Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
Part 1. Our Father who art in Heaven.
Thus begins the familiar words that most of Christendom has known since childhood. But Jesus told the Jews, John 8:31-59, "You are of your father the devil," when they would have laid claim to being children of God and descendents of Abraham. So, you see, there are two families.
How then can we claim "Our Father…" with any assurance of truth" The Jews, addressed by Jesus, were the ones who had believed him when he spoke in the temple. Yet when Jesus challenged them, they responded, "Have we not rightly said you have a devil?" "Who do you say you are?" "Are you greater than our father Abraham?"
Saying the words, "Our Father…" is not enough. Believing is not enough. Customs, traditions, and ritual are of no use. Far from being a familiar bromide about "God being the Father of all mankind," this is a statement about a choice we have made, a declaration of our deliberate alignment with God's purposes on Earth and within His people.
"He who is of God hears the words of God: the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God," said Jesus. Abraham was called God's friend because he heard God's voice and followed that voice. If you are Abraham's children, you do the deeds of Abraham.
Perhaps you say, "I have tried with all my might to hear God's voice and do what He says. But I can't. I can't ascend into heaven to fetch His words, nor can I descend to the place of the dead to consult with the holy men of old." Moses told the Jews, "The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it."
John said, "In the beginning was the word… In him is life and the life is the light of men." Those who receive this light are given the power to become sons of God. Jesus told the Jews in the John 8 passage, "If you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free." Thus you are no longer committers and slaves of sin, you are sons of the household of God. Here is your deliberate choice.
Edward Burrough states in the introduction to Vol. 3 of the Works of Fox, pp. 12-13, "And we found this light to be a sufficient teacher to lead us to Christ from whence this light came, and thereby it gave us to receive Christ, and to witness him to dwell in us; and through it the new covenant we came to enter into, to be made heirs of life and salvation. And in all things we found the light which we were enlightened withal, (which is Christ,) to be alone and only sufficient to bring to life and eternal salvation; and that all who did own the light in them which Christ hath enlightened every man withal, they needed no man to teach them, but the Lord was their teacher, by his light in their own consciences, and they received the holy anointing."
Therefore it is with the full consciousness of having been removed from the family of the devil, a liar and murderer from the beginning, and adopted into the family of God that we can say, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name."
Add a Comment
© 2023 Created by Allistair Lomax. Powered by
Forrest, Thank you for commenting on my post. I am not sure I follow what you are saying. Are you arguing with the John 8 text, disagreeing with how I have handled the material, or something else?
Thanks in advance for any clarification you may wish to offer.
As a result of Forrest's comments, I feel something more needs to be said concerning the point to be made in my original post.
The intent of the John 8;31-59 passage lies in the opeing statement, "If you would truly be disciples of mine, continue in my teaching." If you would be a child of God, set free from the slavery of sin, "continue in my teaching." The sin spoken of is the condition of being out of the image of God, of rejecting the Light that leads to the Life that comes from the Word spoken of in the 1st of John. In that condition, we commit "acts of sin." By the fruit, you may determine the tree. If you see murder and lie hanging on the branches, you know the source. It doesn't matter what "leaves" we put forth to cover the fruit. The fruit declares the source. That murder and that lie need not be outward murder, but the evidence of murdering the Light, rejecting the Life that must be known within; the evidence of living outside the condition we were created to inhabit. This is the greatest lie of all.
So there is a choice to make which declares itself in the fruit borne on our branches. The choice is, "Do we abide in Christ's teaching or not?" From that choice flow our actions. There is no taking the Lord's name in vain more glaring than claiming to be a child of God while producing fruit to the contrary.
Edward Burrough's statement in Vol. 3 of the Works of Fox, that I referred to in my post, sets forth an example of how this was lived out in the lives of the early Quakers. I am sorry there is not room here for me to quote the entire passage. I find particularly rich, pages 11 through 15. But if I started to quote it, I am not sure where I would be able to stop. So I will allow all you to read it from the source.
Brenda, you make some good points here, but I am not sure I agree with what you seem to be saying that the things Jesus brings up here are not for those who have come up through the flaming sword. Much of Jesus' prayer has to do with our attitude of heart. For example, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against" leads to the attitude of "teach us to forgive as you forgive that you may use us to work for the salvation of our enemies." The attitudes gendered by Jesus' prayer is that of the branch grafted into the vine that continually receives the necessary sap from the root in order to remain supple and living.
No, I do not think we are in disagreement about when one must come up through the flaming sword. We must come to this before we can follow Jesus' leading. This flaming sword separates the living from the dead. The call of Christ is to life. One can not live in death (which is the foundation of sin) and drink of or and feed upon life.
Brenda, one thing that has been bothering me about your first comment. You sate, "Come Lord Jesus come must be the prayer for those who are still praying to the father in heaven." What has hit me very strongly is that Christ IS come. This is the message of the early Quakers, and the significance of Christ being come is that we, thereby, have the opportunity to be taught righteousness and be given the power to live in righteousness. This is what Fox's teaching about Christ being present in and among his people in all his offices is all about.