Paul is an interesting Bible character. His writings have stirred many interesting debates, especially between keepers of the law and those who live by grace. But the law vs. grace debate isn’t necessary. In fact, it has no bearing whatsoever on what was really meant by the writings of Paul or the commandment teachings of the Old Testament. Paul was a mystic, and mystics have never cared about such issues. Those issues are nothing more than ideas and doctrines in the minds of man, and, if we get wrapped up in them, the real experiences of God are sacrificed for religion. The religious are concerned about earning God’s favor (law-keeping) or accepting something that someone else did for them so they can be saved (grace). But the mystic…well, let’s just say that the mystic is concerned with “experiencing” God first-hand. This is the ultimate reality of the earliest and truest Christians! Paul was such a mystic, and mystics know that God is a divine experience we have within ourselves, which is where the kingdom really resides. It is where we all share common ground through the realm of the spirit, because in this realm, or mode of consciousness, we are all really one anyway. As this website firmly asserts, God is not “out there.” Rather, God is “within” you.
Let’s get right into our important topic this week by beginning with a very important Old Testament scripture. It is the great commandment given to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:4-5:
“Hear, O, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
This is the great commandment that thousands upon thousands recited and contemplated during Jesus’ day. Every Jewish child knew it by heart. The LORD God came first, and so did loving him. But are God and the individual really separate? The obvious answer for mainstream Christian thought is: “Yes, of course!” But how true is it? Did Jesus and Paul agree?
Consider that most mainstream Christians also believe Heaven is a physical location when Jesus clearly said that is wasn’t:
“…The kingdom of God comes not with outward observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or lo there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
So if mainstream Christianity gets Heaven so mixed up, is it possible that mainstream Christianity has God all mixed up, too? The obvious answer is: “Yes, of course!” Paul agrees, and we’re going to use a few interesting scriptures and concepts to truly get to the heart of this issue where it is easy to see that the law vs. grace issue isn’t even valid!
Let’s review a well-known scripture in Romans 13:8-10:
“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself…therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Wait a minute, Paul. Aren’t you forgetting something here? What about the first and great commandment, which is to love the LORD God with all your heart, soul, might and strength? Why didn’t that get mentioned first? That one is the great commandment! Don’t you care to even mention it? You said “…and if there be any other commandment…” It almost sounds as if you, Paul, don’t consider that commandment even worth mentioning!
Of course this is not Paul’s reasoning. It is not as if Paul didn’t consider this commandment worth mentioning, but rather, he knew a little secret that seems to allude most Christians today. And that is this: singling God out as a separate being to love and adore isn’t necessary nor is it the point! I can imagine law keepers wanting to pick up stones to throw at me as I write this blog post. But this is only because the Bible is greatly misunderstood. So, why is it NOT important that Paul left out the great commandment? Because Paul is letting us know that loving everyone else is no different than loving God. The mystics understood that in God, everyone is ONE, and that everyone has God in them; the part of you beyond your own individual ego is the part of you that God IS! And yes, this even includes sinners and heretics and blog writers who say God is not “out there” somewhere in the heaven to be found!
This may sound like a radical concept to many, but bear with me. Even Jesus agreed! He states:
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the Prophets.” (Matt 7:12).
Do you see how Jesus combined both separate commandments from the Old Testament into one, making the point that loving God is the very same thing as loving your neighbor? Why would he bring such a revolutionary concept than the one that seems to be portrayed in the Old Testament? Because Jesus, like Paul, was a mystic at heart, and he advocated, like Paul, that God is in everyone!
There is no such thing as asking Jesus into your heart, and then all of the sudden Jesus sets up residence there. God doesn’t come to live within the sinner when they repent from their own ways. God’s already living in the sinner and saint alike. The only difference is that the sinner is ignorant of this fact, which causes them to act in a way contrary to God’s nature: love. So the next time you hear someone asking Jesus into their heart, let them know God is already there. They just have to awaken the Christ consciousness latent within. As Paul says:
“…now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Rom. 13:11).
Notice that Paul is telling even believers to awake out of their “sleep.” Believers can have the Christ nature within them slumbering. It needs to be activated and awakened.”
In another place Paul states:
“…Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light!” (Eph 5:14).
Paul even goes so far as to call believers without this great realization DEAD! We must realize that Paul is speaking of the light of the Christ consciousness accessible to all through denying the ego and practicing meditation. It is not a belief (doctrine or idea) that awakens you to this salvation. It is not about saying a prayer and inviting Jesus into your heart. It is a knowing and an experiencing. It is an experience of the same caliber which Paul experienced when he saw the bright light of Christ on the road to Damascus. (Notice he didn’t see a physical Jesus: more on that here).
Take a look at another scripture by Paul in Romans 12:5:
“So in Christ we who are many form ONE BODY, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Paul’s Christ is the Christ nature, or Christ consciousness that dwells beneath the ego in everyone. When the ego is crucified, this Christ nature awakens and you truly realize that in this state, we are truly ALL ONE BODY!”
The problem with many religions is looking for a God “out there” instead of treating each other as God. Does that sound heretical? It shouldn’t. Religion and ignorance has taught you that. Let it go. And when you realize that everyone has the divine “within” them, you might be truly worthy to follow Jesus when he says to not judge others, for we cannot understand their life until we have walked in their shoes.
Can we now see that ideas and doctrines such as grace vs. law isn’t really the issue of the Biblical teachings? The Bible is written in a very mystical language that is hard to understand with the wrong mindset, which is the religious one!
As a final note, I would even encourage you to extend the action to do unto others as you would have them do unto you to animals and the very planet that sustains you as well! This is a step that I took when I began to realize that my ego should not be the one in charge and that we are all connected in the spiritual plane. I had a heart change to treat animals and the earth with respect. God isn’t going to magically come down and save the people, animals, or earth from our destruction. That’s our job! And the ways things are looking, we have made a pretty big mess in this world. How will our children feel about the Fukushima disaster when their fish from the ocean are filled with Cesium 37? How will our children think of us when they realize that greed, profit, and ignorance are the reason that they have to worry about the contamination in the soils and the air they are breathing, not just from radiation, but GMO crops and pesticides and deadly pharmaceuticals? Mainstream Christians who think that these issues are of no concern to them because God is going to return to set all this straight are just as guilty as the people who are committing these crimes in the first place. Let us wake and arise from the dead (ego), and let the Christ consciousness that was meant to be in control truly bring the light of Christ consciousness into the world!