Separated Unto God – Selected Scriptures
“Be ye not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.”
Jesus, “Follow me”
Jesus, “Come unto me”
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations–“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using–according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
“Be ye holy for I am holy?
Leviticus – numerous times
Because it is written, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
I Peter 1:16
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you”
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
“My Kingdom is not of this world…”
Separated Unto God – Two Kinds of Obedience
An early Anabaptist tract spoke of Two Kinds of Obedience. One kind of obedience is based on a slavish following of law. The other kind of obedience is based on the love of a child for the Father. This tract was apparently written sometime before 1530 by one of the Swiss Brethren. The message is timely and timeless. It is amazing how the early Swiss Brethren were so Spirit-led that they were able to write and live the values of the New Testament so distinctly.
The writing goes on and on describing ways in which these concepts of law and love differ. Love obedience is higher than law obedience. Love obedience does not “have to” but “wants to.” Love obedience was a major component of the early Anabaptist Church. Love obedience is desperately needed today also.
Following are some examples/excerpts of the wisdom of this tract. These examples are edited for ease of understanding.
Law does what is specifically commanded.
Love never tires of obedience because of love for the truth.
Law is imperfection.
Love strives for perfection.
Law follows Moses.
Love follows Christ.
Law produces self willed and vindictive people.
Love produces peaceable and mild-mannered people.
Law is self-focused.
Love is other-focused.
Law is self-willed.
Love is joyful.
Law is for time
Love is for eternity.
Law is figure and shadow.
Love is realty and truth.
Law leads to hatred of God and neighbor.
Love leads to love of God and neighbor.
Law permitted swearing.
Love does not permit swearing.
Law permitted hatred for enemies.
Love loves those who hate
Love blesses those who harm
Love keeps no record of wrong.
Love gives with no record of giving.
Love prays secretly.
Love condemns no one.
Love fasts without outward show.
Love is light.
Love is a city on a hill.
Love is good salt.
Love is a good eye that lightens the whole body.
Love takes no anxious thought but daily lives for God.
Love does not cast pearls before swine.
Love does not give what is holy to dogs.
Love seeks, asks, knocks, finds, receives through the open door.
Love is a good tree that brings forth good fruit.
Love does the will of the Father.
Love stands against the gates of hell.
Love enters the straight and narrow way.
Love is built on Christ the chief cornerstone.
Love stands against the wrathful judgment of Pharisees and Scribes.
Love is a house and temple of God.
Love is where God really dwells.
Love is now maligned by the Pharisees as a habitation of the Devil.
Law is the Old Testament.
Love is the New Testament.
If a man wants to escape from sin, he must first hate it. And if he would hate it, he must first personally know it. It is the law, or Scripture that does this. For as much as the law demands, that much more the man turns from God to that which he has done, and justifies himself by his ceremonial accomplishments. The greater his love for his accomplishments becomes, the more and the greater will grow his hatred for God and for his neighbor. For the more and the closer a man clings to the creature, the farther he is from God. The more he desires the creature, the less he will have of the Creator.
The house of the Pharisees and scribes did not put their heart in their obedience.
May we, as current believers, learn from our fore-parents and put our hearts into our obedience and live the life of love for God and neighbor.
Separated Unto God – J. C. Wenger
During the last century, when Mennonites in North America made the transition from German to English, they suddenly found themselves cut off from the writings of Menno Simons, Dirck Philips, T.J. van Braght, and Thomas von Imbroich, as well as their confessions of faith, catechisms, and devotional literature. This brought about a certain disorientation, a cutting loose from the historical moorings.
…there arose a generation of leaders who were but superficially acquainted with the fundamental doctrines and insights of the Anabaptist forefathers. These new leaders attempted to formulate singlehandedly the outlines of a theology which would give our people a renewed sense of mission and thus prevent the further exodus of the ablest young people, and subsequent disintegration of the group. These formulations tended to cluster about nonresistance, nonconformity, and the ordinances: but nonresistance was thought of too exclusively in terms of a rejection of military service in time of war and little effort was made to develop a broad social ethic in terms of New Testament Christianity; nonconformity was often misunderstood as involving merely the maintenance of a cultural status quo rather than a dynamic spiritual tension with a Christ-rejecting world; and there developed an enumeration of “ordinances” which was utterly foreign to the Anabaptist tradition, as well as an undue emphasis on outward forms.
Selected quotes from Introduction to Theology, J. C. Wenger (1954) p.vii.
Note- many of the German writings have been translated and are available in English.
When Shame is driving us we do not “have” feelings; feelings “have” us. (I capitalize Shame to indicate it has personal qualities.) Our feelings cause us to do things we would not do if we were thinking straight. Shame messes up our thinking so he can dominate our behavior. This is a demonic influence; we have little power over it while it is happening. Shame will have the upper hand until we openly share our pain in a safe place. But Shame blocks us from sharing.
On Word Ministries
Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Hosea 6:7 But, like Adam, they have broken the covenant. They have acted like traitors against Me there.
Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
II Corinthians 11:2-3 For I am jealous for you with Godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
I Timothy 2:13-14 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Ephesians 5:25-27, 32
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
You were not deceived
You ate the fruit
You sinned willfully
You broke the covenant God made with you
You are guilty
Your sin caused death to reign in the human family
Love your wife
Enough to die for her
Be jealous for her
Betroth her to yourself alone
Do not allow your mind to follow deception
Do not eat the fruit
Live for her
Wash her with the water of the word
Present only her to yourself
So she will be holy and without blemish to you alone
Your care for her must be the same as the care of Christ for His Church
That is the call on your life
That is the call of God on your life
Are you doing that?
Do not be silent
We need you
Where are you?
“I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity.”
Robert E. Lee
John Bradshaw, in “Healing the Shame that Binds You,” wrote, “Healthy shame is the psychological foundation of humility. But, he continued, “To have shame as an identity is to believe that one’s being is flawed, that one is defective as a human being.” Very early in life we reject our authentic self and fabricate a false self to cover our shame. That false self is what Paul called the Old Man. The false self must be crucified so the authentic self can emerge.
Vulnerability is the way to be heal shame. When someone we respect opens up to expose their weaknesses “without shame,” others can begin the process of overcoming their own fear of exposure. Jesus modeled this way. He allowed his humanity to be exposed “despising the shame” on the cross.
On Word Ministries morning meditation