Already Included #15: A Spiritual Evolution – Justice

Whew! I’ve been meaning to write on John MacMurray’s new book “A Spiritual Evolution” as I am reading it. However, life has been so busy that I haven’t been able to do more than read it. However, I had to take time out tonight to comment on Chapter 7. The theme of the chapter is justice. Without spoiling how John masterfully articulates the old view with the new-to-us view, I’ll share a few thoughts.

There is so much to take away from Chapter 7, however the biggest practical application for me was considering whether I truly want restoration or vengeance towards those who have harmed me? I think back and I realize more often than not I want others to hurt as badly as they’ve hurt me.

Understandable some might say. But I have dressed up my desire for them to hurt by cloaking it in the illusion of religious piety. I’ve made God out to be their punisher instead of me.

That’s helped me move on in the face of such great pain and suffering. That has helped me put one foot in front of the other. And should we tell the victim fresh out of tragedy that they should desire the offender’s restoration? I wouldn’t dare! Even God says be angry. And do not sin.

This is the messy, messy business of real life and relationship versus religion.

Maybe this is the reason the theme of forgiveness keeps coming up in my life. I’ve run the gamut from repeatedly exposing myself to people who have hurt me because I incorrectly thought God wanted me to do that. All the way through to allowing myself to be angry, then learning how to protect myself, and now this. Now this. Like a ton of bricks.

Maybe forgiveness doesn’t just mean we only choose not to punish them. Maybe forgiveness also means at some point, organically through the Love of the Trinity being poured into us and the power of Holy Spirit, eventually we can actually want the offender to be restored in the sense of regaining their health. Not in the sense of necessarily letting them back into our lives.

I hope John continues to explore this in his book. This is not a book to rush through if you can relate to John’s journey. The implications of what he is saying are many and warrant time spent in contemplation. And action.

How many relationships has this desire for vengeance impacted in my life?! Moving on requires substantial efforts in letting go of ego. But then also dealing with past hurts. These modern day frustrations do not often warrant the responses I give them. There is still that sting of being wronged years ago that is so easily hit upon as I am still waiting for my version of justice to be served all this time later. I am still waiting for the news that they feel some level of pain that makes them understand what they have done and feel sorry enough to humble themselves and make amends.

And probably the latter part of that is necessary to restore relationship. But do I actually want to see them recover from their fall and be happy and successful? How “fair” do I feel it is for me to be imprisoned by this pain for so many years and then see them successful and doing well without going through at least the same amount of pain? I do not want this on my own. And yet I do not want to face my own version of justice for my own failures. Aye, the quandary!

Thank God that He is faithful to complete the work He starts in us. Easier said on paper than put into practice. But He doesn’t leave us for one second. We are not abandoned. We are not punching bags. We are not doormats. Somehow all this works out on a supernatural level.

For now we ask Holy Spirit for comfort, direction, understanding, and strength. One step at a time. Trinity has always been and always will be for us more than we are for ourselves. And to that we can rest and say “amen”.

Who Are We Exalting?

Have you ever struggled with condemnation? I thought the message by Nick Padovani in the video embedded at the very bottom of this post was maybe one of the best messages I’ve ever heard in regards to spiritual warfare. I highly recommend it. Goes along some lines of what I wrote in a separate post earlier today. Makes me so excited – Holy Spirit on fire and on the move!

The following are some of my favorite quotes from the message and then some additional information I found elsewhere on Romans 8:1.

“Satan loves to operate through religion. He loves to masquerade through a religiosity… And today, there is so much that’s masquerading as religion that really just wants to condemn and steal. It might look spiritual. It might have all the right words. But underneath that fasting, prophesying voice is many times jealousy, selfishness, and false humility.”

“If satan can get you to allow condemnation in your heart, that’s all he needs to steal joy, peace, and love from expressing itself in your soul.”

“He’s not as interested in the sin itself as in the effect of the sin on your conscious.”

“Satan goes after your heart. He goes after your innocence. He goes after the true identity within. He goes for your heart and he shoots these fiery arrows of condemnation and fear in order to get that guilt process started. The shame which then leads to the condemnation. Which leads to the closing out of life, of your inheritance from bursting forth like a river inside of you. So notice, I’m not saying he actually steals The Spirit from you. He wants you to think that. What he does is he steals the ability for The Spirit to flow freely in your life. So we have to put on the breastplate of righteousness. So another question, is that the breastplate of YOUR righteousness? …The breastplate of righteousness is Jesus’ righteousness. It’s His truth about you. It’s how The Father sees you and feels about you… Have you ever heard the gospel?”

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are IN Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

Why did I leave off the rest of what you might see of Romans 8:1 in your Bible? I’ll end by asking you to read the following from Precept Austin:

“If you are reading Romans 8:1 in the KJV (translated from the Greek Textus Receptus) you will note the added phrase “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

“The Nestle-Aland and Westcott and Hort Greek texts do not consider this phrase as legitimate. It is probable that a copyist inadvertently picked up the phrase from Romans 8:4 which has the identical wording.”

“Can you see how this additional phrase leads to a slightly different interpretation of ‘no condemnation’? Paul is not basing his declaration of no condemnation upon our conduct, but upon our position (in Christ). While it is true that those who are in Christ should not and do not consistently walk according to the flesh, this is not a condition for their status of ‘no condemnation’ and for that we are thank our merciful Father for the wisdom and perfection of His plan of salvation.”

“The Net Bible also adds this note: ‘The earliest and best witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western texts have no additional words for v1. Both the external evidence and the internal evidence are completely compelling for the shortest reading. The scribes were obviously motivated to add such qualifications (interpolated from v4), for otherwise Paul’s gospel smelled too much of grace.’!”

“Dr Harry Ironside has an interesting thought on the variation in translations remarking that ‘Careful students of the original text discover that the last part of Romans 8:1 in the King James version is an interpolation properly belonging to verse 4 [Romans 8:4]. The magnificent statement that opens Romans 8 – “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” – requires no qualifying clause. Our justification does not depend on our walk. Freedom from condemnation is given to all who are in Christ, and to be in Him means to be of the new creation. A glance at the Revised version or any critical translation will show that what I am pointing out is sustained by all the editors. It was man’s innate aversion to sovereign grace, I am certain, that brought these qualifying words into the text of the King James version. It seemed too much to believe that freedom from condemnation depended solely on being in Christ Jesus and not on our walking after the Spirit.'”

Empty pockets, open hands. 💞💗