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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Usefulness Of Lists

ANTHONY DOES – MY BLOGI think it is important to recognize that no one is really against lists.  To be against them is to be against a divinely recognized method of organizing truth.  God is a God of lists again the most famous being the Ten Commandments.  Allow me to make a brief list of some of God's lists:

Exodus 20:3-17
Romans 1:29-32
Romans 12:9-19
Romans 13:13,14
1 Corinthians 5:11
1 Corinthians 6:9,10
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Galatians 5:19-23
Ephesians 4:25-32
Ephesians 5:11-21
Ephesians 6:13-18
Philippians 4:5-8
Colossians 3:5,8
Colossians 3:12-22
Colossians 4:5,6
1 Thessalonians 5:11-22
1 Timothy 2:9
1 Timothy 3:1-13
1 Timothy 4:12
1 Timothy 6:11
2 Timothy 2:22,24
2 Timothy 3:1-5
Titus 1:6-9
Titus 3:1-3
Hebrews 13:1-7
1 Peter 2:1,17
2 Peter 1:5-7

Here is a list of 28 passages where God himself lists things that please him and things that don't.  All of these passages are lists that God made.  They range in length from just a few to many.  None of the lists are exhaustive.  An exhaustive list is likely impossible and probably unnecessary.

Forget the lists, our focus should be Jesus and just striving to be like Him.  OK, that's great.  I want to be like Jesus.  How do I know what Jesus was like?  I guess I would have to read the Gospels.  No sooner do I start reading than I begin to see things that Jesus did and some things he didn't do.  I begin to see the way he dealt with different people in different circumstances.  I begin to realize that Jesus is this way and he is not that way.  I think we are going to find it a rare person who does not find themselves reverting back to a list.  If I want to be like Jesus then I will behave this way, and I will not behave that way.

The Bible tells us what pleases God - that could be a list.
The Bible tells us what displeases God - that could be a list.

I want to please God.  I may be too simple minded for my own good.  But I figure if the Bible says something pleases God and I do that thing then I am pleasing God when I do it.  If the Bible says something displeases God and I do that thing then I am displeasing God when I do it.

I am just one of those old-fashioned preachers that believe once we are saved we can and should please God and that the Bible tells us how.

Romans 8:8 - So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
1 Thessalonians 4:1 - Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
2 Timothy 2:4 - No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Part of the difficulty is the blurring of lines between justification and sanctification.  We can keep no list, no matter how short, for the purposes of justification.  Adam and Eve had one item on their list and failed.  This is our story.  If one thinks he is going to be justified and declared not guilty because he has kept any kind of a list he is sadly and tragically mistaken. This is the essence of legalism!

But, being born again and justified through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ we are set by God on a path of sanctification.   It is a path that is intended to make us more like his Son, and consequently more pleasing to him and more useful.

Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth".  Paul made mention of the “washing of the water by the word.”  Why??  Because in the Holy Scripture we discover what it is that pleases and displeases God.  The more we commit ourselves to living by faith which results in obeying his word we will do more of the things that please him and fewer of the things that displease him, and in the process we become more like his Son.

The Psalmist stated it simply: Psalms 119:9 - Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

I have it on my list to add a few concluding thoughts.
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