Monday, December 10, 2007

"sinless state"

I had a conversation the other day about the stringent demands of some scriptures and how they are beyond our capabilities. How do we look at those texts that demand, seemingly, more than we can live up to. The following paragraph came to my mind and after some searching I found it. I find comfort in this perspective and although it is not the total answer, I think it has a great deal of wisdom in it

"Now, if God did proceed against us as we do against one another, no man could abide innocent for so much as one hour. But God’s judgment is otherwise; he inquires if the heart be right, if our labor be true, if we love no sin, if we use prudent an efficacious instruments to mortify our sin, if we go about our religion as we go about the biggest concerns of our life, if we be sincere and real in our actions and intentions. For this is what God requires of us all; this is that “sinless state,” in which if God does not find us, we shall never see his glorious face; and if he does find us, we shall certainly be saved by the blood of Jesus. For, in the style of scripture, “to be sincere and be without offence,” is all one.
Thus David spake heartily, , “I am utterly purposed that my mouth shall not offend; and thou shalt find no wickedness in me.” He that endeavors this, and hopes this, and does actions and uses means accordingly, not being deceived by his own false heart, nor abused by evil propositions, -- this man will stand upright in the congregations of the just; and, though he cannot challenge heaven by merit, yet he shall receive it as a gift by promise and grace.
For God makes no judgment of us by any measures, but of the commandment without and the heart and the conscience within; but he never intended his laws to be a snare to us, or to entrap us with consequences and dark interpretations, by large deductions and witty similitudes of faults; but he requires of us a sincere heart, and a hearty labor in the work of his commandments; he calls upon us to avoid all that which his law plainly forbids, and which our consciences do condemn. This is the general measure".

"To be sincere and be without offense," or to be sincere is the "sinless state," not that we have no sin, but that our weaknesses are pardoned, when we seek after God with a sincere heart.
I think this is about as close to the truth as one can come.


fcb4 said...

whose the author?

FCB said...

Jeremy Taylor.

Donna said...

"but he never intended his laws to be a snare to us, or to entrap us with consequences and dark interpretations"

Oh, to share this with the world...

FCB said...

Well Donna, you picked out the marrow in this. That is a great line.

Donna said...

The belief in reincarnation holds the same virtue when thinking about gods who 'play' with the lives of their mortal creations.(This version from a Tibetan woman I know) She believes that they are punished in the next life for this life's wrong doings. When I inquired if they were allowed to know what they did wrong so that it could be corrected in this life, the answer was 'no'. Basically , you just have to try to do everything right this time around. Hmmmm...that seems fair.

Also, I'm sure you will find it interesting that to be born a man is the highest honor according to the Tibetans. It means that YOU did everything right in the life before. You can rest well knowing this, Fred. :)