Monthly Archives: April 2018

IN THE WORDS OF JESUS–Part 1598

ON LOVE; PART MCCXXXVII

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GoodWill IS Love in Action

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FIRST IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENTS: “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

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WHAT THEN IS LOVE? In a general sense love is benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men. While this IS from an older definition of Charity, which IS rendered in the King James Bible from the same Greek word agape which IS generally rendered as Love, we should amend our own definition here to include the idea that in the reality of Love a man will accord to ALL men ALL things that he would accord to himself and to say that Love IS our thoughts and attitude of the equality of ALL men regardless of their outward nature or appearance…that ALL ARE equally children of Our One God

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PLUS THE EVER IMPORTANT AND HIGH IDEAL TAUGHT TO US BY THE CHRIST: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

We ended the last essay with a discussion of the words of the Apostle Peter that tell us how that men CAN becomepartakers of the divine nature“, a nature that we must come to see as agape and this based in the Apostle John’s words saying that “God is love“….”God is agape” (1 John 4:8, 16). Peter shows us that the KEY to this “divine nature” IS found in our ability to escapefrom the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21) which he frames for us as “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust“. As we discussed this IS to escape from the vanity to which ALL men ARE subjected, to escape from the illusion and the glamour that keep men bound to their view of the self and the things of the self in this world. Peter continues with this theme as he shows us how that men can grow as “partakers of the divine nature” and while there ARE some disputed ideas in the rendering of his words according to the King James Bible, we will start there nonetheless; we read Peter’s words saying:

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:2-4).

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9).

We should first note that Peter, like ALL the apostles, IS writing to a select group of persons and NOT to everyman who would think through his own doctrinal approach to the Lord that he IS a True follower of Christ. The apostle opens his epistle with a straightforward greeting saying: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:1-2). Here we should understand that the faith, the KNOWING, of the Apostle Peter IS sure and certain and even while he did have his own issues leading up to the death and resurrection of the Master, he was nonetheless the principal disciple and apostle of the Lord.

He DID Love the Lord more than ALL else and this according to the Apostle Luke’s rendering of Jesus’ ‘rules of discipleship’ which includes this sense of Love albeit from the perspective of Loving ALL else less which Luke frames as: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple“. Jesus adds two more criteria for discipleship; He says that “whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” and then “whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, 33). Our point here IS that Peter IS a True disciple, one who has accomplished ALL these things and we should see here the connection between these defining ideas of the disciple as Jesus’ word and His equally pointed words saying “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

We should try to see here that Peter IS writing “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” which IS to men who have DONE likewise. While there seems to be NO requirement that one be as Peter in faith or in the spiritual Power that he can wield, we should understand that to have such “like precious faith” DOES require some measure of these points and, to be sure, the idea that one DOES “continue in my word“. This then IS Peter’s intended audience and that his writing IS available to ALL, DOES NOT detract from such ensuing ideas as that “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness“; ideas which ARE NOT Truly realized by ALL who read this nor ALL that call themselves as Christians.

Such words ARE the revelations and realizations that come in the Truth which in turn comes through keeping His words; it IS this man who keeps His words, this man whose expression IS agape, that can a partakerof the divine nature“; it IS this man who has “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust“. It IS this man who IS made free from the vanity of Life, the illusion and the glamour of Life in this world, through realization of the Truth, that can be among those who ARE Truly “partakers of the divine nature“, a nature that IS founded in agape. Can we see here how that to be a partaker that one must perforce express that same nature? It IS from here that the apostle goes on to show these partakers the effective way to display this nature, the nature of a “new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24), “the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10)

This IS the reality of the “new man“, a man of “righteousness and true holiness” who has overcome “the corruption that is in the world through lust“; this IS NOT the man who simply believes that he IS ‘saved‘ by some doctrinal idea….this IS the man whose Life IS become the Life of the disciple and, by measure, the Life of an aspirant to discipleship. This IS the True meaning of Paul’s words saying “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and here we should understand that to Truly “be in Christ” IS NOT possible save for the man who will keep His words or Truly strive toward that goal. It IS from the perspective of the “partakers of the divine nature” that Peter continues as he shows us ALL that IS needed in the True faith that has come into the Life of the man who has “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust“.

While the King James translators render Peter’s next words as “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue“, we should note that there ARE some who dispute this idea. Vincent tells us that “beside this” IS: Wrong. Render for this very cause, as Rev. Lit., this very thing. Just as τί, what? has come to mean why? So the strengthened demonstrative acquires the meaning of wherefore, for this very cause  4. Peter’s next words ARE also corrected by Vincent who tells us of “giving all diligence” that: The verb occurs only here in New Testament, and means, literally, to bring in by the side of: adding your diligence to the divine promises. So Rev., adding on your part 4. Further Mr. Vincent tells us that in regard to the rendering of “add to your faith” that: The A. V. is entirely wrong. The verb rendered add (ἐπιχορηγήσατε) is derived from χορός a chorus, such as was employed in the representation of the Greek tragedies . He goes on to explain that: In the New Testament the word has lost this technical sense, and is used in the general sense of supplying or providing….Here the Rev., properly, renders supply 4.

What Vincent suggests DOES change the entire context of Peter’s words and we should note that many translations ARE rendered as he suggests. The original 1885 Revised Version renders Peter’s words as “Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue” while the more modern Revised Standard Version renders this fifth verse as: “For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge“. Both of these show us that something IS being added but NOT in the same way that the King James Bible DOES. Our point, and Vincent’s, IS that the King James: exhorts to add one virtue to another; but the Greek, to develop one virtue in the exercise of another: “an increase by growth, not by external junction; each new grace springing out of, attempting, and perfecting the other.” Render, therefore, as Rev. In your faith supply virtue, and in your virtue knowledge, etc 4.

We should try to see here that ALL of Peter’s words work within the reality of being “partakers of the divine nature“; that in the Life of one who Truly has such promises the diligent exercise of ALL ‘virtue‘ IS the result. If we can see each of these listed items in terms of the continual growth of the spiritual man as he continually gains in his ability to express the Truth that IS revealed in that “divine nature“, we can then better understand the apostle’s words and glimpse another view of the journey from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). Doctrines DO NOT show us this despite the many words from Jesus and His apostles in such ideas as we find in one’s ever growing expression of agape from “the least of all seeds” into “the greatest among herbs” (Matthew 13:32) which Jesus shows us as His example of the Kingdom of God. 

ALL three synoptic gospels offer us Jesus’ parabolic comparisons to the Kingdom of God; Luke shows us the Master’s words as “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it” (Luke 13:19). We should try here to see Peter’s words in this context as rendered in the Revised Version of 1885 where we read the apostle’s words as: “Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge temperance; and in your temperance patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness love of the brethren; and in your love of the brethren love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9).

We should try to see here in this list of ‘virtues‘ and in the idea of virtue itself that there IS some difficulty in translation that must be overcome in order to properly understand Peter’s message. First there IS the rendering of arete as virtue and then understanding this in biblical terms; Strong’s tells us that arete IS: from the same as G730; properly, manliness (valor), i.e. excellence (intrinsic or attributed)9a which idea DOES NOT fit into any place where the reference point IS God or His “divine nature“. The Revised Version renders the idea of ‘virtue‘ differently in the previous verse where we read of “glory and virtue“; there we read “seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3) and in this we see that it IS “his own glory and virtue“. Vincent agrees with this and in this view the defining ideas of arete above DO NOT work.

Vincent goes on to show us an idea of that for us seems much closer to the Truth saying that arete IS: Not in the sense of moral excellence, but of the energy which Christians are to exhibit, as God exerts his energy upon them. As God calls us by his own virtue (2 Peter 1:3), so Christians are to exhibit virtue or energy in the exercise of their faith, translating it into vigorous action . If we take away the doctrinal leanings of Mr. Vincent’s understanding of this idea we can then see that the apostle’s intent IS to show us to use the inflowing Power, the energy of Love and Truth, and to DO so in vigorous action. If we can see this idea in similar terms to Paul’s “agape makrothumeo chresteuomai” which IS the expression of agape as this IS expressed by the Godhead, perhaps we can see the deeper Truth of Peter’s message.

Peter IS NOT asking us to add ‘virtues‘ but rather to incorporate them into a singular expression by the disciple and the aspirant, a singular expression of Truth and Love. Here we should see pistis as that KNOWING that comes in keeping His words and Peter’s point IS that this KNOWING must be one’s expression to the world of men. If we can see the idea here that arete IS the Power of the “divine nature” and that in escapingthe corruption that is in the world through lust” and becoming “partakers of the divine nature“, this Power IS revealed and realized by that man in this world, we can then glimpse the greater Truth. While the idea of adding DOES NOT detract from the idea that Peter IS offering to us, the idea of incorporating such ‘virtues‘ into one’s expression shows us a deeper reality and offers us a clearer view of the Way.

And what IS our expression to be? The starting point IS faith which must be understood and that KNOWING which IS the revelation of the man whose focus IS upon the Truth of God and the realization of this revelation in the thoughts and the attitudes that ARE expressed. Peter shows us this in telling us that into the expression of the this Power of Truth one should express also gnosis which IS rendered as knowledge. This sense of knowledge IS found in the realization of Truth by the man in this world….his conscious realization of what IS being revealed to “partakers of the divine nature“. Can we see the point here? The next ‘virtue‘ or sense of Power IS rendered as temperance from the Greek word egkrateia. While this idea of temperance IS viewed by many in sexual terms or in terms of human passions, that idea DOES NOT work in relation to being “partakers of the divine nature” and “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust“. However, if we look at this idea of self-control 9, 9a in relation to the Power that one may have as a partaker of “the divine nature” we can then make better sense out of Peter’s words.

Control IS ever needed in one’s journey on the Path to the fullness of Truth and the Apostle Paul gives us additional guidance in this area as he says to disciples and aspirants that “through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith“. Paul tells us this as he admonishes us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” and to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:3, 1, 2). Can we see Peter’s words in this? Can we see a combination of escaping “the corruption that is in the world through lust” and the diligence of incorporating gnosis, the “the renewing of your mind“, and then the temperance to “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think“.

This idea of temperance as this IS rendered from egkrateia IS rendered in many other versions as self-control and by a few as abstinence but, to be sure, the doctrinal idea taken IS in regard to sexual and other human passions. John Gill tells us that this idea IS: avoiding all excess in eating and drinking, and all impure and unclean lusts 8 but we should remember here who the apostle IS actually speaking to….that his words ARE addressed “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God“. To such men the idea of temperance or self-control should be easily see in Paul’s terms and NOT the ideas of the doctrines of men. The next ‘virtue‘ to be incorporated into the expression of the partaker IS the Greek word hupomone which IS rendered as patience above, as endurance by many others and as steadfastness by a few. Strong’s defines hupomone as: cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy 9a while Thayer’s gives us: steadfastness, constancy, endurance 9; the idea IS generally seen in terms of waiting.

Vincent tells us that hupomone IS: Lit., remaining behind or staying, from μένω, to wait. Not merely endurance of the inevitable….but the heroic, brave patience with which a Christian not only bears but contends 4. In the context used here by Peter the idea of steadfastness IS best suited to the partaker as he both bears and contends with the pull of the flesh whose thoughts and attitudes yet lurk in memory. The Apostle James uses this same word hupomone in saying “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-3).

We have in James a similar message to that of Peter and again the idea of steadfastness IS a better suited idea which Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines as: Firmness of standing; fixedness in place. Firmness of mind or purpose; fixedness in principle; constancy; resolution 1. The same dictionary shows us patience as: The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness; A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent 1. While the ideas of patience and endurance ARE the doctrinal choices, steadfastness IS the call to the disciple and the aspirant who must stand against ALL that tempts everyman and may threaten to take away his focus from upon the Truth.

We should try to see here that such steadfastness IS and must be in the thoughts and the attitudes of the consciousness of the man who IS expressing the Truth to the world of men and we should understand here that such expression IS perforce agape….agape with NO “respect to persons” (James 2:9). The next idea that Peter shows us that should be a part of the expression of the partakerof the divine nature” IS the Greek word eusebeia which IS rendered as godliness. This IS rendered as piety in some translations which IS Strong’s definition while Thayer’s tells us that eusebeia means: reverence, respect; in the Bible everywhere piety toward God, godliness 9. While the idea here IS generally seen in terms of worship and as the ‘fear’ of God, the clearer idea can be found in the simplicity of the word godliness; the whole context here IS that one IS a partakerof the divine nature” and in the his expression must be an expression of that nature.

While this idea of expression of the “divine nature” IS NOT the general idea used with godliness, it IS nonetheless the most valid perspective. Vincent, using the earlier reference to godliness in Peter’s words saying “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him” tells us at the end of his commentary on eusebeia that: It embraces the confession of the one living and true God, and life corresponding to this knowledge 4. The latter part here IS the gist of Peter’s idea of godliness and idea that relates to the singular idea of the man whose focus IS Truly upon the things of God….that men should keep His words. This IS the reality of most every part of the bible and this IS the reality of our trifecta which we repeat here again saying:

  • “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
  • “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
  • “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:21-24).

The next two words used by Peter offer us a singular idea that IS to be incorporated into the expression of the man who IS a partakerof the divine nature“, philadelphia and agape. These ARE rendered in the King James Bible as “brotherly kindness” and Charity and by the Revised Version of 1885 as “in your godliness love of the brethren; and in your love of the brethren love“. While philadelphia has taken on the idea in doctrines of Love for one’s fellow Christian as the Revised Version rendering suggests, there IS a more complex meaning as well as a combined idea that should be taken from Peter’s words. Many of the later bible translations show the idea of philadelphia in terms of affection but this IS NOT the sense that we should have as affection IS an emotional idea as IS the common understanding of agape against which we write.

In agape we have the very nature of God and this from the reality that “God is love” or, better, “God is agape“. In this we should understand that His “divine nature” of which Peter speaks must perforce then be agape and in this we should see that “partakers of the divine nature” ARE partakers in the Truth of agape. The Greek word that IS rendered as partaker IS koinonos which IS defined by Strong’s as: a sharer 9a and here we should see the greater point of sharing the “divine nature” with the Godhead which IS accomplished in one’s escape from “the corruption that is in the world through lust“. We should understand here as well that agape IS the primary product of the “divine nature” and that whosoever IS a partaker, a sharer of it, must have this agape flowing into his consciousness from the outset. In this we should see that Peter’s call to include agape IS NOT in regard to KNOWING agape but rather in regard to making agape one’s steadfast expression to the world.

If ALL of the Powers of Truth and Love should be seen as the conscious possession of the partaker, why then IS Peter referencing Love and DOING so from two different perspectives at the end of his list of ‘virtues‘? Simply because it IS these ‘virtues‘ that must be expressed by the disciple and, by measure by the aspirant to discipleship. Perhaps we should see that Peter’s admonition IS to be diligent to let agape become the singular way of thought and attitude toward ALL in this world and to then reflect this in one’s interactions with one’s brother and one’s neighbor which IS philadelphia. This IS much the same as our view on agape and its expression in the world, an expression which must include philadelphia as its functioning interaction with everyman.

Peter then IS telling us clearly that to the man who can escapethe corruption that is in the world through lust” comes a share in “the divine nature“….a nature which IS agape as “God is agape“. The apostle then cautions that man to be diligent through his Life in this world to express those ‘virtues‘ as a part of that KNOWING of which he IS a partaker. Again, it IS this sense of ‘virtue‘ of which Vincent tells us IS to: exhibit virtue or energy in the exercise of their faith, translating it into vigorous action 4 that IS the Power that drives the man in this world. This idea of ‘virtue‘ for which we have NO other English word has naught to DO with the idea of moral excellence but rather with the energy, the Power, that such KNOWING brings into the conscious mind and which IS to be incorporated into one’s expression to the world.

Peter goes on then to show us that in this expression must be gnosis which IS acquired through the “the renewing of your mind“, a gnosis which represents the realization of what IS KNOWN by the partaker of the divine nature” and works out as a man’s interpreted understanding of his own divine vision. In this state then of KNOWING as a man the reality of the Godhead, we ARE cautioned to be have temperance or self-control in regard to the Power that one can wield….to focus it always on the things of God so as “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think“. This KNOWING as a man in this world can lead to much trouble if NOT properly focused and it IS in this that we should be steadfast in maintaining that focus with eusebeia, a word for which godliness seems to be the more logical English idea when it IS seen as: the Way of  life corresponding to this knowledge 4, that IS this “knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue”

In ALL of this as well as the last two ‘virtues’ of philadelphia and agape, we should see ONLY the expression of these spiritual assets of the man who IS a partaker of the divine nature“….the man who shares these things with God and His expression of Truth and Love in this world. We close again with Paul’s words on the expression of this agape; we read:

“Owe no man any thing, but agapao one another: for he that agapao another hath fulfilled the law. 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 agape thy neighbour as thyself. Agape worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore agape is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed”  (Romans 13:8-11).

We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.

Aspect of  God

Potency

Aspect of Man

In Relation to the Great Invocation

In relation to the Christ

GOD, The Father

Will or Power

Spirit or Life

Center where the Will of God IS KNOWN

Life

Son, The Christ

Love and Wisdom

Soul or Christ Within

Heart of God

Truth

Holy Spirit

Light or Activity

Life Within

Mind of God

Way

Quote of the Day:

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts

  • 1 Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1828 and 1913 from https://1828.mshaffer.com/
  • 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
  • Bible commentaries on BibleStudyTools.com
  • 9a The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible on blueletterbible.org
  • 9 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on blueletterbible.org
 

 Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.  

Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher

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