Love is the Fulfilling of the Law
ON GOD; Part XCI
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment . He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John 4:1-21).
We finished with the verse from the above chapter that speaks about “the love that God hath to us” which we now have come to understand is in reality “the love which God hath in us” (American Standard Version) which is the rendition that Vincent tells us is the correct one4. Yesterday we posted, based on what Vincent had to say, that the Revised Version translates the verse this way but on further research we find that the current Revised Version renders this as “the love God has for us“. We should see clearly here that except for in us, none of these renditions see this in the way that we posited it in the last post; the idea of in us does make this much more understandable in our terms of God, who IS Love, being within us ALL. Rendering this as to us did make for a difficult interpretation, not only for our purposes but for Christian doctrine in general and the change to for us is outside of the recognized use of the Greek word. Our point here is that there is a degree of doctrine that enters into these translations of the Bible and that it effects us ALL and that interpreters and commentators, including us, tend to let their ideas drift towards what it is that they believe.
With this in mind let us look briefly at this Greek word en which we see above in this one verse as to, in, and for. The lexicon tells us that en is a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest and that it means in, by, with etc.. They tell us also that it is translated in the King James Version (KJV) as: in 1874, by 141, with 134, among 117, at 112, on 46, through 37, miscellaneous 321.2 Can we see how the use of to us and for us do not fit here except under the category of miscellaneous?. In the New American Standard Version which is the only other version that we have that is linked to the lexicon and to Strong’s, the situation is yet more strange in that they do not directly translate the word although it is in the Greek text that they provide; the Lexicon for this translation gives us the same information except for the word usage for this version and in which for us is not listed. We should see that there are many ways to look at this simple preposition and it is used in these three ways throughout the various translations with the most popular being the newer use of for us. Seeing this, we should understand that this part of the saying is thought by most to refer to the idea that God Loves us and it is stated as such in most of the paraphrase and thought by thought translations. But why such an obvious thought from the pen of the Apostle John who is now in his fourth chapter of this epistle that talks about little else? And, why, with the most obvious meaning for this Greek word being in, do so many find other words to use? We will likely never know the reasons for these things but we should take advantage for ourselves of the proper translation as in us which for us speaks of the Love of God IN US and, since God IS Love, we can clearly see this as GOD IN US which we have made to mean Christ IN US which is, in our reality, the same thing.
Can we see how one’s entire understanding of scripture can hinge on his understanding of a word; be it this idea here of in as the proper translation or the even more important ideas like believe in or believe on taking on the meaning of following Him and keeping His words or the word we have expounded over the last several posts, confess ,which we can now see in a totally different light. We continue now with our next verse from this chapter by John:
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world”. This is a very important verse to understand and it is one that we have used a part of many times in our posts to show how we as men, as Souls, are the same as the Master in this world. That is that we are as Souls living through form which is the same for the Master as it is for us. For Him He is the Soul which IS the Christ and the essence of the Christ Within, in union with God and in complete self awareness through the form Life of Jesus while for us the Soul is the Christ Within as well but we are not in complete self awareness which is for us our objective and our goal and which is within the reach of many. It is in this spirit that He tells us that “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40) and it is this idea of discipleship that is the essence of the whole of His teachings. Let us break this verse down with some help from Vincent:
- Herein is a word that we have had to deal with before insofar as to discern what it refers to; the prior statement or the following one. The same is true here and commentators are drawn to both depending on their doctrinal bent. Vincent, after giving us other’s reasons for each, tells us this speaking of this word herein referring to the prior verse: I prefer the latter, principally on the ground that in such phrases as ejn toutw in this, dia touto on this account, therefore, the pronoun usually refers to something preceding, though more fully developed in what follows4. Since this is what makes sense to us as well, especially in light of the idea engendered by the use of in us. We can state the whole of it as “Herein is our love made perfect” by the God whose Love is IN US who, when we have “known and believed” this and we then “dwelleth in love” will find that we also “dwelleth in God” and He in us. While roughly worded, this is a statement of fact. God IS IN US and God IS Love and therefore His Love is in us; KNOWING this we KNOW that God IS Love and that when we can dwell in that Love, we dwell in God and He is us. Then, in this state, we can say that by this “is our love made perfect“. We are quite far from doctrine here as we are speaking of disciples, as is John, and not of the average man, Christian or not, who, until he touches the Path, is unawares of any of this except in the doctrinal interpretations of believing and confessing in words and rituals. We know that these things REQUIRE the active participation of the man according to the totality of the teachings of the Master. Again, this is our objective and our goal and, as the Master teaches us, we must “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in , and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24)
- that we may have boldness in the day of judgment is a difficult saying to understand because of the common interpretation of judgement day and there is no help from Vincent or the other commentators that we use. The reality for us is that there is no judgement day as it is depicted by the various doctrines of the church and here again we find a multiplicity of end times scenarios based on some words by the Master which are compounded with some by the Old Testament prophets, the Apostle Paul, especially in his writing to the Thessalonians, and the visions of the Apostle John as recorded in what we call the Book of Revelation. Through all of these there is little in common and most doctrinal statements that are taken from them choose to mix and match different parts from different writers. Is there an end to this all? The answer depends on what we mean by this all? God is eternal and we are eternal in Him so, as Spirit, we have no end. The Soul is the manifestation of Spirit but still is Spirit with no end; as manifested Spirit there is perhaps an end but such a thing is far beyond our comprehension as men in form and the only thing we can logically say is that if the manifestation on that level were to end, we still ARE SPIRIT and we still ARE ETERNAL. So then what ends on this judgement day? The form? We KNOW and understand that this happens with regularity although we have no comprehension of the way and the why and, this being said, what is the end time then but the demise of ALL at one time….a mass death rather than an individual. At every death there is a judgement day for each of us as we take our place in the formless realm, which place is dictated by the the degree with which we were able to express the Soul Life during our Earth Life. As a disciple of the Master, we would have this boldness that the apostle speaks of simply because of our discipleship; our place is rather certainly to be in the Kingdom of God as this is the accomplishment of discipleship while still in Life in form. Taking this further, when there is a mass end to it all insofar as Earth Life is concerned, we have this same boldness from KNOWING that this is the accomplishment of discipleship. Can we understand the theme that John is expressing to us who understand and KNOW the Truth.
If we meet the criteria for those who “dwelleth in God“, that is that we meet the intent of these sayings:
- “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God“ (John 4:15).
- “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him“ (1 John 3:24).
- “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12).
- “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him“ (John 4:16).
We should understand that this is not a ‘pick-one’ list, this is a DO ALL list and the reality of doing any one is the reality of doing them ALL. If we “love one another” we “dwelleth in love” because these are the same and likewise if we “love one another” we “keepeth his commandments” of which this “love one another” is of foremost importance and, if we “love one another” then we “confess that Jesus is the Son of God” which we see as doing “the will of my Father“. We add to this the Master’s own words on this idea in His saying:
- “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10).
We will continue with our thoughts on this and on the end of this verse in the next post.
As we approach the Wesak Festival which is on Saturday, May 5, we will try to post some pertinent and important facts and understandings regarding it and the Buddha. Today we leave with these words on this subject and a new Quote of the Day from His words.
Doctrine is an effect that is reflected in most all world religions and, like Christian holidays, the religious holidays of the East suffer from the same dilution and secularization. This is not in itself a bad thing but it does take away some of the reality of the day and its celebration. We all know and see the commercialization of Christmas and Easter and Hanukkah as well here in the Western civilization and this doctrinal effect in the East should be noted as well as it regards the Wesak festival which is known as Vesākha day and is celebrated, based on legend, as the Birth Day of the Buddha and is also used by some to commemorate His Enlightenment and His death. Although Vesākha day is calculated to the Full Moon, it is celebrated on different days in different countries similar to the way we still find Christian holidays on different days based upon the denomination or sect that one professes. For our understanding, the idea of Wesak is celebrated at the time of the Taurus Full moon which is generally in May and this year, as we have said, occurs on the May 5th. Although it may be the Birthday of the Buddha, this is not the objective of its celebration as it has for us a different spiritual importance which culminates in a partnered ritual undertaken by the Christ and the Buddha together. There is a rather long narrative of this ritual that we will post as we get closer to this celebration and we should here remember that the ritual is just that, a ritual, and no matter how beautiful it may be, it should not be seen as the total purpose of it.
As we have discussed, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha by achieving Enlightenment and it is in this Enlightenment that He is known as the Avatar of Wisdom. Buddhism is seen by some as a religion without a God as the Buddha does not speak of God in His teachings but when we can realize what was His mission and His path we can then understand His method. To teach a man how to live free from the illusions of the world, to know the causes of sorrow and pain and to know the Bliss of escape from the Earthy standards of old age, sickness and death, is to teach the man the reality of the God Within. We have read in our posts some excerpts from the Dhammapada, the sayings of the Buddha, an in these we can find the same teaching, albeit in a different culture and time, as we find from the Master, the Christ. The Buddha brought Wisdom through enlightenment for the conquering of illusion in His day and the Christ brought Wisdom and Love for the conquering of illusion and of glamour. The teaching of the Christ builds upon and does not replace the teachings of the Buddha and so it is in this time of the Wesak festival that the Buddha and the Christ, the Wisdom and the Love of God, join together in prayer and meditation and to send out their joint Blessing over the human family which can likely be sensed in some way by those of us who are in dedicated to their cause and who are serving or attempting to serve humanity and the Plan of God.
Note on the Quote of the Day
This daily blog also has a Quote of the Day which may not be in any way related to the essay. Many of these will be from the Bible and some just prayers or meditations that may have an influence on you and are in line with the subject matter of this blog. As the quote will change daily and will not store with the post, it is repeated in this section with the book reference and comment.
Today’s Quote of the Day is another selection from the Dhammapada:
As we said when we first posted this saying: one is hard pressed to find differences between these teachings of the Buddha and the teachings of our Master the Christ. What do we see above? First there is PEACE and how much better it is than the hollow sounds of Pride and Arrogance so often heard around the world. Next there is the idea of conquering one’s self and this should be likened to all that the Master and His apostles have to say about overcoming the carnal life, the flesh. Once a life is governed by the Inner Man, the Soul he can stand free and clear of all the worldly ways; here is our Victory and here is our PEACE.
Better than a thousand hollow words Is one word that brings peace. Better than a thousand hollow verses Is one verse that brings peace. Better than a hundred hollow lines Is one line of the dharma (law), bringing peace. It is better to conquer yourself Than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, Not by angels or by demons, Heaven or hell. Better than a hundred years of worship, Better than a thousand offerings, Better than giving up a thousand worldly ways In order to win merit, Better even than tending in the forest A sacred flame for a hundred years - Is one moment's reverence For the man who has conquered himself.
(Dhammapada Part 8; the Thousands)5
- 2 New Testament Greek Lexicon on BibleStudyTools.com
- 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition, 1888
- 5 The Dhammapada Translated by Thomas Byrom