13For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (Rom 2:)
22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:)
26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:)
10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:)
24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Mat 16:)
Those of us in America have to pay tax on our income, even when we've made no money during the year. When we earn so little that we have nothing to declare or deduct, we're allowed to fill out what's called a "short form" instead of the very long and tedious long form those with money are required to fill out.
Income tax forms are not the only item that comes in both the long and the short form. Those who are involved with the martial arts are very likely acquainted with what is called the short form.
In religion, especially the Christian religion, the short form is also to be found, although not recognized as or called such. The short form is a paper, a pamphlet, or a booklet handed to those who attend a given denomination. On this booklet or paper is what is considered a condensed version of what God is "trying" to say in His long form, that is, the Bible.
In the short form of an income tax form or a martial arts movement, certain elements are left out, things considered none-essential for those not seeking all the benefits afforded those who need, or who desire to complete the long form. If, however, we wish to take advantage of all the benefits provided by the one who supplies the long form, then we can't make proper use of the short form.
On the long form of the Bible certain words are used, and repeated often, even demonstrated with examples given. These explanations, pictures (called parables) and demonstrations are not included in the short form many, if not most, Christians rely upon for their Spiritual understanding. Some of the words found in the long form are very short, too short in fact to even be noticed, so therefore left out of the short form. Words denoting condition such as "If," which is used in conjunction with every promise given is one of those words excluded from the short form, even though the promise attached to the conditional word seems to have no problem finding lots of space on the short form.
By leaving out these short words, the short form can be kept all the shorter, making the short form all that much more appealing to those who do not desire to spend the time necessary to read and follow the instructions on the long form.
Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
At the beginning of this story I presented some random verses as examples of what has been left out of the short form God has provided us with. If I presented all the words and phrases similar to, and with the same meanings as the ones I've included above, the short form would then be as long as the long form we're trying to avoid.
In these words from the long form we see that a message is given those who seek to be Christians. This message states that the Christian is to be a doer of the Word. It says that those who only hear the Word are merely deceiving themselves if they aren't doing what they hear. Is this what the short form you've been given states? If so, you must be attending a different church than I do, because "do" is a forbidden word where I come from.
Most religions could be counted as "doer" religions because a great deal is expected of their followers. On the flip side of the coin, other than a few denominations counted as cults by the Mainline denominations, the short form of Christianity is more of a don't form of religion. The short form, contrary to the long form, indicates that doing is not the thing to do. This is true, even though the long form that the short form is taken from is a very "do or else" form of religion.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
In this portion of the long form we see that if a person thinks they can say whatever they want to say, then their religion is vain, which means, it's nothing of value. Like what we read above, such people are only deceiving themself.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Along with the do's provided in the long form, are some don'ts, things that we as Christians are not to do. If we do the don'ts, then we're only fooling ourselves if we expect to receive the rewards those who don't do the don'ts are going to receive, just as those who don't do the do's are deceiving themselves and will miss out on the rewards.
Here we see some do's the doer's are doing in order to keep in line with what the Writer of the long form desires of those who take on His name. In the parable of the sheep and the goats we have this same picture presented, with even more included in the long form then what is included here. In addition we find the consequences for only filling out the short form and not taking advantage of what the long form has to offer.
Among the do's presented here in this passage is a clearly defined don't. This don't is vividly demonstrated by the nation of Israel who violated this don't, as well as is the consequences for the violation of this don't. And don't bother looking for this don't in your short form, it won't be included in the text. If perchance you missed the part of the verse I'm referring to, it's at the very end where we're told we must not compromise ourself with the things of this world. And in case you think it's on the short form but you just happened to miss it, look around at those in your church, especially the elders and the pastor, and see if they're separated from the things of the world. If this was on your short form, then surely they must have missed it as you have, don't you think?
If ye keep my commandments
The long form makes much use of the word "Commandments." But seeing as how this word is so long, and so frequently used, the writers of the short form, for our benefit, have left out this tedious and complicated word.
The problem with leaving out this word is that, like the final line on our tax form, the line that tells us how much we're to get back from what we paid in, the rewards offered in the long form are excluded from the short form.
Ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
Here's one of those demonstrations I mentioned earlier. If we wonder what Jesus meant when He says to obey the commandments, we have the answer (left out of the short form) to what He means. He said to obey, as He obeys. And how did Jesus obey the Father? For the answer to this question you'll have to consult the long form, because, again for our convenience, the writers of the short form have left out this un-important answer.
"Abide" is another word that doesn't fit well on the short form, so it has either been abbreviated to mean it no longer exists, or it has been left out entirely. Abide means to live, to remain, or as the long form states, to "endure to the end." If we pull back, if we don't continue in His Word, and we don't obey His commandments, then we're not abiding in His love, and we become dead branches. And what is it the long form says about dead branches or those that don't abide on the vine?
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Certain words fit easier on the short form than do others. For instance, we see here that the reason Jesus spoke these words, the words intended for those who follow Him and obey the commandments is so their joy might be full. The words "joy might be full" fits the short form very easily, so it's to be found, without words obey, commandments, and remain on the vine, words too long for the short form.
This is my commandment,
While the short form states that there are no more commandments, that commandments were for those who lived under the Old Covenant, Jesus goes ahead as if He hasn't heard this doctrine and tells us that He has a commandment that must be followed.
That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
The long form states unequivocally that there is a commandment that must be followed, and it again demonstrates exactly what is meant by the statement. Here Jesus says we're to love others as He loves us. How much does Jesus and the Father love us? The short form likes to point at the verse John 3:16 as an example of the ultimate love the Father, therefore Jesus, has for us. Taking this example, we find that the long form states that we are to love one another sacrificially, all the way to the end. But, as usual, that portion of the Scripture does not fit the short form, so it has been left out, again, for our benefit.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
"Deny oneself" is another combination of words that do not fit the short form. Just imagine if such words were to be included in the short form. Then the short form would no longer be short, and no one would read it nor accept what it says. So for our benefit, these obscure and unnecessary words have been excluded from the short form.
Some short forms include the "take up your cross" because it sounds nice. But what the short form and the long form means by take up your cross is entirely different from one another. Jesus seems to mean, to take up one's cross and climb upon it as He did, in other words to sacrifice oneself for others. The short form interprets the words to mean to accept nicely some not-so-nice words said about us around the water cooler.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Jesus says some strange things sometimes. An example of this strange and undecipherable talk is what He says here. What does He mean by lose our life? And how do we find what hasn't been lost?
In order to prevent complication and to save us from trying to figure out what Jesus meant by these words, the writers of the short form have excluded them. Again, for our benefit.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Have you given thought to this question Jesus posed? Have you come up with an answer? Jesus seems to connect this question with His preceding thought, that is, that if we don't take up our cross, and that daily, and sacrifice ourself, then our soul will be lost. But as we read in the short form, those who have been baptized have placed themself outside the realm of becoming lost, so, as the short form intimates, what Jesus says is for the non-believer, those who are lost already, and not for those who call themself Christian.
Again, to save us from confusion, the words of the long form have been either left out of the short form, or smoothed over so they read much easier than they do in the long form.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
There's one word used often in the long form that just can not be squeezed on to the short form no matter how hard the writers of the short form try. And although the long form uses this word, and stresses the importance of following the meaning of this word, it just refuses to become part of the short form. So in order to save us from having to deal with a word that has no meaning as far as the short form goes, this word has not only been excluded, but it has been outlawed.
The short form is indeed much easier to understand and comply with than is the long form. But I can't help but wonder:
What's going to happen to those who are counting on their short form allowing them to pass the Judgement Seat when what is spelled out on the long form is going to be used for determining one's admission into the Pearly Gates?
7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Gal 6:)
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