Inspiration: We can feel a great deal of gratitude that Abraham had enough faith in God that he was willing to follow where God led, and so lead us to God.
The takeaway from this verse is that without the Old Testament, we wouldn’t understand the promise of salvation; we wouldn’t understand why it was important for Jesus to be of the family of King David. We would not understand his Teachings either, because Jesus quoted from Scripture – the Old Testament – frequently. He told us that he came to fulfill the Scriptures, not to abolish them. In the same way, we can understand the Old Testament better because we have the New Testament to guide us and give us a new interpretation which Jesus provides through his Teachings.
Two examples of this are his comments on the unwholesomeness of Anger IN ADDITION to the sin of murder and of Lust IN ADDITION to the sin of adultery:
1. Anger – an emotion of aggression. Examples include hatred, hostility, resentment, frustration, and even simple annoyances. (Matthew 5:21–22)
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment’.” (Commandment)Matthew 5:21
“But I tell you that anyone who is ANGRY with a brother or sister [others] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘You’re Raca’ [worthless, empty] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Thoughts/Intentions)Matthew 5:22
2. Lust – a mental longing with a strong eagerness…the mind pulling towards the objects of its affection. Examples include greed, craving, desire, attachment, temptation, grasping, holding, and expectations. (Matthew 5:28)
Again, what Jesus is Teaching us here in this Romans verse is that he will bring new insight to The Teachings. This is apparent in the Matthew 5:27 commandment Exodus quote about, “…adultery being a sin” contrasted with the Matthew 5:28 clarification example, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman LUSTFULLY has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” What Jesus taught here was that intention and thoughts can be just as unwholesome as actions and speech in one’s journey.Matthew 5:27 – 28
Despite common misunderstanding, Jesus is not saying that all attraction is immediately sinful. The phrase used in Greek here is pros to epithymēsai autēn. This strongly implies something deliberate: an intentional, considered choice. “Noticing” that someone is attractive is not unwholesome or a sin; looking with sexual intent, fantasizing, or leering—what in English might be called “ogling”—certainly can be. This phrase implies someone engaging their imagination in lust. What that does is it pulls the mind away from the middle, from peace.
*Interestingly, The Buddha’s words also Teach us about how CRAVING, ANGER, and the IGNORANCE to the natural laws of existence are The Three Poisons inherent in the mind that need to be eliminated in order to attain Enlightenment. It has been said that Enlightenment is synonymous with attaining The Holy Spirit. Two Holy Sages, five hundred years apart, one being The Buddha and the other being The Messiah, on many accounts are both Teaching us the same things for united goals – the importance of eliminating cravings and anger; also to have universal love for all beings, do no harm, and be a good moral person. Ultimately, if we were born with the wisdom, we wouldn’t need Teachings from Heavenly Teachers to transform our ignorance for an improved existence. We wouldn’t have cravings or anger if we had the liberating wisdom…therefore, the whole mass of struggles, discontent, and displeasure starts with the problem of ignorance to the natural laws of existence and the true reality to God’s creation.-
Summary: The purity of your heart and what’s in your mind is a huge factor in getting into Heaven, as is the quality of this current human existence. Heaven isn’t solely based upon worship, actions or speech. In addition to faith, one’s thoughts and intentions are key in this very life and for what comes after. I would not bank on belief and prayers alone to save you after death. Basically, if you are not a good person and you carry unwholesome intent filled with cravings and anger you would need to work on those things internally before you can assure any Heavenly existence.
Do you really think an entity like “Saint Peter” would really open those golden gates for just anybody? Well, even though, Heaven is not the typical goal for Buddhist Practitioners (Enlightenment is), The Buddha makes The Heavenly Realm’s entry requirements very clear throughout The Pāli Canon. Jesus’s apostles did for him in the New Testament as well. Quite simply, Heavenly beings earned their spot in Heaven by:
- having universal love for ALL beings
- doing no harm
- being good moral persons
- their life practice/faith.
A typical Heavenly being, although not Enlightened nor fully Enlightened, will have sound wisdom, good moral conduct, and enough mental discipline to be there.
How many can honestly claim to be entirely free of both anger (Matthew 5:21–22) and inappropriate desire? Jesus’s clarification continues to raise the standards, making it sound harder and harder to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Who could be so righteous?
In part, Jesus is pushing that very point: that nobody is righteous enough. All are sinful due to ignorance. At the same time, He is showing the truth that Christians ought to have for their inner, private lives. Christ is leaving no room for legalism or technicalities—He is defining the unwholesome as something which begins and continues in the heart. I believe The Buddha would describe the heart in this context as the mind. (The mind is intangible. You can’t really point to it. If anyone were to ask people in different cultures from around the world where the mind was, some would point to their head, some would point to their chest, another would claim it were the aura around the person, etc. There would be different answers from many different perspectives.)
The good news is there is no time limit to work on ourselves. The important thing is people begin and transform. The mind is liberated through wisdom. Cultivation of the heart takes some “Be, Know, Do.”
- Be wholesome… WWJD what would Jesus do?
- Know The Core Teachings.
- Do practice The Teachings in life.
The journey is beyond time with no discoverable beginning. It’s about learning from mistakes and then doing the right thing. I know The Lord is righteous. I know the Eightfold Path is righteous. Enlightened beings are righteous. Stages of Enlightenment re righteous. Certain attainments are righteous. Certain beings are righteous. Saints are righteous. People can be righteous. It would be a wise decision now to begin developing a life practice for your future.
Prayer: Almighty God, I believe in you….thank you for giving Abraham the courage to follow you and thereby to become a father in faith. Please give us the strength to go wherever you lead us. I am open for guidance, Lord.. Amen.
Romans 4:16&17 – Holy Bible – King James Version