“Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?”
“Here is another instance of sectarianism being thrown into disadvantageous contrast with the magnificence of Christ Life. It is hard for the little sect to comprehend the universe, but easy for it to condemn all who are not enclosed in its shallow limits. Men are known by the inquiries they propound. Great men put great questions, tiny spirits perplex themselves with tiny riddles. The persons in the text put a question about “fasting,”– they were still in a very material and grovelling condition,– it is noticeable, however, that men who could abstain from food could not abstain from censoriousness; so true is it in all human experience that it is easier to restrain the bodily than the mental, easier to conqueror dust than spirit…
Our spiritual life is not to be partly Christ and partly something else,–old and new, but all Christ; independent, solitary, alone, because Divine. The Christian is free of the old law in its formality, but never free from law as an expression of love. We do not keep the Decalogue (ten commandments) because of its outward form and claim upon us, but we keep the commandments because we love the Commander. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”
– Joseph Parker
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law“
“For I know with an absolute knowledge and stand persuaded in the Lord Jesus that not even one thing is unhallowed in itselfexcept it be to the one who reasons it out to be unhallowed. To that one it is unhallowed. For, if because of food your brother is made to grieve, no longer are you conducting yourself according to love. Stop ruining by your food that one on behalf of whom Christ died. Therefore, stop allowing your good to be spoken of in a reproachful and evil manner; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the sphere of the Holy Spirit; for the one who in this serves the Christ is well pleasing to God, and because having met the specifications is approved by men”
Romans 14:14-18 (Wuest Translation)
Paul prefaced this plea to the Body of Christ with:
“For, on the one hand, there is he who judges a day above another day. On the other hand, there is he who subjects every day to a scrutiny. Let each one in his own mind be fully assured. The one who has formed a judgment regarding the day, with reference to the Lord he judges it. And the one who eats, with reference to the Lord he eats, for he gives thanks to God. And the one who does not eat, with reference to the Lord does not eat, and he gives thanks to God…”
Romans 14:5-6 (Wuest Translation)
“But as for you, why are you judging your brother? Or, as for you also, why are you treating your brother with contempt? For we all shall stand before the judgment seat of God. For it stands written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Therefore, then, each one of us shall give an account concerning himself to God. Therefore, no longer let us be judging one another. But be judging this rather, not to place a stumbling block before your brother, or a snare in which he may be entrapped”
Romans 14:10-11 (Wuest Translation)
There is within the economy and glory of Christ the liberty and respect for each member to hold within their hearts their own faith concerning food, drink, and days. The secret to this liberty is that they are “serving Christ” in their persuasions.
Paul in Colossians stated:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days”
Let not him who regards a day judge him who regards not a day; let not him who regards not a day judge him who esteems a day over another.
The living fabric of Christ’s Body is more than meat, drink or reference to some day or season. His LIFE is the very sinew and connection of each and every part. The ignorance of who and what the wonder of Christ is becomes apparent when the mundane issues of life become of more importance than the unity of His Spirit in our midst!
Paul goes on to say in his letter to the Colossians that they who judge others in respect to the elemental and menial things are
“…not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God’s growth. If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, “Don’t handle, nor taste, nor touch” (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men?”
We violate the very life of Christ who supplies the rich ministrations through which we are knitted together. Those who emphasise the mundane over the Holy will give an answer to Him in the Day of Judgment.
Paul finishes his discourse of these things by stating that the observance of these things will in NO WAY bring victory for a believer over their flesh. There are no spiritual victories to be gained by the foolishness of fleshly ordinances. Our victory comes only by living and abiding within the sphere of Christ Himself.
May God free us from the horror and stain of the Pharisee spirit in the observance of trivial matters while failing to comprehend that “the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5).
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Seven Ones – Perfection)
Those who would destroy the bonds of peace and sever the very ligaments of Christ over the rudimentary elements in respect to days, food and drink, know not the heart of He who is the Head of all things.
One cannot read the beauty of Ephesians Chapter 4 and Colossians Chapter 2, with any illumination of the Spirit of God, and not feel the very essence of Christ Himself beckoning us to preserve the Unity of His Spirit and the wonder of the Body of Christ.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind”
Fellowship is the natural outflow between those who are in Christ. Where there is no deep and powerful flow of Christ there is darkness and separation from the Life and Wonder of Christ. Beware of something added (or taken away) from the Life Giving essence of Christ alone. Light (not knowledge) is the basis of true fellowship.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another”
1 John 1:7
“Let all your things be done with charity”
1 Corinthians 16:14
Love is the spring from which God’s grace flows. It is the matrix of all His works within His creation. It is as each of us grow and walk within Love’s influence that we discover His flow from our hearts; for even right works and things which have an appearance of good, if they are not precipitated by His Love, will be of little value in His eyes.
“Love… seeketh not her own”
1 Corinthians 13:5
The purity of His Love within our hearts is the freedom to do His work without the stains of self-seeking, self-promotion and self-realization. Love ever seeks to glorify the Son therefore its motives for doing anything is to see Him high and lifted up. It is to see the broken, down-trodden and self-absorbed life (which is ever in the grip of pride and condemnation) become free. Love lifts men and women out of the contagion of self into the glory of His Holy presence. It is in being free from self that we discover a life of authenticity and joy.
Love is not a feeling; it is the power of God to live, walk and do of His good pleasure. It is the very nature of God Himself ruling and reigning within our hearts. It is the breath of heaven which fills all things with His wonder and grace. In its grip men and women become free as little children to walk in the ways of God. Freedom is the divine enablement to do the will of God spontaneously from the heart. It is the ability to express His desire without struggle and without fear, for perfect love casts out all fear.
Love is the perfection of God within us. It is His end in His creation. His people may excel in knowledge, in the operation of His gifts of the Spirit, may perform many good works and give of themselves in many ways, yet without the inspiration of His Love all is empty and vain. While many in the religious world profess and seek to do great things the works birthed from Love will outshine them all. While religion seeks to build great edifices, great movements, and to influence the masses “Love seeks not her own…” In the midst of all the strife and divisions of the religious world “Love thinks no evil…” In the midst of all the voices clamoring for people’s attention, their finances and their approval; “love boasts not itself”. It seeks no recognition except His. It seeks not the approval of men; it seeks only His joy within their hearts. Love is the goal and the purpose to which God ever works.
“…but the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith not pretended, from which having missed the mark, some turned aside to empty talking”
1 Timothy 1:5
When Love ceases to be the end and purpose of an individual’s life futility will be its end. All talk is empty where purity and love are set aside; actions are vain. The religious heart driven by self-promotion and desire will fall into the abyss of empty works for the “Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day”.
“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned”
Song of Songs 8:7
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity”
1 Corinthians 13:13