The Teachings of Jesus and Salvation
We can forgive and be forgiven, and have the joy that thanksgiving produces. From the “Sermon on the Mount, we hear in Luke 6:37-38 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you.
We can never have peace in our world until the teachings of Jesus are not only accepted in principle but applied. Capital punishment is one of the great sins and tragedies, but is amazingly accepted by a large majority of Christians in America.
We must separate the Old Testament from the New Testament, and reject the Biblical endorsement of violence. The Next Reformation will deliberate on Capital Punishment, and the meaning of life.
Illustration for an early 1900's Bible Lesson.
Luke 6:31 "Do to others as you would have them do to you."
This saying is commonly called the Golden Rule and it could help save the world. In a rather naive and simple argument, we can show that if all people (perhaps, except the masochists) followed this teaching, then the world would be a more peaceful place.
|For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction is a version of the Golden Rule in the words of Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion applied to the world of mechanics and physics.
|Karma is based on the natural law of Cause and Effect which is a result of action and reaction.
Job 4:8 As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. As ye sow, so shall ye reap. The Hebrews and their moral code have had significant impact on civilization. But we have also seen evolution of morality from the Old Testament Exodus 21:24 “an eye for an eye” teachings.
In Buddhist Literature Udana-Varga 5.18 "Treat not others in ways that you your selve would find hurtful."
All of the major religions appear to have some similar teachings.
Jesus and the Pharisees
colored woodcut from
"Das Plenarium oder Ewangely Buoch", 1516.
Luke 10:25-28 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as as yourself.“ And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
These are the two commandments for life. Life here on earth and for any future life after this. On occasion, when believers are challenged with Jesus’ discussion of the requirements for Salvation and Eternal Life in Luke (loving God and neighbor leading to eternal life), a common response is: “then that makes the cross meaningless - and the Christian faith worthless”. No so. Perhaps from that believer’s point of view, but this idea of loving God and loving neighbor will actually save the world, if we are all able to follow those two commandments.
Perhaps Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross will save us in some way, on some plane or in the next life, but Luke’s lesson of the testing by the lawyer is quite clear. By loving God we will generally follow a righteous path. By loving our neighbor, we will avoid killing, stealing, lying and other deceitful actions and this will make a safer and more peaceful world and will put us on a higher path critical for positive evolution.
Crucifixion, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1503, Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.
There has never been a mechanism proposed of how the Son of God’s sacrifice could effect the Salvation of Man. That is, how can it happen, by what method can it occur? But there is plenty of reasoning and justification of how taking up our own cross and being like Christ, could save us.
This is not to demean the value of the cross, but rather to open Christianity’s view of the Kingdom and to make it more inclusive. The cross shows us a path, the way.
It is not so much a gift given to us, as showing us how to bear our own crosses.