"You must do nothing to come to Jesus" vs "This is what you must do now"


Bob, I agree. Jesus was convicting them of their sin. They knew that what they were doing was not right. They were wolves in sheep’s clothing, out for their own gain. They weren’t loving others as themselves, showing mercy and forgiveness, taking care of the orphans, the fatherless and the widow, caring for the sick, feeding the poor etc.etc.
Nor were they following these commandments: do not murder, covet, cheat, bear false witness, etc.
Many of the prophets were killed for the same reason- speaking the truth.

Forgiving your enemies is different from loving them. As Matt. 6:2 says, no one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." At the time, Israel’s leaders hated God because they were serving another, and if we love God we will hate what is evil as Romans12:19 says, " Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good."
James 4:4 “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God.”
No, we are not to love the KKK or form friendships with them. We are to expose them.


Actually, LLC is presenting a gospel - that many of my friends employ - who are not Christian. Whether they are practicing yoga, Sikhism, Buddhism, Native American spirituality, the Bahia faith or some moderate form of Islam. They are part of a Christian Inclusivism (1,2,3,4).

Anyway, while I am an Eastern Orthodox prospect and an RCIA attendee…this short video and story, was interesting:

Anyway, back to LLC!


[quote=“LLC, post:303, topic:13931, full:true”]

LLC, We only quibble at some points, but I see little evidence that Jesus’ opponents recognized that they “knew” what they did was wrong, or recognized that throttling him was evil (it appears they shared Paul’s sense that they were “blameless”). So I think evil is stronger than that, and able to convince such evil-doers that they were self-righteously opposing a genuine blasphemer who had blatantly trampled on the Law and the holiness of God. As Jesus put it, “they know not what they do.”

I also don’t see how loving enemies doesn’t go hand in hand with loving them. Offering love or friendship to those who are evil is not friendship with the “world.” Nor is opposing and hating evil, the same as hating those who do evil.

Jesus expressly called us to “love” them, and thus to do good toward them. And it seems clear to me that Jesus did offer friendship to those who were evil. Indeed, those who killed him shared your view that God opposes such love, and were deeply offended that Jesus was a friend of such sinners, and thus they believed was reinforcing compromise with evil in Israel that held back God’s deliverance.

So while I agree with your premise that Jesus has much continuity with others, and reiterates the best of the OT tradition, my bias is that you are able to minimize how radically provocative he was, by more comfortably watering down his actual convicting message. It brings me up short in the extreme.


Bob, I believe you underestimate the reality of the situation. Yes, they knew exactly what they were doing. They had become an oppressive religious state, loving power and wealth more than God. I’d say they loved their enemies a bit too much.

Jesus said this: You brood of vipers! Many will say in that day Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in your name…And I will declare to them "I never knew you, depart from Me you who practice lawlessness.
Just a question:
Do you think that those who kept slaves in the South didn’t know what they were doing?


LLC, we do seem to differ on the capacity of evil to sear the human conscience. Just as Paul thought he was “blameless” in his ‘zeal for God’ in killing Christians, I see no evidence that those who sought Jesus’ death thought their enterprise was any less righteous. Indeed, your assumption that they “knew exactly” that “they had become an oppressive religious state” appears to deny the reality that evil enables them to believe that they were the oppressed chosen people who needed to stamp out blatant law breakers like Jesus, and so show their love for God in order to gain His favor and deliverance.

And yes, I likewise see many who supported slavery as not sharing your view of what they were doing at all, but deeply convinced it was a righteous institution. All one needs to do is to see which side quoted the most Scripture as endorsing its’ practice and how they repeatedly cite what a favor slavery provides to needy African primitives. What makes you so sure that people can’t often rationalize what they do, or be as Jesus said, “those who know not what they do”?


Well, I’m reading through the Patheos Catholic and Evangelical newsletters today. This one struck me, since it’s from the Evangelical newsletter. Let me quote a couple, of interesting paragraphs from it:

When approaching any study of a section of scripture, regardless of the amount of the text, it’s a good idea to gather the context of the letter or book. Who wrote it? Why did they write? Who was it to? Basic questions, like these, serve us in understanding what is being said. Without context, we can get quickly get led astray and draw wild conclusions.

One of my favorite examples of how easily the point can be missed when the context is lost comes from a friend of mine who observed a Daily Inspirational Verse Calendar at a relative’s house (pictured). We have all seen these; each day there is new verse for you to read and meditate on. In this case the verse reads “ If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine ,” from Luke 4:7.

This verse, by itself and with no context, sounds quite powerful and awe inspiring indeed. Yet, if we take a moment to explore the context, we learn that it is actually Satan speak here as he is tempting Jesus in the wilderness! That GREATLY changes how you might interpret and apply this verse. Context is critical.


Who, what, where, why, when…


Luke 16:14 "The Pharisees who were lovers of money, heard all these things and ridiculed Him.
Jer. 6:13 "For the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness.

The Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule are pretty clear. The book of Proverbs seems pretty plain and straight forward.

They were seeking favors from their wealthy, powerful friends. They didn’t care about God. That’s why their priesthood was taken away.
John 12:43 For they loved the approval of men, more than the approval of God."

I suppose this would be a case of the blind leading the blind. In any event, America was founded on the belief that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among them are life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness.

It seems you want to make excuses for man’s behavior, as if God gave us no brains.


LLC, I perceive that I present an interpretation of texts and you often just again repeat your own contrary belief without engaging my evidence. Here you do offer supposed counter texts, but they do not address my claim at all or begin to show that the Pharisees were not blind or self-righteous, or knew that seeking Jesus’ death was evil.

It’s as if you are seeking to prove that the Pharisees were evil, loved money and were covetous. But no one disputes that!! Our debate is over whether evil goes even deeper than that.

The OT’s supposed ‘golden rule’ was not clear because Leviticus defines it in context as applying to their own kind. And the ten commandments law against killing did not clearly rule out killing someone perceived as a blasphemer. For the Law required killing many Jews for far less.

What we are debating is whether the apostles are correct that evil can make people “blind, deceived, and dead in trespasses in sin.” And whether Jesus held that those who killed him are those “who know not what they do.” As I said, my own observation of human ability to rationalize evil makes me doubt that Jesus and the apostles are nuts here.

I think you exalt sinful human ‘brains’ too much.


It is very important to distinguish between the verb “love” and “have love feelings toward.”
Love is not an emotion; it is helpful action.

To have love feelings toward an enemy does no good whatever. But to pray for them, or help them if they are in need can do a great deal of good, one of which may lead them to cease hating you—to cease being your enemy.


The Golden Rule in Eight Religions

Christianity So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Confucianism Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. (Analects 12:2)

Buddhism Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Udana-Varga 5,1)

Hinduism This is the sum of duty; do nothing to others what you would not have them do to you. (Mahabharata 5,1517)

Islam No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. (Sunnah)

Judaism What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. (Talmud, Shabbat 3id)

Taoism Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.(Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien)

Zoroastrianism That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatever is not good for itself. (Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5)


Bob, As Moses says, love the STRANGER.
Love your neighbor-one who lives close or borders directly on; a fellow human being.
Do not murder means don’t murder

I’m not understanding your point. Do not covet is one of the Ten Commandments. The Pharisees were obviously not obeying this Law. As I said before, It’s not that people don’t know the words of God, it’s that they don’t obey.

As Paidion points out here:

From what I understand, love is a strong affection or deep devotion to someone. No Jesus was not telling you to love your enemy. His teaching was not new.
As it says in the Old Testament, do not bear a grudge or seek vengeance.
Proverbs 25:21 " If your enemy is hungry give him food to eat and if he is thirsty give him water to drink."


LLC, on each of your points, we differ on exegesis (and how Jews read their texts)

On reference 1, Leviticus 19:17,18 make clear that “neighbor” does NOT mean a close by or ‘fellow human being;’ it specifies an “Israelite among you.”

On 2, Jews did not interpret killing blasphemers as “murder.” The Law demanded it, and they can perceive killing a false prophet as righteous (much less that they knew killing Jesus was evil)

On 3, again, no one doubts Pharisees coveted. But that’s irrelevant to proving that they recognized killing Jesus as coveting. As Paul puts it, they were able to construe such killing as “zeal for God.”

On 4’s Jesus “not saying to love your enemies,” He says in Mt 5:43, “I tell you, love your enemies (and do good to them) so that you may be children of your Father.” If we can’t agree that “love your enemies” was trying to convey “love… your… enemies,” our way of reading such texts sharply differs.


Bob, Moses makes clear in Deut. 10:19 " Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."
stranger-foreigner, outsider, alien
As Paidion pointed out this law was in a lot of other religions as well.
The fact that they weren’t doing this was to their own fault.

As I said before, the Lev. law was false from the beginning. Moses recognized this and that’s why they weren’t a part of Israel and they weren’t the rulers. Yes, they knew what they were doing. As Jesus said they were a brood of vipers, cunning snakes. Cunning-skilled in deception, clever

Love means zeal, enjoyment, attachment, delight, devotion etc.etc. and that’s exactly what they were doing, loving a false god and not the God of Israel.


LLC, Your responses do not refute my contentions.

On 1, no one denies the OT says to love strangers; but that doesn’t prove that Pharisees did not easily think Jesus was a false prophet who qualified for execution under God’s Law.

On 2, you essentially confirm my argument that OT Law provided a basis for them believing they knew it was justified. You just argue that Biblical Law they went by is false. I personally reject it too, but that’s irrelevant to what they believed.

On 3 & 4, I never disputed that crucifiers loved a false god. But noting that you and I recognize that does nothing to show that they knew it was wicked, nor show that Jesus does not actually say that his followers were to “love your enemies” (Mt 5:43).

In short, I don’t see how any of your observations address any actual contention here.



Bob, it was not God’s law. It was man’s, just as Jesus, the prophets and his apostles state. For example, the slave laws of the South did not come from God, they were the makings of men.

I don’t think man lives in total darkness. If this were so, we would be like animals who devour their prey and have no knowledge of this being right or wrong. On the contrary God has given all men a “light”. We may try to hide from it, cover it up, run from it etc. but we cannot escape it.

No offense, but you and I will have to disagree. I think love is too strong of a word here. As I mentioned before, I’m not going to love someone who likes to torture, rape, and murder others. I don’t delight in them or have any warm feelings of affection for them. To me it means nothing more than what was already previously stated in the verses of the Bible. Do not hold a grudge,hate them in your heart, or seek vengeance, but wait on the Lord. And as Jesus said, in that day He will say depart from Me you workers of lawlessness.


LLC, You don’t appear to recognize that you repeatedly reinforce my contentions.
Here, my interpretation was that Jesus is portrayed as actually using such strong words.

When you repeatedly insist that everyone ‘knows’ what you believe you know, you seem to incorrectly assume that everyone handles texts like you do. E.g. on our central dispute, you seem to assume that the Pharisees all knew that the parts of the OT that you like are true, but that the Levitical law that they used to justify killing Jesus was bogus. But there’s no evidence for that. They actually used such texts to endorse their actions and their seared conscience.

Here, you appear to agree with my contention that the text does have Jesus commanding that you “love” your enemies, but then assume that we all know that his own word usage here is “too strong.”
But not everyone assumes that Jesus didn’t use the right words. As I’ve said, he challengingly spells out how love for evil enemies constitutes doing good toward them, and seeking their ultimate welfare.

Your points might be more effective if you’d say up front that you are not necessarily debating what the text teaches, since you see some of it as false and perverse, and others of it as using words that are wrongly too strong. Then, you could defend your conviction that your own sensibilities are superior to such texts (and I might again defend you in doing that).


I’m not 100% sure this was for me but if so, Bob, you are not taking the BIG - Long term view of freedom in the USA as opposed to the rest of the world. The very idea of an armed citizenry was to insure that law abiding citizens were not only taking part in civic duties but were able to derail the government when and if they decided to do bad things to the citizens.


It is possible that somehow the site put my response in a different thread. They alerted me to it and to be honest they gave me two choices and I took one. Might have been the wrong one.

Sorry if it was so. But my answer to Bob is thus the same.