in sin, in order that grace may increase? May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it? ~ The apostle Paul (Romans 6:1-2)
Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! ~ The apostle Paul (Romans 6:15)

The antidote to abuses of grace is not to season our message with law. The antidote to abuses of mercy is not to season our message with judgement. Paul writes to Christians about their failure to allow true grace to transform their hearts. Rather than return to preaching law, when Christians take advantage of grace, Paul leans into the gospel of grace all the more. He reminds them about the mercy of the cross, the way of radical love, becoming new creations in Christ, and the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.


Grace doesn't need to be balanced with law in order to motivate good behaviour, because grace includes empowerment. When Paul prayed for help with his thorn in the flesh, Jesus replied:


My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ~ The apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Rightly understood and embraced by faith, grace changes and sustains us in the way of love. Grace does not need law like some dietary supplement. Grace is the whole meal. Grace all by itself teaches us how to live truly righteous lives (see Titus 2:11-12 and Romans 2:4). When someone wanders away morally, grace calls us to pursue them, to challenge them, to rebuke them, to call them to repentance, all with forgiveness and restoration as the goal. And if they refuse to listen, grace calls us to love them enough to bring consequence with compassion, that is, for a season of time (see Matthew 18, and compare 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 with 2 Corinthians 2:5-11).


Most readers will recall what Jesus most often rebuked the Pharisees for - their hypocrisy. (Just read all of Matthew 23 in one go. It's like a punch in the face for our religiously legalistic souls. Here is part of it enacted with the intensity it deserves.)


The biblical view of hypocrisy rarely means to say one thing but do another. Rather it means to live morally uprightly while harboring unloving attitudes.

But notice this: the hypocrisy of the Pharisees was different to how we commonly use the term today. Usually when we think of hypocrisy, we think of someone believing and proclaiming some high moral ideal while living lower or counter to that ideal. Rather, Jesus blasts the Pharisees for the opposite: their behaviour is morally meticulous, but their hearts are not motivated by love. Their hypocrisy is within. They need to clean the inside of the cup and dish (Matthew 23:25-28). Jesus emphasises this in the Beatitudes, saying it is the pure in heart, not the perfect in behaviour, who will see God (Matthew 5:8). As the apostle Paul says, we can behave ethically excellent, even to the point of self-sacrifice, and if our motivation is not love - that is, honouring the intrinsic and infinite value of a person - we are just making a bunch of performative noise (1 Corinthians 13:1-4; also see Isaiah 29:13).


If you know the story of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, you know this principle illustrated in the contrast between the characters of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert. (If you don't know the story, and especially if you haven't seen the musical, it's never too late to repent of your sin and watch or listen to any version asap.)


In the story of Les Misérables, Inspector Javert illustrates the righteousness of the Pharisees.

For our righteousness to go above and beyond the righteousness of the Pharisees, Jesus invites us to become, not morally perfect, but lovingly merciful in the face of all of our fears and failures (compare Matthew 5:48 with Luke 6:36).



* * * * *


A final thought about how all of this affects our approach to reading the Bible.


Jesus is teaching us a process of interiorization, as the prophets predicted would be the nature of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26-27; Hebrews 10:16). God has always valued the interior over the exterior (e.g., 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 40:6-8; 51:16-17; Hosea 6:6) – after all, the same God is behind both Old and New Covenants – but under the New Covenant God finally moves us into the way of relating that has always been closer to his heart.


According to God, grace is more true than law, since law-compliance can be coerced with the right promises of reward and threats of punishment without any heart-to-heart caring or connection.


For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ~ The apostle John (John 1:17)

Notice also that the law was “given” – like a gift that is presented at arms length. But grace and truth “came” – they are values embodied in PERSON, the person of Jesus. Jesus claims to do more than TEACH Scripture’s true meaning and purpose. Jesus claims to BE Scripture’s true meaning and purpose.


What does this mean practically regarding our Bible reading together? The answer lies in the rest of Matthew 5, where Jesus will give us six examples of how to and how not to read Scripture. We will see that two guidelines emerge. Reading the Bible as fulfilled in and by Jesus will mean:


1. GOING WITHIN. We find the internal meaning of a law, command, or rule. For instance, do not murder becomes do not be angry with someone or even disrespect them, and do not commit adultery becomes do not look with lust. So although we may be released from the letter of the law, we still find guidance from the principle embedded within each precept, the love embedded within the law. (This is called “principlism”.)


2. GOING BEYOND. We see how Jesus puts an end to a temporary law, command, or rule because his way of love overrides the way of law. For instance, Jesus overrules the lex talionis – eye for eye, tooth for tooth – in favour of non-retaliatory enemy love. Jesus also overrules the Mosaic laws on divorce (tightening, not loosening them) as well as the Torah’s teaching about swearing oaths. Some Christians are uncomfortable with this – if God has said something once, they reason, it must endure forever. But this is silly. The Law of Moses was given to a specific people (Israel) for a specific time (until Christ came). And now Jesus is giving a new love ethic that will be for all people everywhere always. Later Jesus cancels dietary laws (Mark 7:19) and the early Church used this approach to discern that they were fully released from the entire Old Testament Law, including the law of circumcision (e.g., Acts 15; Galatians 5).


This is how Jesus helps us find wisdom and joy in every verse of the Bible. We do not tear out our Old Testaments, but we do read them differently, as already fulfilled Scripture.




CONCLUSION (One last thought):


Real righteousness, the inside-out life of love, is more messy than the outside-in life of law. The Spirit-led life requires space and patience to learn over time, to make mistakes and receive and give mercy, to exercise our hearts through trial and error and failure and forgiveness and brokenness and restoration, and to learn to discern the voice of the Spirit over the cacophony of competing voices in our lives. The way of law produces immediate clarity and compliance, yes, but heart-change is optional and eventually becomes irrelevant. The way of love, which is the way of real righteousness, is the way of living in the kingdom of Christ.


Dear Jesus, please give us real eyes to realize where the real lies.



CONTEMPLATE (Scripture passages that relate to and deepen our understanding of this topic):


1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 40:6-8; 51:16-17; Isaiah 29:13; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26-27; Hosea 6:6; Matthew 5:21-48; 23; John 1:16-18; Romans 3:20-31; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8; 2 Corinthians 3; Hebrews 10:14-23



CONVERSATION (Talk together, learn together, grow together):

  1. What is God revealing to you about himself through this passage?

  2. What is God showing you about yourself through this passage?

  3. What has been your pattern of Bible reading, if at all? Has anything helped motivate you to get into the good book?

  4. What is one thing you can think, believe, or do differently in light of what you are learning?

  5. What questions are you still processing about this topic?




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6 Comments


Came here today after reading a mean tweet about Bruxy and these teachings. So glad I found the tweet because I'm now reading some material here that is truly life changinG! This teaching by Bruxy is powerful! It brings what righteousness is home! That God made us righteous when we deserved anything but. WOW! Today, I'm thankful for righteousness and that God didn't hold my sins against me but instead loved me and washed me. If only we could all grasp this truth! I can hardly grasp it but this teaching is helping me.

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BOO
BOO
Jul 24, 2023
Replying to

Thank you. Bless you. And welcome.

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Jon Pessah
Jon Pessah
Jul 14, 2023

I love the part about Jesus "teaching us about being in tune with his kingdom of love while we’re still alive".. it's been something I've noticed about Christ following... So many people are about 'the reward', or ,the kingdom coming' they fail to see it should be negligible from the kingdom here. I've always meditated on Jesus being the Way, Truth, Life, Light... But the way is a path, the truth is just that, the life always was and will be, and the light just makes the path visible.. none of these are about a destination.. all are about a never ending eternal journey. Glad Jesus is with us on that journey ;)

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Ger McRae
Ger McRae
Jul 12, 2023

"Should a pastor who has morally failed in a significant way ever return to pastoring?" The simple answer, in my opinion, is "yes".


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Jon Pessah
Jon Pessah
Jul 14, 2023
Replying to

I would say yes.. if forgiveness doesn't reign in our spiritual lives, then we can't truly understand the Gospel anyways. Forgive us as we forgive.. it's a conversation between Jesus(God) and God that is Amen.. Agreed upon. This is a tribute to the law/character of God.

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Guest
Jul 10, 2023

For instance: should a pastor who has morally failed in a significant way ever return to pastoring?

I think Jesus would look for recognition of wrong, repentance and then restoration. That period and how it is worked out in our world is really tricky. There are so many rules and regulations. It has to start in the heart and is there a real desire to see restoration or what is ineffect transformation in someones life. It is always easy standing out side saying what should be done and how we should react but not always easy when you are the person wounded or the person failing. Would i want someone to help me be restored too right i would. I…

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