2/19/15

From Jim McGuiggan... Righteousness and Justice

Righteousness and Justice

I suppose that much of the time "justice" is what we’re given or hope to be given. When we use it like that we’re asking to be treated fairly, to be given what is due to us (within the context of the social contract). We want our "rights". Slogans on walls here in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the world say things like: "We don’t want charity—we want justice!"
But the word "justice" is also used in a retributive (punitive) sense when a criminal gets "what’s coming to him in light of the wrong he has committed". That use of the word involves a sense of fairness, of course, but it is fairness expressed in punishment. In such cases we would say the verdict and the sentence were "just". When we want "justice" we want what is right and fair as it expresses itself  in our rights being met; but when we want a criminal to get "justice" we want fairness to express itself in punishment. In the case of the criminal, if punishment doesn’t take place we think justice has not been done. In our case, if we are not benefited by getting what is due us we think justice has not been done.
Linguistic custom has been established and in those two settings we’d almost always use the word justice (and not "righteousness"). Theological wars (mostly, I’ve concluded, between Catholic and Protestant thinkers) and Greco-Roman practice have created some confusion here. In any case, we usually distinguish between "justice" and "righteousness" in a very sharp way but the Bible wouldn't make such a sharp distinction. In the Bible a just person is a "righteous" person and a righteous God is a just God but even our established linguistic custom need not keep us from seeing that there's a richness that lies behind the usual use of the words.
For example, if a rapist is imprisoned his punishment is "just". But his loss (of freedom), which is justice in a retributive sense is also justice in another sense to the person he has raped. Society (if we put the best face on it) is in favour of the person raped and wants her to feel that she matters and that her rights are of central concern to society so when it punishes the criminal in that punitive act it is keeping its commitment to the sufferer. The point to be noticed is that the same act is punishment to one and blessing to the other.
This is true in God’s dealings with the human family. For the believer God himself is the source of all that is right as well as the model of doing what is right. There is no law outside of God to which God must conform if he is to be considered good or righteous—he is the "law" (so the speak). He answers to no one and to nothing. When he does what is right he is abiding by his own will and character. When the OT writers speak of God as "righteous" they mean, of course, that he does what is right but they mean he does what is right in the sense that he is faithful to himself and to his commitment to his creation.
 God does not jump through hoops made by the creature—he keeps his word and is faithful to his commitments because he is what he is. In truth, then, biblically speaking, "justice" is not some eternal abstract principle that is built into the fabric of reality. It begins with the personal God who enters into a relationship with his human family. In turn, justice or righteousness as the human family is to understand and express it, is to live in the image of God. To be just or righteous is to keep one’s word and fulfil one’s commitment to God and the neighbour.
God made an overarching covenant with the human family (compare Genesis 9) but he also made covenants within that covenant (Abraham, Israel, Levi, David and so forth). These more specific covenants all serve the overarching covenant. God made a covenant with the house of David (see Psalm 89) for the nation of Israel (and through them, to other nations). He made a covenant with Abraham that was to benefit all nations (see Genesis 12).
The people with whom God made these covenants were expected to respond to God within the terms of those covenants. If they did, they were "righteous". When God kept his side of the bargain (covenant) he was said to be just and righteous and when he acted to deliver his covenant people this action was seen as his "saving righteousness"—his covenant faithfulness.
Behind God’s covenant-keeping righteousness was his eternal character and will. Of course! So that it’s perfectly legitimate to say that God is "righteous" independent of the covenants he chose to make and keep. Still, what you read in the OT (and in the NT) is mainly about God’s righteousness/justice in being true to his covenant commitment. The righteousness of some godly Israelite would involve his heart, of course, but his/her righteousness was their (heartfelt) response to the covenant of which they were a part. Their covenant relationship was not only with God because being covenanted with God meant they were also covenanted to their neighbor. Biblically, everything has that personal element; there is nothing abstract about righteousness or sin. Righteousness was relational fidelity just as sin was relational infidelity.
God had a peculiar (but not exclusive) relationship with Israel and this relationship was expressed in a covenant that was exclusively made with Israel (see Exodus 19:4-6 and Amos 3:2). He committed to relate to them in the covenant and to make their friends his friends and their enemies his enemies (see Genesis 12:1-3 and the first fourteen chapters of Exodus as illustrative).
This meant that when he delivered Israel from Egyptian captivity or brought them through the wilderness into the promised land he was keeping his covenant commitment to them—that is, he was being righteous or just. His "deliverance" was his justice/righteousness made visible.
When a psalmist asked God, "deliver me in your righteousness" (31:1) he was asking God to remember his commitment and to live up to it. "Vindicate me in your righteousness" (Psalm 35:24, and elsewhere) is the same plea. When in 71:17 the psalmist says he will tell of God’s righteousness shown in salvation from enemies, he is talking about God’s faithfulness to his covenant promises; it is God keeping his word. See Isaiah 46:13 and elsewhere for the same thing. It isn't surprising then that we often find God's actual deeds called his "righteousness". [See Deuteronomy 6:25 for a similar use of the word in regard to humans keeping their word toward God. And compare Matthew 6:1 where being benevolent is included in "acts of righteousness".]
Now, God loved Assyria and cared what happened to her (the entire book of Jonah insists on that) but he also loved the nations Assyria was crushing (the entire book of Nahum insists on that). When God moved to crush the Assyrian empire he was keeping his word to Israel and the other oppressed nations—he was being righteous/just. He punishes Assyria (retributive justice) but in the act of punishing Assyria he is keeping his promises (he is being righteous) to Israel and others. So that punishment andsalvation is God exhibiting his justice/righteousness. Assyria and Israel experienced God’s faithfulness differently. They experienced God’s justice/righteousness/faithfulness but the one experienced it as punishment and the other experienced it as salvation. Let me say it again, this one act of God is "retributive" and "saving" justice.
But these are not different kinds of justice or righteousness. Punishing Assyria and delivering Israel (or whoever) is one act that comes out of one heart and will. All the actions are related because they all stem from one faithful heart and with one overarching purpose in mind.
We need to remember that when Assyria ravaged wicked Israel that it was God chastizing Israel for her wickedness [Isaiah 10:5ff]. But Assyria was not intentionally acting on God's behalf; she was acting out of her own sinful desires.

Neither nation was ethically innocent or superior to the other. When Israel appealed to God for "justice" she was seeking salvation and she wasn't basing her appeal on her moral superiority over the nations (at least she shouldn't have been), she appealed to God's faithfulness [justice]. She wanted his saving justice. God often called Israel to walk justly [Isaiah 1.17; Micah 6.8, Jeremiah 22:3 illustrate] and by that he included providing for the poor and the defenseless and keeping their covenant commitment to their neighbors. God delighted in "just" weights that were designed and used to deal out fairness to whoever came to buy. Israel appealed to God to keep his covenant commitment [to be "just"] and in dong that to deliver them from their oppressors and this he did to Israel as a nation though they were faithless.

We need to keep this in mind when wrestling with Romans 3:25-26. In dealing with Satan God is dealing with the power that is destroying his children, the human family, and he goes to their rescue. He goes to their rescue not because they are morally fine people or that they have been faithful to him. He went again and again and again to Israel's rescue though Israel had been faithless. He goes/comes to their rescue because he has made a commitment to them and he is faithful. When he sets forth Jesus as an atoning sacrifice, as the way to deal with humanity's Enemy he is being just. In being just in this context he is destroying the enemy and rescuing his children.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com

Was Jesus Married? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=4519

Was Jesus Married?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The parade of alleged gospels that purport to alter the foundational doctrines of the Christian religion is endless. Most recently, a papyrus fragment written in Coptic that dates to the fourth century has created a stir. Among its eight badly faded lines are two phrases, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife...’” and a second provocative clause that is believed to say, “she will be able to be my disciple” (Goodstein, 2012). No matter how tentative and flimsy the evidence, liberal scholars and atheists glory in any item that might discredit Christ and Christianity. Yet, even the lead expert on the fragment, historian at the Harvard Divinity School, Karen King, repeatedly cautioned that it “should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married. The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived, and all other early, historically reliable Christian literature is silent on the question” (Goodstein, emp. added).
Many Christians and non-Christians fail to grasp the fact that the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity does not finally depend on archaeological discovery. If the Bible can be proven to possess the attributes of inspiration, demonstrating its divine origin, then no artifact will ever be discovered that will contradict that truth. If any manuscript or artifact appears to do so, it is being misinterpreted and misconstrued. Since we know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God (based on a careful and thorough analysis of its internal attributes—see the category “Inspiration of the Bible” at apologeticspress.org), then we know that Jesus never married just as the New Testament represents. [NOTE: That is not to say that the Catholic notion of celibacy finds biblical support—it does not. SeePinedo, 2008, pp. 60ff.]
Furthermore, the truth of the matter is that the textual basis of the New Testament was settled and fully authenticated many years ago. The longstanding discipline of Textual Criticism has yielded abundant evidence for the trustworthiness of the text of the New Testament. Over the last two centuries, the manuscript evidence has been thoroughly examined, resulting in complete exoneration for the integrity, genuineness, and accuracy of the Bible. Prejudiced university professors refrain from divulging to their students that the vast majority of textual variants involve minor matters that do not affect salvation nor alter any basic teaching of the New Testament. Even those variants that might be deemed doctrinally significant pertain to matters that are treated elsewhere in the Bible where the question of genuineness is unobscured. No feature of Christian doctrine is at stake. When all of the textual evidence is considered, the vast majority of discordant readings have been resolved (e.g., Metzger, 1978, p. 185). One is brought to the firm conviction that we have in our possession the Bible as God intended.
The world’s foremost textual critics have confirmed this conclusion. Sir Frederic Kenyon, longtime director and principal librarian at the British Museum, whose scholarship and expertise to make pronouncements on textual criticism was second to none, stated: “Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established” (Kenyon, 1940, p. 288). The late F.F. Bruce, longtime Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism at the University of Manchester, England, remarked: “The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice” (1960, pp. 19-20). J.W. McGarvey, declared by the London Times to be “the ripest Bible scholar on earth” (Brigance, 1870, p. 4), conjoined: “All the authority and value possessed by these books when they were first written belong to them still” (1956, p. 17). And the eminent textual critics Westcott and Hort put the entire matter into perspective when they said:
Since textual criticism has various readings for its subject, and the discrimination of genuine readings from corruptions for its aim, discussions on textual criticism almost inevitably obscure the simple fact that variations are but secondary incidents of a fundamentally single and identical text. In the New Testament in particular it is difficult to escape an exaggerated impression as to the proportion which the words subject to variation bear to the whole text, and also, in most cases, as to their intrinsic importance. It is not superfluous therefore to state explicitly that the great bulk of the words of the New Testament stand out above all discriminative processes of criticism, because they are free from variation, and need only to be transcribed (1964, p. 564, emp. added).
Noting that the experience of two centuries of investigation and discussion had been achieved, these scholars concluded: “[T]he words in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly amount to more thana thousandth part of the whole of the New Testament” (p. 565, emp. added).
Think of it. Men who literally spent their lives poring over ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, devoting their lives to meticulous, tedious analysis of the evidence, conversant with the original languages, without peer in their expertise and qualifications, have concluded that the Bible has been transmitted accurately. No scrap of papyrus written 200+ years after the fact can overturn the last two centuries of scholarly investigation and validation—let alone the Bible’s own inspired testimony to the contrary.

REFERENCES

Brigance, L.L. (1870), “J.W. McGarvey,” in A Treatise on the Eldership by J.W. McGarvey (Murfreesboro, TN: DeHoff Publications, 1962 reprint).
Bruce, F.F. (1960), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), revised edition.
Goodstein, Laurie (2012), “A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife,” The New York Times, September 18, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/us/historian-says-piece-of-papyrus-refers-to-jesus-wife.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120919&moc.semityn.www.
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1940), The Bible and Archaeology (New York, NY: Harper).
McGarvey, J.W. (1956 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Metzger, Bruce M. (1978 reprint), The Text of the New Testament (New York, NY: Oxford University Press), second edition.
Pinedo, Moises (2008), What the Bible says about the Catholic Church (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/wtbsatcc.pdf.
Westcott, B.A. and F.J.A. Hort (1964 reprint), The New Testament in the Original Greek (New York, NY: MacMillan).

From Mark Copeland... "CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?" Regarding Its Inspiration By God?


                       "CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?"

                   Regarding Its Inspiration By God?

INTRODUCTION

1. Christians accept as their "canon" the 66 books of the Bible...
   a. The 39 books of the Old Testament
   b. The 27 books of the New Testament

2. They view the Bible as "inspired" of God...
   a. Literally, "God-breathed" (Gr., theopneustos)
   b. That its scriptures were given by the Holy Spirit, and are not
      simply the words of men

3. The Bible claims such inspiration...
   a. It speaks of scripture inspired of God - 2Ti 3:16-17
   b. It tells of men speaking as they were moved by the Holy Spirit - 2Pe 1:20-21
   c. It contains claims by those who spoke words revealed by the Spirit - 1Co 2:9-13

[But what evidence is there that Bible is actually inspired of God?
There are several which we will briefly enumerate...]

I. THE UNITY OF THE BIBLE

   A. THE BIBLE CONTAINS 66 BOOKS, WRITTEN...
      1. Over a 1600 year span
      2. Over a period of 40 generations
      3. By approximately 40 authors from every walk of life; e.g.:
         a. Moses, political leader trained in the universities of Egypt
         b. Peter, fisherman
         c. Amos, herdsman
         d. Joshua, military general
         e. Nehemiah, cup bearer to a king
         f. Daniel, prime minister
         g. Luke, a physician
         h. Solomon, king
         i. Matthew, tax collector
         j. Paul, tentmaker and rabbi
      4. In different places
         a. Moses in the wilderness
         b. Jeremiah in a dungeon
         c. Daniel on a hillside and in a palace
         d. Paul inside prison walls
         e. Luke while traveling
         f. John in exile an the isle of Patmos
         g. Others in the rigors of military campaign
      5. At different times
         a. David in times of war
         b. Solomon in times of peace
      6. During different moods
         a. Some writing from the heights of joy
         b. Others from the depths of sorrow and despair
      7. On three continents:  Asia - Africa - Europe
      8. In three languages:  Hebrew - Aramaic - Greek
      9. Which subject matter includes hundreds of controversial topics
         a. The origin of man and the universe
         b. The nature of God
         c. The nature of sin and man's redemption

   B. YET THERE IS HARMONY AND CONTINUITY...
      1. For example:
         a. "The Paradise Lost of the book of Genesis becomes the Paradise Regained of Revelation"
         b. "Whereas the gate to the tree of life is closed in Genesis,
            it is opened forevermore in Revelation." -- Geisler and Nix
      2. Compare the continuity of the Bible with any other such writings of man
         a. Imagine what you would have if you just took ten authors...
            1) From one walk of life, one generation, one place, one
               time, one mood one continent, one language
            2) Speaking on one controversial subject
         b. You would have a conglomeration of ideas, not harmony!

[The reason for the unity of the Bible?  The writers were all moved by
the same Holy Spirit (2Pe 1:20-21), providing evidence that the Bible is inspired!  There is also...]

II. THE SCIENTIFIC FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE

   A. THE NATURE OF THIS ARGUMENT...
      1.  In the Bible there are scientific truths
         a. Unknown by man with all his wisdom and resources
         b. Stated as facts hundreds of years in advance of the discovery of these truths by men
      2. The writers of the Bible could have known these facts only through inspiration
         a. They could not have known such things on their own
         b. They must have had divine help, i.e., inspiration from God

   B. A FEW EXAMPLES...
      1. The roundness of the earth - Isa 40:22
      2. The suspension of the earth in space - Job 26:7
      3. The currents in the seas - Ps 8:8
      4. The springs in the seas - Job 38:16
      5. All nations of one blood - Ac 17:26

[Such things were not known or confirmed by man until modern times, with
the aid of scientific instruments.  Yet such knowledge reveals the
Omniscient Mind that moved the writers of the Bible! More evidence of inspiriation...]

III. THE FULFILLED PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE

   A. THE NATURE OF THIS ARGUMENT...
      1. The prophecies foretold events in detail that were beyond the
         scope of human speculation
      2. How did the writers or speakers do it?
         a. They attributed it to God!
         b. And God declared that such evidence was a proof of His
            existence and superiority over men and all heathen gods - Isa 41:21-24; 42:8-9; 46:8-11

   B. A FEW EXAMPLES...
      1. The fall of Babylon, written two hundred years before it occurred - Isa 13:17-22
      2. The fall of Egypt, that it would be destroyed more by civil war than by outside forces - Isa 19:1-4
      3. The fall of Nineveh, with its utter desolation - Zeph 2:13-15
      4. The fall of Tyre, with its becoming a place for the spreading of nests - Ezek 26:1-5
      5. There are the prophecies concerning Christ - cf. Lk 24:44-45
         a. It has been stated there 332 prophecies fulfilled in Christ - Henry Liddon
         b. The mathematical probability that all could be fulfilled in
            one person by chance alone has been calculated as one in 84
            times ten to the 123rd power (84 followed by 123 zeroes)
         -- Cf. Introduction To Christian Evidences, Ferrell Jenkins,pp. 87-107
      6. There are prophecies by Christ, such as the destruction of
         Jerusalem
         a. Foretold in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21
         b. Fulfilled in A.D. 70, when Rome destroyed Jerusalem

CONCLUSION

1. This study barely touches the hem of the garment...
   a. Volumes have been written on the subject
   b. My purpose has been to summarize the evidence

2. We have examined objective evidence of inspiration, such as...
   a. The unity of the Bible
   b. The scientific foreknowledge of the Bible
   c. The fulfilled prophecies in the Bible

3. There is also the subjective evidence of inspiration that comes by
   simply reading and heeding the Bible - cf. Ro 10:17; Jn 7:16-17

There are some who question whether any can understand the Bible by
simply reading it.  That question we shall address in our next study...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading February 19


Bible Reading 

February 19

The World English Bible

Feb. 19
Genesis 50

Gen 50:1 Joseph fell on his father's face, wept on him, and kissed him.
Gen 50:2 Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel.
Gen 50:3 Forty days were fulfilled for him, for that is how many the days it takes to embalm. The Egyptians wept for him for seventy days.
Gen 50:4 When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the house of Pharaoh, saying, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,
Gen 50:5 'My father made me swear, saying, "Behold, I am dying. Bury me in my grave which I have dug for myself in the land of Canaan." Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father, and I will come again.' "
Gen 50:6 Pharaoh said, "Go up, and bury your father, just like he made you swear."
Gen 50:7 Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, all the elders of the land of Egypt,
Gen 50:8 all the house of Joseph, his brothers, and his father's house. Only their little ones, their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.
Gen 50:9 There went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company.
Gen 50:10 They came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and there they lamented with a very great and sore lamentation. He mourned for his father seven days.
Gen 50:11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, "This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians." Therefore, its name was called Abel Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.
Gen 50:12 His sons did to him just as he commanded them,
Gen 50:13 for his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field, for a possession of a burial site, from Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.
Gen 50:14 Joseph returned into Egypt--he, and his brothers, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.
Gen 50:15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully pay us back for all of the evil which we did to him."
Gen 50:16 They sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father commanded before he died, saying,
Gen 50:17 'You shall tell Joseph, "Now please forgive the disobedience of your brothers, and their sin, because they did evil to you." ' Now, please forgive the disobedience of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
Gen 50:18 His brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, "Behold, we are your servants."
Gen 50:19 Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
Gen 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Gen 50:21 Now therefore don't be afraid. I will nourish you and your little ones." He comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.
Gen 50:22 Joseph lived in Egypt, he, and his father's house. Joseph lived one hundred ten years.
Gen 50:23 Joseph saw Ephraim's children to the third generation. The children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph's knees.
Gen 50:24 Joseph said to his brothers, "I am dying, but God will surely visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."
Gen 50:25 Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."

Gen 50:26 So Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

 

From Gary... A sign for the times


Now, this is a sign;clear, concise, and very straightforward!!!  I you do not heed its instructions, it is because you do not WANT to.  America was founded by those who loved the Bible and yet we have not listened to it. That will be our undoing!!! Lack of a moral compass simply can not exist, for evil will fill whatever void we allow.  If we do not listen, this nation will eventually not continue as a nation.  

THE DO NOT....

Jeremiah, Chapter 6 (WEB)

 10  To whom shall I speak and testify, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they can’t listen. Behold, Yahweh’s word has become a reproach to them. They have no delight in it. 11 Therefore I am full of the wrath of Yahweh. I am weary with holding in. 
“Pour it out on the children in the street,
and on the assembly of young men together;
for even the husband with the wife shall be taken,
the aged with him who is full of days.
  12 Their houses shall be turned to others,
their fields and their wives together;
for I will stretch out my hand on the inhabitants of the land, says Yahweh.”
  13 “For from their least even to their greatest, everyone is given to covetousness;
and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely.
  14 They have healed also the hurt of my people superficially,
saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.
  15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I visit them, they shall be cast down,” says Yahweh.

  16  Thus says Yahweh, “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, ‘Where is the good way?’ and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  



THE LESSON...

Matthew, Chapter 5 (WEB)

1 Seeing the multitudes, he went up onto the mountain. When he had sat down, his disciples came to him.  2 He opened his mouth and taught them, saying, 
  3  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 
  4  Blessed are those who mourn, 
for they shall be comforted. 
  5  Blessed are the gentle, 
for they shall inherit the earth. 
  6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, 
for they shall be filled. 
  7  Blessed are the merciful, 
for they shall obtain mercy. 
  8  Blessed are the pure in heart, 
for they shall see God. 
  9  Blessed are the peacemakers, 
for they shall be called children of God. 
  10  Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, 
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 

  11  Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake.   12  Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

  13  “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.   14  You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden.   15  Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.   16  Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.


I can imagine no more stubborn people than the ancient Israelites. God was patient with them- patient beyond all understanding. Finally, they paid the price for their obduracy. There is a right way- listen to Jesus, and do it.  All else will eventually fail!!!  Spend some time with the beatitudes today, read them several times and think about them- what could possibly produce a better life? Just think about it!!!