ON LOVE; PART MCCCVII
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).
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.
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 began the last essay with some thoughts on the way that the idea of being “born again” has been ‘hijacked’ by the doctrinal church and made to mean that a man IS become a doctrinal Christian. This doctrinal status however has naught to DO with the reality of being “born again” from the perspective that the Master gives us in using this idea. Jesus shows us that being “born again” IS the gateway to one’s being able to “enter into the kingdom of God” which He also frames for us as being able to “see the kingdom of God“. While the doctrinal Christian may believe that he has such privilege to see and to enter, this belief IS outside of the True intent that we should take from the Master’s words. The doctrines of men tie this privilege to one’s confessions and affirmations of Jesus based in the Apostle Paul’s saying that “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). These words ARE of course taken out of their context which IS a lesson to the Jews regarding the similarity of ideas concerning righteousness as spoken by Moses and then by Paul; the former speaks of the righteousness that comes in following the law and the latter the righteousness that comes in KNOWING God. This IS missed by the doctrinal Christian who DOES NOT interpret the idea of pistis which IS rendered as faith into the idea of KNOWING but rather interprets this into the nebulous doctrinal idea of faith. There IS a reality to KNOWING God that IS ignored by the doctrinal church and this likely because it IS beyond the carnal abilities of men….it requires, as DO ALL spiritual Truths, that a man should keep His words and, at the very least, strive to DO so. The Apostle John shows us in clear words the reality of KNOWING God as He says “hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4); to be sure, the clarity here IS deafening. John’s words however ARE NOT understood or, worse, they ARE set aside because the DO NOT agree with the doctrinal precepts that ARE based in the words of Paul. John goes on in his writing regarding this idea of KNOWING God as he tells us “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” (1 John 4:7-8). Here we should see how that John equates the idea of keeping His word with one’s expression of agape….both show that one Truly KNOWS God. This IS of course NO different than Paul’s similar words that equate the expression of Love with keeping the law and through this we should be able to understand the synergy between the law and the words of the Jesus,….His commandments. Paul tells us “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 thy neighbour as thyself” (Romans 13:9) and then that “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Galatians 5:14). While these ideas ARE accepted by the doctrinal Christian, their reality and their impact on the lives of men IS missed as they DO NOT understand the reality of agape and the way that agape works to make these sayings True.
If we begin with the idea of KNOWING God, we can then see through John’s words that this IS NOT possible for the man whose expression IS NOT the deeper meaning of agape. We should see here many intertwining ideas from the Master and His apostles beginning with the words of Paul above that equate this expression with the reality of keeping His commandments which IS keeping the law. Here again we must be able to separate those aspects of the law that deal with a man’s relationships with his fellow man from those ancillary and ceremonial parts that ARE intended as ‘governing’ ideas for the Jews in a harsh, barbaric and superstitious time. That these aspects of the law were commingled by Moses IS likely necessary based on the very nature of men in those days and especially the nature of the Jew who had been bound in Egypt and finally freed. The deeper aspects of the law relate man to God and man to his fellowman while the ancillary and ceremonial parts provide both the way for men to be free from the burden of the law through ritual and sacrifice along with some reasonable remedies for what happens when offenses affect one’s neighbor; we see this in the lengthy dissertation on leprosy or the rules on inadvertently killing another or another’s property. While many DO NOT see this separation in the law, this IS because the law IS deemed to have come directly from the Lord. In the reality of Life however the Lord speaks through those whose Life’ expression IS that same unction that John speaks of, that anointing that ALL men can share with Jesus whose expression IS the Christ. We should see this in Moses, in many of the prophets, in the Master and in His disciples who have expressed such Power. We should try to understand this as a Truly spiritual version of the Christian ‘phenomenon’ of having God speak to them and here, if we can understand that God DOES NOT speak to men of such mundane things as so many report, perhaps we can see the greater Truth. In the reality that every Soul IS part and parcel of the Greater Soul that IS the Universal Christ, we can then understand the reality behind John’s saying that “ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things” (1 John 2:20). It IS through this unction, this anointing, this Christ Within, that men can KNOW God and the reality here IS more than merely recognizing this Truth and realization of the Presence of God; the reality here IS measured in James’ terms of “the wisdom that is from above” and Paul’s listing of what IS “the fruit of the Spirit“. Whensoever the thought or idea IS Truly from the Lord, it will perforce be an expression of these things. We should understand here however that this expression IS NOT merely the expression of the carnal ideas that ARE rendered from the Greek words; it IS the expression of the deeper spiritual meanings of these Greek words. It IS in this way that the Truth comes forth without any interference from the carnal mind, without being colored by the proclivities of the personality, whether these be natural or indoctrinated. John tells us that “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” which idea brings us back again to our trifecta where we read the Master’s 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).
- “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 connection here IS between the Master’s words on the Way to Truth through keeping His words, which IS framed for us as “If ye continue in my word“, and John’s combination of the ideas of KNOWING Him and having that same Truth. Through this we should try to understand that the singular Truth IS found in KNOWING God; NOT as a religious exercise but rather as an understanding of one’s True self in relation to the Whole which IS God. In this understanding IS the central point of agape and its relationship to keeping His words which IS the gateway to ALL KNOWING or, better, the realization as a man in this world of that KNOWING. It IS here that one can realize the Truth of the Presence of God and it IS here that the reality of Truly hearing from the Lord materializes in this world. In the words of the Apostle Paul we have a glimpse into the workings of the carnal mind and the carnal man’s failure to see things spiritual regardless of his involvement in the doctrinal church’s teachings. We should understand here that ALL mundane thoughts and ideas, that IS ALL carnal thoughts and ideas that concern the self, the things of the self under the definitions of mundane as: of or relating to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven; worldly; earthly; of or relating to the world, universe, or earth* ARE neither “the wisdom that is from above” nor “the fruit of the Spirit” but ARE the workings of the carnal mind, the mind of the “natural man“. Paul tells us “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God” and then that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:12,14); it IS unfortunate that the doctrinal thinker puts himself in the position of the one who has “the spirit which is of God” instead of his True position as “the natural man“. Again the man who has “the spirit which is of God” IS one that will “know all things“, the man who has the fullness of the Truth as his expression in this world or some measure of that Truth proportionate to his striving. This IS NOT the average everyday doctrinal Christian who has been indoctrinated into the idea that he has “the spirit which is of God” working in his Life, the man who IS in reality the “natural man” to whom the One Truth IS “foolishness unto him“. The doctrinal thinker DOES NOT yet see that “the things of the Spirit of God” ARE, in a word, agape. The “natural man” lives in the vanity of Life in this Earth where one’s focus IS upon the self, the family and those things of which the Master tells us “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on“; to these He adds that we should “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” and that we should “Take therefore no thought for the morrow” (Matthew 6:25, 33, 34). The doctrines of men have relegated this idea of “take no thought” to the singular idea of worry for such things rather than as a continuation of the Master’s words regarding the singularity of focus which He begins by telling us of treasure, then of the single eye and then of the things of God versus mammon. The message of one’s focus IS nearly completely missed by the doctrinal thinker and most always in favor of one’s ability to maintain his status as a man in this world….a “natural man“. While we have discussed Vincent’s comments on “take no thought” in previous essays, it IS worth the time to address this again; Vincent tells us that: The cognate noun is μέριμνα, care, which was formerly derived from μερίς, a part; μερίζω, to divide; and was explained accordingly as a dividing care, distracting the heart from the true object of life, This has been abandoned, however, and the word is placed in a group which carries the common notion of earnest thoughtfulness. It may include the ideas of worry and anxiety, and may emphasize these, but not necessarily 4. We should see here the idea of focus clearly stated in the original ideas regarding the phrase as well as that the emphasizing of worry and anxiety here IS NOT necessarily implied. Taking these ideas into the gist of Jesus whole statement beginning with His words on treasure should show us the idea of focus and here focus upon “first the kingdom of God“. It IS this idea of focus upon the things of God that brings a man to the Truth of being “born again“.
While the doctrinal thinker believes that he has possession of such ideas as being “born again“; that he believes that he KNOWS God and has His Presence or that he believes that he IS ‘saved‘ and forever forgiven, the reality IS that he has never seen the presented quid pro quo ideas that ARE presented to him, nor has he fulfilled his part. From the very beginning there has been the spiritual rewards or gifts that ARE given to the man who can by measure DO his part and if we were to look openly at what his part actually IS we will see that it has ever been a matter of focus. From Moses words to the nation of Israel saying “if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2) as he goes on to list the rewards, to Jesus words of the trifecta, there IS the same idea of a quid pro quo….a reward based upon one’s focus upon the things of God. Most doctrines however DO NOT ‘believe’ in this idea of reward as they see their own ideas of such reward as a “free gift” based upon their misreading and selective interpretation of the Apostle Paul’s words. The idea of this “free gift” IS rendered from the Greek word charisma which IS a derivative of charis which IS the grace of God. While such grace IS free, it must at the same time be earned whereby it IS a reward; if we want the Truth we must keep His words, if we want the Kingdom we must “doeth the will of my Father” and if we want His Presence we must KNOW that it comes to those who “hath my commandments, and keepeth them“. Even Paul shows us the idea of being a DOER but such ideas ARE NOT the focus of the doctrines of men that see ONLY the idea of the “free gift” as that which comes ONLY to the ‘believer‘, to the man who has that doctrinal faith of which the Apostle James tells us “that faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). In past essays we have discussed the Master’s use of this idea of grace, a word that IS sparsely used in the gospels and used less by Jesus according to the writers. To make the same point Luke and Matthew used different words to express the idea of the reward; Luke tells us the Master’s words as: “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again” (Luke 6:32-34). Here the King James translators chose to use thank to render charis and when compared to the like saying offered by Matthew we can see how that this idea fails. Others also fail as they render charis as credit, as benefit and as blessing. Matthew shows us this same idea offering the Master’s words as “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matthew 5:46-47). Here misthos IS used in place of charis; misthos IS defined by Strong’s as: pay for service (literally or figuratively), good or bad:—hire, reward, wages 9a and it IS this idea that should help us to define charis and to understand what grace Truly IS. We should understand here also that the word free as this IS attached to the idea of gift IS a doctrinal presumption; the word IS NOT included in the text. Because of the very idea of grace being a reward, there IS little acceptance of the idea by the doctrinal church. However, the idea of grace as a reward IS NO different than any of the quid pro quo statements offered in the bible. Fulfillment of any of the covenants, as these statements are called, requires something in exchange for the grace that ever comes from God and which IS never of a carnal nor mundane in nature. New Testament examples of this abound in the words of the Master and His apostles; out trifecta includes three. To gain the Truth, to gain the Kingdom and to gain His Presence ALL require that one would keep His words. The Apostle Peter shows us that we can attain the “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” when we can escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). Paul tells us that to be Christ’s one will have “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). In these words from the apostles we should see again the idea of focus as the Master teaches it; it IS focus upon the self that creates the desires for the things of the self, the carnal things of this world. It IS through our measure of True focus upon the things of God, the Good, the Beautiful and the True, which ARE in a word agape, that frees us from our “bondage of corruption” which IS our individual and corporate vanity (Romans 8:20, 21). This change of focus IS the deeper reality of Repentance and IS everyman’s part in the quid pro quo that IS ever presented to the carnal mind by the Lord.
James tells us of the True heir to the Kingdom saying that to be so one must be among “the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him” (James 2:5). Here we must try to see the deeper spiritual meaning of being poor, especially in this context. Vincent tells us that: the correct reading is τῷ κόσμῳ, to the world 4 and here we should see that the idea IS again focus….NOT on the world but on the things of God. It IS by focus upon the things of the world, one’s Life and those things of which the Master says “take no thought“, that one remains trapped in the vanity that IS Life here in this Earth. While the defining ideas behind ptochos show us the ideas of the beggar and the pauper, this IS NOT the sole intent of this word. Strong’s tells us that ptochos IS: from πτώσσω ptṓssō (to crouch); akin to G4422 and the alternate of G4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense 9a and here we should see the more qualified or relative sense. Thayer’s begins their defining ideas on ptochos saying: to be thoroughly frightened, to cower down or hide oneself for fear; hence, πτωχός properly, one who slinks and crouches), often involving the idea of roving about in wretchedness 9. The ideas of being poor and needy, being the beggar and the pauper are based in classical Greek usage and NOT in the intent of the word in scripture and while there ARE uses in the words of the Master and His apostles where being poor means just that, this IS NOT the intent here nor in Jesus words saying “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20) which idea IS perhaps clarified by Matthew’s version which says “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Ptochos IS rendered as beggar in the story of Lazarus and the rich man but this IS a translator’s choice as the word is rendered by others as “a poor man“; we should remember that this IS a parable which shows us rather clearly that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11). It IS likely on this theme that James uses the idea of the rich and the poor to show us that “if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:9). We should note here that there IS a combination of ideas used by James as he tells us about attaining the promise; it IS in the combining of the idea of “the poor of this world” with being “rich in faith” that we should try to see the ‘willing’ poor and NOT those that ARE so because of the happenstance of their lives. If we can understand that to be “rich in faith” IS to KNOW God and His Truth, we can then understand what the ‘willing’ poor would be. It IS this idea that Jesus tries to cause the “the certain ruler” to understand as He tells him “Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me” (Luke 18:18, 22). The entirety of this message IS missed by the doctrinal church as IS the Master’s clear statement saying “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24-25). In this we should see Jesus’ words on treasure, on the choice of one’s focus between “treasures upon earth” and “treasures in heaven” along with the unique qualifier which shows us the very nature of our lives; He tells us clearly that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also“. But men believe that they can DO both, seek treasure here in this Life and somehow build treasure for the afterlife. The DO NOT connect to their ideas the Master’s words that say “No man can serve two masters….Ye cannot serve God and mammon“. Repeating the fullness of Jesus’ words which we have been discussion:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matthew 6:19-25)
John Gill shows us the doctrinal slant on the Master’s words regarding mammon saying of mamonas that: it is not an Hebrew word, nor an adjective, but a substantive, and signifies riches; which are opposed to God, being by some men loved, admired, trusted in, and worshipped, as if they were God 8. The general definitions of mamonas which IS either rendered as mammon or as wealth, money and worldly riches ALL miss the point that the Master IS making, a point that IS further diluted by ideas such as Mr. Gills where money, riches, mammon, etc. ARE good so long they ARE NOT loved, admired, trusted in, and worshipped. Jesus’ point IS NOT here in these words about mammon but in the entirety of His words on treasure, mammon, the single eye and finally the True meaning of “take no thought“. For us the result of ALL of these ideas IS the focus of a man upon the things of God rather than on the things of the self and of the world. The world and its systems ARE NOT deterred by the Master’s Words nor will they ever be until such time that men can begin to move their focus off of the mundane, off of their little carnal existences in this world. Few ARE free from this effect of that vanity to which ALL ARE subjected. While the Christian may believe that he IS freed by his doctrinal precepts, most ALL are yet essentially focused upon their little lives and whatsoever time they may spend in their doctrinal pursuits leaves them caught unknowingly in Jesus words saying “No man can serve two masters” and James amplification that tells us “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Luke IS the only writer that shows us “the certain ruler” as Jesus’ words, the others refer to him simply as “one running” (Mark 10:17) to Jesus and as “the young man” (Matthew 19:20); while we DO NOT KNOW this man except from these descriptions, we DO KNOW that the three writers DO show him as rich and it IS in the point of riches that this whole story lies. This man or ruler was NOT willing to become poor as this word should be defined; century’s of men thoughts DO NOT understand the intent here and neither did this man who IS offered “treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21). When we can understand that the intent of this word means much more that the common understanding we can perhaps understand the way that James and the Master both use this idea. There IS a carnal view and there IS a spiritual view of the idea behind this; while the “certain ruler” should be giving his abundance to the carnally poor, he would be making of himself one who IS spiritually poor….’willingly’. In the duality of such carnal/spiritual ideas we should try to see that one who IS spiritually poor IS NOT lacking anything of Spirit, he IS rather as the disciples who “have forsaken all, and followed thee” (Mark 19:27). Again, based in the carnal view of Life which IS held by most every person, the reality of being poor IS become convoluted and perhaps this IS intentionally so from the perspective of that KNOWING that comes to everyman who can focus upon the things of God. These who ARE KNOWING ARE in our trifecta as those who can “continue in my word“. For these it IS ever in the revelations and realizations of the Truth that one can come to understand the parabolic ideas that ARE presented and if we can see in these ideas above regarding the ‘willing’ poor in Jesus words saying “whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (Matthew 13:12) we can perhaps glimpse the greater Truth. These words ARE the spiritual view that IS to be understood by the ‘willing’ poor as it IS upon one’s shedding of such carnal thoughts, attitudes and things that one can come to Truly have and, to him that DOES have, more will ever be given. Again we should see the singular idea of focus which IS rather clearly depicted: the man who “hath not” spiritually IS the man whose focus IS on the self and through such continual focus we should see that “from him shall be taken away even that he hath“.
We should be able to see in these ideas the root of being “born again“. We should be able to see that it IS in becoming ‘willingly’ poor that one DOES Truly become “born of the spirit” (John 3:6). We should also see here that to be ‘willingly’ poor IS NOT just to give up one’s material possessions which have little to DO with with the ultimate Truth that it IS one’s focus that Truly matters. To be ‘willingly’ poor IS to forsake the things of the self, to NOT focus on them….to “take no thought” as the Master teaches us. This IS the Way to fulfill Jesus’ singular rule of discipleship which He tells us saying “whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
- 8 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