Christian Value and Christian Garbage

1 Corinthians 2: Knowledge

1 Corinthians 2 discussed spiritual knowledge and contrasted it with worldly knowledge. Each Christian is given a new spirit and that spirit can understand God, see Godly things, and share Godly knowledge. Humans on their own cannot understand anything about God and the things of God seem stupid. 

The most interesting application of 1 Corinthians 2 to my life is the way it explains my frustration with Church. The message at most churches seems to focus on human reasons for "being good" and these messages all seem empty, impotent, and uninteresting. 

Why is God good? Is it for the reasons preached in Church or for some other reason? Personally I think God's reasons for being good are more profound than those preached in church and, while I doubt I can fully comprehend those reasons, my present theory is that Goodness is part of God's essence and part of His physical makeup. 

This would explain many things including why being in the Spirit produces the fruit of the spirit. 

1 Corinthians 3: Works

1 Corinthians 3 talks about the works done by Christians and the value of those works. 

Most interesting to me is verse 15 which says that garbage work will result in the Christian still being saved, "but only as through fire."

The mental image this verse evokes is a person running out of their house with their pajamas on fire and the house burning down completely leaving the person completely without possessions and destitute. Treasures in heaven are important according to Matthew 6:19. It is good and desirable to have these treasures but those who do garbage work as Christians in life enter Heaven without these treasurers, destitute. 

So how do you build treasures in Heaven? Apparently through works (actions). 

According to 1 Corinthians 2 and 3 those works must be those of the Spirit. 

The Spirit

What is the Spirit? This seems like a difficult thing. 

Well the simple answer is that, at the moment of Salvation, God makes a new version of you that has the same essence as God and is part of Him. This gives you the ability to choose to be the new person or the old person at any given moment. 

The Christian life seems to be the constant, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, decision to be the new version of yourself rather than the old version. 

Personally, I don't think any of the parts of the new testament that tell Christians to be good are actually telling them what actions to take. I think those parts of the Bible are simply telling Christians which self to be and reminding them how to recognize which self they are being. 

Galatians 5: 16 - 24 describes the behaviors that are not from the new you and the actions that are from the new you. This section could be construed as telling people how to behave, but I do not think that is the intent of this passage at all. I think the only decision that matters is the choice of which self to be.

Christians cannot choose to do good on any level that matters. If a Christian chooses to be loving or kind, they will not actually produce anything of value. There is no "fake it till you make it" with God. There is only, "to be or not to be (the new you), that is the question."

I think sermons that tell the congregation to "be good" without mentioning the dual nature damage those who cannot interpret the sermon in the context of this nature. We cannot make ourselves be good. Not really. We can only choose to be our good self. 

Bonus: Two Sisters and their Value

The Biblegateway.com verse of the day is John 11: 25. I went and read the whole chapter today and found the two sisters of Lazarus very interesting because they both used the same words to ask very different questions and both seem like an ideal type.

The Intellectual

Martha said "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died." Apparently she wanted to know what had happened. She wanted to understand the Mind of God. In response, Jesus told her the future. 

When asked if she believed in Jesus' statement about himself she stated, "I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is come into this world." This is the perfect statement! When I was reading this I was reminded of the statement of Peter. 

As an odd coincidence, for the previous section I went to look at Matthew 6:19 and accidentally typed Mat16.19 into the search bar which took me close enough to the statement of Peter to recognize that it was that story. The response of Jesus to the same statement by Peter resulted in the most thorough endorsement of a person I can imagine. 

Martha was apparently the perfect example of an intellectual Christian. 

The Emotional

Mary said "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died." Apparently she was hurting and in deep emotional pain. The reaction of Jesus to her words indicates that he understood that the same words as her intellectual sister did not convey the same message at all. Jesus wept. That was His response to her sorrow and he already knew he would resurrect Lazarus. 

There is something special about emotion. Emotion is in the NOW and future happiness does not mitigate present sorrow. Thus his compassion at Mary's sorrow evoked sorrow in Jesus even though He had no reason to feel sad about the death of Lazarus. However, His choice not to heal Lazarus before he died and the choice to wait four days after the death of Lazarus to resurrect him, while done for the greater good, caused Mary great pain and, through compassion, that pain hurt Jesus.

I think the "Problem of Evil" has a similar solution. There is great suffering in the world and I think God allows that suffering to exists for a short time for the greater good of all. However, those who suffer must evoke similar sorrow to the sorrow of Jesus in the face of a suffering Mary, only on a planetary scale. I think God is constantly weeping.

To me this means that Christians, who have the heart of God, WILL be similarly sorrowful. Sorrow, from compassion, is as much a part of Christianity as Joy. Furthermore, I think sorrow is equally beautiful and not an emotion to be avoided. 

I think Mary had the perfect emotional response to events because Mary was vulnerable and open with Jesus about her pain. I do not sense anger in her statement, only sorrow. 

Sorrow seems the perfect response to pain.