What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus Christ?

What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus Christ?

I recently came across a kindly man who had converted to Judaism from Catholicism. He asked me the following question, “What does it mean to believe in Jesus? I’ve never found a Christian who could answer this based on the faith Jesus lived — Judaism.”

I am choosing to answer this question on my CallahanWriter Blog. I hope this is interesting to the rest of you. Maybe you might be able to use these thoughts sometime in your own Christian walk.

Jesus was born in the lineage of David which is also the lineage of Judah. This made Him a Jew. I think everyone knows that.

When Jesus performed miracles, He often told the recipient to go and give their offerings to the local priest at the temple. Sometimes he told the newly healed benefactor not to tell anyone about the miracle. At least one did tell of his miraculous recovery which caused The Lord to be inundated with throngs of people.

Sprinkled in His teachings were bits and pieces of the Mosaic law and many of His teachings showed a respect to the Mosaic laws. But He taught a higher law, higher than the basic Mosaic laws.

Sermon On The Mount

What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus?

What Does It Mean To Believe In Jesus?

Case in point. At the beginning of His ministry Jesus taught one of His great sermons called the “Sermon on The Mount.” He referred to the Mosaic law, and the “Ten Commandments” when he said “Thou shalt not kill.” He went on to teach a higher law that we should not be angry with our fellows and whoever ever is guilty of being angry with his brethren shall be in danger of the judgment.

Similarly, He referred to the commandment of old, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” He went on to teach a higher law that we should not look on a person and lust after them.

This was His introduction to teaching higher laws than the Mosaic laws, the laws by which Jews followed.

He taught so many higher laws that a few times the Gospel writers mentioned Jesus as saying something to the effect, “I have not come to destroy the law, but have come to fulfil the law.” The fulfilment of the law was offering His sinless soul to pay the infinite price of sin committed by all who have or all who will live on this planet.

He observed the laws of Moses as much as He was able while teaching a higher law. There were times when He and His apostles were accused of some minor infractions of the law such as when they were traveling through a corn field and ate of the corn. He taught about the realities of life with the parable of a man getting his livestock out of a hole on the Sabbath which strict adherence to the Mosaic law would have forbidden.

Higher Law

Jesus did not live the life of a Jew the way the Scribes, Pharisees and Seduces judged the law. He respected the law that He came to fulfil while teaching everyone He could about a New Testament or new and higher law or gospel.

The faith by which Jesus lived was that of Christianity, not Judaism. He respected the law of ordinances and performances of the Mosaic law but believed, lived and taught a higher law, the gospel of Jesus Christ, not the law of Moses by which the laws and doctrines of Judaism are based on.

I love my brethren of the Jewish faith. We have so much in common. Our main point of difference, is, and it’s big one, is our belief in Jesus Christ, The Messiah.

As a Christian I believe in Jesus Christ as my Redeemer and Messiah. I know he was born Jewish and I know He tried all He could to teach a higher way than the laws of Moses. Like all Christians, I believe Jesus Christ to be the Messiah that most of the Jews refused to believe in.

Troy Wagstaff © All Rights Reserved. May be used with permission by the author.

Should We Worship With Our Heart and Mind? Daily Devotional

Should We Worship With Our Heart and Mind? — Daily Devotional

There is a popular “self-help” idea that has been active on the Internet for several years.

This idea is called “positive affirmations” or “affirmational statements.” These are one sentence statements of truth that a person repeats to him or herself many times a day until the person feels like that truth is a part of her.

For example, I would repeat this affirmation statement “I am strong” countless times through the day. The idea being, that I can reprogram myself to believe that I am strong.

What I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it can be used as the yard stick by which we measure truth. When I first came to learn of this “affirmation statement” concept for self-improvement I kind of raised a brow and moved on.

Then I happened upon this phrase while reading in the Old Testament. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) Put another way, thoughts precede our actions. Then I remembered this “affirmation thing” on the Web and looked into it again.

sharper_thant_2_edfged_swordI concluded that for the most part, the affirmation concept for self-help is valid but it is not a new concept, thousands of years ago this idea was addressed in the Bible.

This concept of controlling your thoughts before they become actions was talked about in the Old and New Testaments.

During the Sermon on The Mount Jesus taught that killing someone is terrible but being angry with someone is also bad. Stop being angry with your brother and then killing isn’t an issue.

The same with adultery, it is a terrible sin but lusting after someone in their mind is also bad. It’s easier to repent from lustful thoughts and anger than it is to repent for adultery or murder.

So if we keep our thoughts under control we will act better and be better. Our thoughts are a big part of our worship. The thoughts and intents of the heart (or mind) are extremely important living the gospel.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Not only do our thoughts affect our wardout actions but God can and does discern the thoughts and intents of our heart. This “affirmation therapy” is rooted in doctrinal truth. We need to be clean that bare the vessels of the Lord. That starts with the thoughts and intents of our heart and mind. Let us fill our heart and mind with the love and joy of the gospel.

Troy Wagstaff © All Rights Reserved

It’s Easier To Fix Small Things

It’s Easier to Fix Small Things

It’s easier to replace the oil in your car every three months than it is to replace a burned out motor. It’s cheaper to fix a small crack in your windshield than to replace the whole windshield.

It’s easier to repent of lust than it is to repent of adultery. It’s easier to fix the small things than it is to fix the big things.

Matthew Chapter 5 is best known for the Beatitudes, rightfully so. It is also the beginning of the famed Sermon on The Mount where wonderful and transcendent teachings were given by The Master himself.

Throughout the Sermon on The Mount (Matt. 5-7) there are many teachings and subjects talked about in that sermon. We will be looking at six verses that describes a concept called the “higher law.” Let’s read from Matthew 5:21-24, 27-28

21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:21-24, 27-28

“It was said by them of old time . . . thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not commit adultery.” That is a reference to two of the Ten Commandments.

The “higher law” so-called, has given us additional and helpful information on overcoming temptation. The essential message is rather than be concerned with killing someone, don’t let anger get that far. Figure out your issues before the anger leads to murder.

Rather than worrying about committing adultery, worry about not lusting after someone. If lust is kept in check, then there would be no adultery.

Who says the Bible doesn’t have the remedies for all of societies ills?

Lets go back to the issue of anger and killing and look a little deeper at this concept of anger management. Make no mistake, God will punish those who commit murder. Jesus said “whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment.”

So now there is a consequence to being angry with your brothers or sisters. First it was don’t kill, now, after the Sermon on The Mount, it is don’t be angry. Nip anger in the bud and you’ll never have to worry about the commandment “thou shalt not kill.”

Like the passage of scripture says, if you have issues with someone go make it right or forgive him and stop being angry. If you’re not angry at anyone then you won’t be inclined to kill anyone. This is a great example of the higher law.

The second example of the higher law regards adultery. It’s a serious sin with serious consequences. To keep you away from the temptation to commit adultery, Jesus taught that we should not lust after anyone. Jesus made lust a sin. Repenting for lust is far easier than repenting for adultery.

It is easier to change your lustful thoughts or to change your anger than it is in dealing with the consequences of such terrible behavior. Change the oil in your spiritual life before it gets out of hand.

Troy Wagstaff

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