Monday, December 26, 2011

Boasting in the Cross

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Gospel in Galatians
Lesson 14: "Boasting in the Cross"

We've all heard the story about the town that was built on the edge of a cliff. People were forever falling off the cliff. So the caring townspeople decided to build a hospital and get an ambulance. Yet people still fell off the cliff. Then someone had a bright idea. Build a fence on the cliff!
Young people who have been raised in the church, Sabbath school, and Christian education are leaving--three quarters of them by age eighteen. And parents weep their eyes out. The main reason for this is "legalism." Why not build a fence? Give them the Good News.
We have been studying the book of Galatians for fourteen weeks. The 1888 message was launched by the book of Galatians. [1] It is the message of the True Witness to the Laodicean church. [2]
Paul is really fired up about the problem of legalism in his parting remarks in the book of Galatians. Legalism is a word constantly bandied about, but what does it mean? Legalism is that old covenant motivation to do something in order to be saved because of "group think." Paul says "they constrain you" (Gal. 6:12). The Galatians are compelled to conform to group standards based on fear. "The Pharisees which believed" made a good outward show of constantly talking about their success rate (Acts 15:5; Gal. 6:13).
They have the evidence that teaching "obedience" works. Their faith, which works all right according to outward conformity, is the rigid Pharisee-like obedience that takes a smug delight in the "all that the Lord hath spoken we will do" attitude, very pleased with ourselves. Look at those who are circumcised (Gal. 6:13).
You know you're in the atmosphere of "legalism" if you must take the initiative in your salvation. The atmosphere of "grace" is, God has taken the initiative in your salvation.
Does your heart crave the joy that filled the hearts of the early apostles? Yes! We are not satisfied with a dull, unenthusiastic, leaden kind of spiritual experience, common as it may be. What did the apostles have that we don't seem to have? They saw the significance of the cross of Christ!
To "glory ... in the cross" is not an exercise in futility (Gal. 6:14). To talk about the cross all the time is not riding a "hobbyhorse." The disciples saw the significance of the cross of Christ. There is something about Christ's sacrifice that is yet to stir Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists and the world (Rev. 18:1). [3] Christ declares, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).
There is a "vicarious" view of the atonement that leaves the heart "lukewarm." It's the idea that a billionaire has paid your legal debt of $1000. You're thankful. But it was no "skin off his back" because that was nothing for him.
Oh yes, some say that Jesus experienced physical torture and social rejection, but He never fully identified with sinners. His was a "vicarious" atonement. With this idea of the atonement the heart is left in its naturally selfish attitude toward God.
Self-centeredness is the spirit of the old covenant that has plagued humanity all these thousands of years and finally led to the crucifixion of the Son of God. The old covenant spirit of self-sufficiency hates theagape-love of one who identifies with the Crucified One.
If Paul had preached circumcision, it would have put circumcision in the place of Christ. That would have led to the rejection of the grace of Christ, Christ and Him crucified. In the preaching of circumcision the offense of the cross would have ceased, and the persecution with it.
If you preach legalism, it's impossible to be persecuted. The persecuting is done by Ishmael not by Isaac (Gal. 4:29). So if you preach the gospel you will have to face persecution (Gal. 6:17).
It was the offence of the cross that caused the disciples to flee, and Peter to deny his Lord. It was not that they loved Christ any the less, but because they were unexpectedly brought face to face with a condition which they had not foreseen. They had not taken the shame of the cross into consideration when they followed Christ.
Jesus had told them of it repeatedly, in order that they might be prepared for this very time, but the disciples did not comprehend His words. They had not counted the cost.
The disciples had been willing to accept Jesus as King, even though He was in poverty, and was hated and rejected by the priests and elders, because His power was visibly manifested before them. So when Jesus seemed to have no power at all in the hands of the mob and on the cross, the disciples failed.
It was not until later that the apostles "saw" in the atonement something that brought them great joy and fired their zeal to share the Good News. Christ's atonement was a "shared experience" with sinners, not merely a death in "exchange" for sinners.
He "was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21). He felt in His conscience the self-condemnation of sin. The cross was the lightning rod for all the curses that Satan could throw at Christ because of sin. His heart was crushed by the load of sin. He felt cursed of God (Gal. 3:13). Thus His cry of dereliction on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46).
He died the second death. Ellen G. White describes it thus: "Christ felt the anguish which the sinner must feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race" (The Desire of Ages, p. 753). That "anguish" is described in Rev. 20:12-15 as the horror the lost will sense in the final irrevocable judgment. Horror worse than any physical pain could be!
The apostles' message had the power built-in. Nobody needed to be whipped into action. The motivating force was greater than that of a steam engine, for the power was implicit in the news about the sacrifice of the Son of God.
Thus Paul could write: "I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6:14). The power was not magic, certainly not mysteriously impossible for our day. The internal-combustion "engine" was the agape of Christ which "constrained" the apostles (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).
It is the message of the cross which reveals the love of God and gives birth to "a new creature" (Gal. 6:15). E. J. Waggoner wrote: "The new birth completely supersedes the old. 'If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new. ...' He who takes God for the portion of his inheritance has a power working in him for righteousness is much stronger than the power of inherited tendencies to evil, as our heavenly Father is greater than our earthly parents." [4] Simple, but simply, profoundly true!
Rejoice in your new heavenly Father! He is infinitely more powerful in lifting you above sin than your earthly father was in passing on to you the condemnation he had received from the fallen Adam.
--Paul E. Penno
[1] See E. J. Waggoner, The Gospel in the Book of Galatians (1888).
[2] The shaking is "caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans" (Early Writings, 270). "The message given us by A. T. Jones, and E. J. Waggoner is the message of God to the Laodicean church, and woe be unto anyone who professes to believe the truth and yet does not reflect to others the God-given rays. ..." (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1052).
[3] "The cross of Calvary challenges, and will finally vanquish every earthly and hellish power. ... This is the means that is to move the world" (Ellen G. White, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1113; MS 56, 1899).
[4] The Everlasting Covenant, p. 66; International Tract Society, Ltd., 1900.

Boasting in the Cross: Pastor Paul

Reading for this Weeks Study

A. T. Jones

Glory Only In the Cross | Galatians 6:11-18

E. J. Waggoner


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Gospel and the Church

Lesson #13 | The Gospel and the Church | 12/24/11

The weight of your sin is a crushing load. The burden to conscience extinguishes life. Jesus Christ is the ultimate burden-bearer. The cross of Christ is the window in time revealing that Jesus is the sin-bearer for all time. Humanity is incorporate in Him. Therefore, there is life only in Him both temporal and eternal.

In His incarnation Jesus’ work of the sacrificial atonement involved repentance for the sins of the whole world. He experienced the guilt and condemnation of the sin of the world. As the spotless Lamb of God, He could forgive the sin of the world. His repentance on behalf of the world’s sin was necessarily a corporate repentance.

The sin problem must be dealt with head-on—no side-stepping it. God “made Him to be sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:21). “God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Christ took the faulty equipment of humanity in His incarnation. He was “tempted in all points like as we are” (Heb. 4:15). He learned obedience through His sufferings. Through all His trials, and temptations from without as well as from within, He maintained His “will” sanctified. His power of choice was continually in harmony with His Father’s will.

What Jesus accomplished was a revelation of the Father’s will. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). Jesus’ corporate repentance on behalf of sinners reconciled the world to God. The gift of atonement made it possible for the Father to treat the world as though it had not sinned. As the Reconciler in the holiest Christ continues to give the atonement to sinners. Our Burden-bearer sympathizes with the pain of sinners. “The law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2) is a Saviour near to us and not afar off.

“The law of Christ” is His Infinite gift of agape-love which melts hardened hearts and brings them to God. “The law of Christ” is the self-propagating gospel. Jesus is the Soul-winner because He identifies with sinners. He is not ashamed to call them His brethren (Heb. 2:11). His repentance for sins continues to reach our alienated hearts and brings us to God.

As we enter into His sympathy for sinners we see that their sins are ours. “The flesh” we have is no different from the sinful flesh of the “man ... overtaken in a fault” (Gal. 6:1). It is your sinful flesh which murdered the Son of God. So you are bound up with the whole world. Your sympathies for others enlarge as you experience corporate repentance with Christ.

The cancer victim, the depressed soul, the sin-addicted inebriate is you. The sensitivities are enlivened seeing opportunities everywhere to give the water of life to perishing souls (Gal. 6:10). The apostle teaches you to seek opportunities to help someone. Christ did. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).

One opportunity to do good is sowing gospel seeds (Gal. 6:7, 8). In some primitive societies (and modern ones too!) people will lie down and die without any apparent illness or reason to die. It’s called “the curse” of Fatalism. This belief in Fate is related to the belief in karma. These dear people are among those Paul speaks of who “through fear of death [are] all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:15).

If the many Kennedys noted the media’s repeated mention of the “family curse,” they could do one of two things: repent and turn to God believing that Jesus died their ultimate curse; or live a “wild” and risk-filled life thinking that when their time is up nothing can stop it.

Sowing thought-seeds of fatalism produces the dare-devil “so-what?” people, recklessly-living, who decide to “enjoy” life while they can until the “curse” hits them (Gal. 6:7, 8). It’s the popular philosophy Paul wrote of in his day, “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32). According to Paul’s context, this was the attitude of the gladiators who fought with wild beasts in the Coliseum. Their human life was cheap. So was the life of others.

The 1888 message teaches that Christ has conquered Satan, canceled all his curses, taken upon Himself your sin as well as the sins of your ancestors. Christ is the Saviour of the world. We need not suffer under any “curse” unless we choose to. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). How? Because He died on a tree. His cross was the lightning-rod that attracted the ultimate curse, the total that Satan could invent. Live, then, in the light of that cross!

Fatalism teaches that life is cheap, so live it up to the hilt. The gospel teaches that life is a precious gift purchased by the death of the Infinite Son of God. Sowing the good news-seeds of “the truth of the gospel” produces a harvest of “fruit unto life eternal” (John 4:36).

One result of this kind of faith is a very high regard for your personal health. As long as possible, you wish to be of service to the One who redeemed you. You are free of any fear of a curse, for the name of Jesus banishes evil spirits. You can be delivered from the unhappy Fatalism that shadows your soul beneath the constant smile you put on.

What does it mean to sow “to the Spirit” (Gal. 6:8)? To say “No!” to the “flesh,” and to say “Yes!” to the Holy Spirit. That simple!

Did Jesus have to contend with and condemn sin in His human nature? This is the struggle all of us have. Or was Jesus “exempt” from this struggle, so that He had no battle with sin to “overcome”?

What does He mean when He says to us, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne” (Rev. 3:21)?

Evidently Jesus had the same battle we all have. He has come very close to us; where we have failed in letting sin overcome us, He succeeded in overcoming sin—perfectly.

But that’s not all the Good News: He will have a people who receive His faith and they will overcome also “even as [He] overcame.” Paul writes “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the [Holy] Spirit” (8:4). They will be those translated without seeing death at Jesus’ second coming (cf. Rev. 14:1-5; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17).

—Paul E. Penno

Reading for this Weeks Study

A. T. Jones Studies on Galatians
Overtaken In a Fault | Galatians 6:1
Fulfilling the Law of Christ | Galatians 6:2
The Way of the Cross | Galatians 6:3
Choose You This Day … | Galatians 6:4-10

E. J. Waggoner

The Gospel in Galatians: Pastor Paul Penno

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Living by the Holy Spirit

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
The Gospel in Galatians
Lesson 12: "Living by the Spirit"

If you're going to climb Mt. Everest you need a guide. If this movement is to stand victorious on Mt. Zion it needs the latter rain of the Holy Spirit (Rev. 14:1). To follow the Lamb wherever he goes without guile on their lips and stand without fault, the 144,000 will have overcome even as He overcame in tempted "sinful flesh" (Rev. 14:4, 5; 3:21; Rom. 8:3). These are individuals who reflect the agape-love of Jesus. Although they are not equal to the Pattern, yet as a body they perfectly identify with the Crucified One.

Sinless living in sinful flesh is a precious "good news" morsel of truth identified by the 1888 message. It would be bad news indeed, if in the great controversy Satan has invented something that the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot overcome. If the power of the gospel cannot overcome sin in our flesh, then Jesus will be eternally ashamed and defeated before the universe. Therefore, Jesus needs a "last generation" who demonstrate "the power of God unto salvation" from sin and not in sin (Rom. 1:16).

God's everlasting covenant promise to Abraham is "the blessing." This involves "the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14).

You are invited to go on a "walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16). "What our human nature wants [KJV = "flesh"] is opposed to what the [Holy] Spirit wants, and what the [Holy] Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature ["flesh"] wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do" (Gal. 5:17, Good News Bible). What are the things you cannot do? Are they bad things or good things?

There are many Christians who teach that you cannot do the good things you want to do because of this constant "enmity" of the flesh against the Holy Spirit. So they feel doomed to endless defeat, and sincerely believe the Bible agrees with them. "My craving is so great I can't help giving in! The 'flesh' is master of my life!" They have Galatians 5:17 backwards.

Who is stronger, "the flesh" or the Spirit? If "the flesh" is stronger, that's really bad news; but if the Spirit is stronger, that's good news. If the great power of the Holy Spirit and all of heaven is in that Spirit, and He's striving against your sinful flesh, and still you cannot do the good things you'd like to do, can you think of any news that would be worse than that?

The 1888 message idea is: you go for a walk with the Holy Spirit and let Him hold you by the hand, which He has promised to do. You let Him, even though the battle is raging in your heart, and your sinful flesh is constantly tempting you to do or say evil things. You can't do or say evil things because the Holy Spirit is stronger than the flesh.

This does not mean that you have no part in the battle. Your part is to choose to say "No!" to the temptation (Titus 2:11) [1] God has given us the power of choice; the Holy Spirit is forbidden to control you without your consent! When you make the choice, then you invite the Holy Spirit to demonstrate that He is stronger than your sinful flesh. And God is free to work!

When the mighty Holy Spirit guides your life, you are "under grace"-motivation, which is the opposite of being "under the law"-motivation (Gal. 5:18; Romans 6:14). With either motivation you are under an obligation. The old covenant "under the law"-motivation is a constant tension and conflict with the law. It is faith motivated by the fear of punishment and the hope of reward. It is a motivation that appears to comply with the law outwardly, but on the inside there is rebellion.
God did us a favor when He gave us the Apostle Paul who was both a brilliant man and an honest humble man, which is a rare combination. Paul describes what our "flesh" is like in Galatians 5:19-21. God sent "His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). Jesus came right into the cesspool of our life. He was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Faith, which is "under grace"-motivation, "sees" what Paul is talking about when he uplifts and honors the sacrifice of Christ (Gal. 4:1). Having fully identified Himself with you, you are invited to fully identify with Christ (Gal. 2:20).

To "walk in the Spirit" is to bear "the fruit of the Spirit [which] is love [agape]" (Gal. 5:22). Agape is totally alien to "the flesh" and is an import from our Husband High Priest in the most holy of the heavenly sanctuary. This means we have not one percent of inherent righteousness. Righteousness is ours by faith through the Holy Spirit.

Agape, which is the "fulfilling of the law," comes by faith directed to its source in our day of atonement (Rom. 13:10). That source is our healing Psychiatrist whose office is set up in the holiest of all.

The second advent movement was rooted in a restoration of the love of God. It is the climax of a sequence of divinely led reformatory movements to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ and prepare a Bride for translation and the coming of her Groom.

Christ opened to view the source of her love by following their High Priest in through the open door of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary. [2] "Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, 'My Father, give us Thy Spirit.' Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace." [3] The 1844 Advent people were a Spirit-led, agape-motivated, charismatic movement. It was to restore the meaning of agape in the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus through its life, teaching, and evangelism. [4]

The fruit of the Spirit is given by Jesus in His capacity as our Priest in the Most Holy. The true second Pentecostal movement of the latter rain is those who by faith follow Him there. The movement will finish with a great manifestation of signs and wonders than on the day of Pentecost. [5]

Jesus reveals a unique understanding of justification by faith from the holiest. The 1888 message was indeed "special," a further development of justification by faith parallel to and consistent with the unique Adventist idea of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. It was "the beginning" of the message of Revelation 18 and thus initial "showers from heaven of the latter rain." [6]

Since the true Spirit of God only comes from our High Priest in the Most Holy and thus far we have not impressed upon other Christians the importance of the sanctuary truth, it motivates us to study the 1888 message so that we can share it with them in a convincing manner.

--Paul E. Penno

[1] Titus 2:11, 12 in the NIV is very clear: "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and [it teaches us] to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."
[2] Revelation 3:7.
[3] Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 55.
[4] Revelation 14:12.
[5] "Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers" (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 612).
[6] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1478.
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Living by the Holy Spirit: Expanded: Pastor Paul Penno

Living by the Holy Spirit Pastor Paul

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reading for this Weeks Study

From Jack Sequeira
Freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1-12)
True Christian Freedom (Galatians 5:13-15)

From AT Jones

From E. J. Waggoner

"Freedom in Christ"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Gospel in Galatians
Lesson 11: "Freedom in Christ"
A yoke was used in ancient times to control a slave. The hands and neck were placed in a stock resting upon the shoulders. Thus restricted, the poor prisoner was led about by the master.
The "yoke of bondage" is the old covenant. "The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" is the new covenant (Gal. 5:1). The two covenants are two different understandings of God's people through the ages, two opposite perceptions of God's plan of salvation.
The Galatians were being deceived by advocates of a counterfeit method of salvation. You must be "circumcised" in order to be saved. A "debtor" must "do the whole law" (vs. 3). The Galatians' error was the old covenant. You promise to obey and live.
The Galatians expelled themselves from the school of Christ. Having initially been motivated by God's "unspeakable gift" of "grace," they have now entered a do-it-yourself works program of being "justified by the law" (vs. 4). The problem isn't the law. The problem is their faulty doctrinal understanding.
A gourmet chef may put on a seven-course meal, ever so appetizing. But should there be a drop of arsenic in the food, if it doesn't kill you, it will certainly paralyze you. If there's a pinch of yeast in the dough, it will permeate the loaf (vs. 9). In other words, if there's a drop of legalistic self-centeredness in one's understanding of the gospel, then there's a fall from God's grace and a loss of the first love.
The problem of lukewarmness in the last of the seven churches of Revelation is that Laodicea has lost her first love. She has dragged herself into the error of Galatianism. Her old covenant promises to do everything just right is a fall from grace.
When she teaches her children stories that they must obey to be saved, or her youth are led to make promises to obey, their failure causes them to think that God cannot accept them. They leave the church. Their parents weep their eyes out wondering what has gone wrong. It's because they've been taught to "trust and obey" God and themselves.
It is no different in principle (except for reincarnation) than the doctrine of karma in Hinduism. If you do well in this life, you'll come back in an exalted afterlife. The old covenant is the pagan principle that one can earn salvation and eternal life through his works with God's help. It is the source of spiritual apathy.
It is little wonder that the book of Galatians was the spark plug for the 1888 message. It is the message to Laodicea. "The most precious message" honors and uplifts the grand sacrifice of Jesus with the cleansing of the sanctuary truth. So did Paul in the book of Galatians.
Paul realized that the only cure for the self-centeredness of Galatianism was "the truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:5, 14). Paul taught them to "obey ["listen" hupokeo] the truth" (Gal. 3:1, 5:7). When Paul was in their midst the Galatians bowed down low to listen, as he proclaimed Christ and Him crucified. Their "ears" became "eyes," as it were, so that they "saw" Christ "evidently" "crucified among" them (Gal. 3:1).
The Galatians forgot who Paul was, who they were, where they were. Their hardened hearts were melted by the reconciling love of Jesus' sacrifice paid to them. It is one thing for the Jews to crucify one of their own. But for you to murder the Son of God is quite another. Christ takes your grave in hell which you deserve and in exchange gives you His eternal life which He deserves.
This heart-humbling truth is "the offence of the cross" (Gal. 5:11). There is no offence in preaching good legalistic sermons. One will never be persecuted for telling people that they must obey. However, appealing for sinners to come to the foot of the cross facing pride smothered in the dust will expose the preacher to "suffer persecution" (vs. 11).
Peter and the disciples loved Jesus, and so declared their devotion to a man. Jesus told them that there was a cross in their future. Peter promised he would never forsake Jesus. But Peter never calculated "the offence of the cross," and when fear overtook him and the others, they all forsook Him and fled. There was not one disciple that honored their Saviour by declaring to the Romans, "If you crucify Him, then you crucify me too!"
The only cure for such fear of preserving self at all costs is "faith which worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6). "Balance" between faith and works is not the equation. Strictly speaking we are not saved by our faith, much less by our works. If that were the case, we would have something of which to boast, that we were so smart as to see a good bargain for salvation.
We are saved by "the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12; Gal. 2:16). "God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Rom. 12:3). It is a sin for one to say he has no faith. If he will take one tiny step and put his finger in the electrical socket, he'll find there is a spark. If one chooses to believe that Jesus is his Saviour, that tiny step of learning how to believe will grow. And there is no end to the amount of "good works" that "faith [which] worketh by love [agape]" can produce.
There is only one place in the whole of the Bible where this "faith which worketh by love" is called "righteousness by faith," and it is in Galatians 5:5. "Righteousness by faith" is God's gift to every man. It is waiting to be recognized. It is "seeing" the reconciling love of Jesus' sacrifice which moves the soul to choose to say "No" to ungodliness, and "Yes" to the mighty Holy Spirit.
Righteousness is the power of Jesus Christ overcoming temptation to sin and straightening out that which is crooked. Christ is the only source of "the righteousness of God." Christ's righteousness is the preparation that is necessary to obtain "the hope" of the eternal inheritance of the land promised to Abraham (2 Peter 3:13; Acts 26:6, 7; Heb. 11:9, 10).
Paul expresses positive words regarding the law: "Love your neighbor as you used to find it natural to love yourself" (Gal. 5:14). It is illogical to teach, as does the self-esteem gospel, that you can only love your neighbor as you learn to love yourself. If you make yourself number one, you'll never love anyone else the same way--that is the gospel according to Lucifer.
Rather, the gospel of the Crucified Lamb teaches that Christ loves you. He paid an infinite price by taking your grave. You thus learn to appreciate your value in view of this Divine-human currency. Christ bestows upon you the gift of self-respect. It is truly heart-humbling!
--Paul E. Penno

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