ON LOVE; PART MCCCX
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 ended the last essay with some thoughts about the way that the doctrinal thinker believes that he hears from God regarding an array of different topics, most of them being carnal in nature. In their common lingo Christians ARE taught to pray about their Life events and to wait on God, usually through the Holy Spirit, to show them the way. Few realize that whatever answer one receives IS most always one’s own personality speaking and while there may be a tinge of conscience involved, this IS generally the product of a conscience that IS yet informed by the carnal world of the personality….the mind and the emotions. When the Apostle Paul tells us about “the renewing of your mind“, his reference IS to the reality of replacing the source of input into the personality by changing the focus of one’s Life away from the mundane and the carnal and onto the things of God that ARE ever flowing in the promptings of the Soul to the Good, the Beautiful and the True….the things of God. The Way to accomplish this replacement IS NOT based in the affirmations and confessions prescribed by doctrines, it IS rather based in the reality of the focus of one’s Life which Paul shows us saying “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). In this IS the prelude to one’s ability to Truly being Christ’s which the apostle defines for us as having “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). Can we see the point here? Can we see how that it IS in “the renewing of your mind” that one can become “born again” (John 3:3), an idea that has been hijacked by doctrinal theology and applied to the confessions and affirmations that so many believe bring one to salvation?
It IS in presenting “your bodies a living sacrifice” that one will have “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” to become Christ’s and it IS in this same way that a man can cease making “provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” which IS the mode of thought and emotion by which he lives. Paul tells us that ALL of this “is your reasonable service” and this we must understand from the perspective of the Soul and the overall Plan of God that requires that “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21); a requirement that IS the innate intent of every Soul to overcome the carnal nature and rise above this wheel of Life in form which frees everyman into “the glorious liberty of the children of God“. It IS sore unfortunate that such ideas ARE simply ignored by the doctrinal church where many ARE relegated to be admonishments that ARE but goals that need NOT be accomplished; yet, at the same time, the rewards intended for such accomplishments ARE deemed to be the singular possession of the doctrinal thinker based in his denominational sense of salvation. Most ALL Christians believe that they “are Christ’s” without understanding the force of having “crucified the flesh” or, worse, they believe that they have “crucified the flesh” based in their adherence to their doctrines rather than the practical expression of agape in this world; an expression by which the True saint and disciple ARE KNOWN. Similarly, many millions believe that they have “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” through their interpretations of the apostle’s words without fulfilling the requirement to “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14); they live their lives with a steady focus upon their doctrines and NOT upon the words of the Master which bring the Truth. Men have come to rely upon their own nebulous idea of faith as they live their lives according to their doctrinal sense and DO so based ONLY in the belief that they will go to heaven which IS their interpretation of such ideas as “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Here, without any True understanding, they ignore the words of the Apostle James words that end in his saying “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20). There IS a doctrinal dysfunction regarding the idea of works, a dysfunction that IS partly based in the perceived difficulty for a man to DO such things that ARE considered as works. Paul speaks about “the works of the law” and in this idea we should see the Jews’ fixation upon their mitzvah, their assemblage of rules and laws that ARE based in their interpretation of Moses teachings. Of the 613 commandments that ARE the mitzvah 365 ARE negative with the remaining 248 being positive actions in the Life of a Jew. It IS the rigid following of this mitzvah that ARE “the works of the law” that Paul rails on about, condemning if you will this purely carnal approach to deeply spiritual reality. While the 613 may be an arbitrary number, it was later expanded by some to 620 with the addition of some rabbinic commandments; such enumerations were NOT used in Paul’s writings or in his time, the idea behind the mitzvah IS however what he IS writing about. It IS the Jews’ interpretation of the law that was in effect in Paul’s time that ARE the Jews’ doctrinal approach to the Lord and this includes several ideas against which the Master speaks. In such sayings as “laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do” (Mark 7-8) we can see the Jews’ way in some detail as “the tradition of men” takes precedence over the Truth; it IS such traditions that ARE become the rules and the laws by which the Jew lived and it IS these that have evolved into the mitzvah of the Jews. Our point here IS that ALL of Paul’s writings about “the works of the law” and works generally ARE intended to reflect upon this religious Life of the Jews, a Life that centered on keeping these 613 mundane and carnal rules over the deeper Truths that ARE the Great Commandments. Here we should try to see that the historical plight of the Jews, from the days of the kings to today, IS based in their belief that living by the mitzvah as interpreted by men makes them God’s chosen people. This while their reality was living according to ways of vanity, attending to those things that ARE mammon, that ARE “treasures upon earth“, while believing that by their interpretations of the Truth, that they ARE ‘saved’ according to the Jews’ sense of this idea.
Is the Christian way any different? They too have constructed doctrinal precepts which replace the Truth of the Master’s words with their nebulous ideas of faith and believing. These they place before any ideas contained in His words, before much of Jesus teaching on Love and forgiveness; before the Great Commandments intended relationships between men and men and between men to God. All this IS placed under what they interpret as Paul’s meaning in the battle between faith and works. While the Jews mitzvah was based in “the tradition of men“, the Christian’s doctrines ARE based in the pronouncements of men, pronouncements that vary between denominations and sects, and fall squarely under the same words form Isaiah, and then the Master, that tell us “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). The Jew DID NOT see himself in these words when Isaiah spoke them nor DID they when Jesus repeated them against the Jews in His day; these latter took His words as a challenge to their authority. Jesus “hardened their hearts” (1 Samuel 6:6) as the Old Testament states; NOT in the way that the Christian sees as an intentional act of God but rather as the consequence of of men’s willing participation in the effects of the vanity in which they live. We should see that men harden their own hearts which IS the way that this idea IS portrayed in the reference to Samuel above. We should see that this idea of hardened hearts has carried forward into the Christian era which starts with the hardened Jewish leaders scheming and plotting to kill the Master and DOING so in such ways that ARE predicted for them by their own prophets. It IS unlikely that even if the Jews had recognized Jesus as their Messiah and tied together the ideas of the Prophets to Jesus Life that they would have acted any differently; it IS their human nature, their sin and evil, that crucified the Master as the mob mentality which IS rooted in their vanity, their illusion and glamour, holds sway over any spiritual instincts that they may have had. There was however the possibility that the Jews would see the Light of Truth that was set before them and in this idea we should see that prophecy IS ONLY prophecy when it IS fulfilled; without this fulfillment the parabolic prophecies ARE but obscure words as ARE so many such prophecies that DO NOT find their endpoint and which ARE constantly projected into the next future by the Christians of today. That the Christian DID NOT and DOES NOT see himself in Jesus words saying “in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” IS unfortunate as they carry forward the same sin and the same evil as DID the Jews who thought that their doctrinal approach was based in the Truth without ever understanding that it was mundane and carnal. Still today the various Christian ideas of Truth ARE held above the words of the Master who, if He were to return today, would likely say to them ALL that “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men“(Matthew 15:8-9).
The Jews DID NOT see the relevance of these words by a man of whom they would say such things as “we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2). In this we should see the strident effect of glamour, a sense that regardless of what IS brought to one’s attention as an apparent Truth, it can be set aside in favor of those ideas of self-certainty which Jesus shows us as
“the tradition of men“. It is these traditions that ARE the outward expression of most everyman whose sense of Truth IS founded in his doctrinal approach to the Lord and this regardless of what religion he may hold dear. We should try to see that while the religious hold firm to their beliefs in the glamour of their lives, this IS an affliction that IS found in most every area of Life….it IS an inherent aspect of that vanity into which ALL men ARE born. This glamour, combined with the illusion that accompanies it, IS the very nature of men and the product of the carnal mind and if we can see Paul’s words in this we can better understand just what IS involved in “the renewing of your mind“. This renewing IS NOT founded in the ideas of men’s doctrines which DO NOT teach that a man must keep His words and that DOES NOT hold the Great Commandments as the True focus of religion, a focus that IS the expression of agape universally to ALL with NO “respect to persons” (James 2:9). Paul tells us to “be not conformed to this world” and his words here should be seen as covering ALL that the world teaches men; from their nurturing to their indoctrination into their own culture with its societal rules, to the religious, political and social ideas that they come to hold in their glamour, ALL ARE in conformance with one’s own particular view of the world. Can we see the point here? Can we see that “the renewing of your mind” IS NOT to accept one’s doctrines as the renewing force but rather to accept ONLY the Truth that flows from one’s own Soul, one’s own unction and Christ Within. We should try to see that this IS ONLY possible when one can admit to his own sense of glamour, admit that what he KNOWS as a man IS NOT the Master’s Truth but the varied truths that ARE uttered by men whose lives ARE yet bound in that vanity, in that “bondage of corruption” into which ALL ARE born. It IS through this glamour that men hold to their indoctrinated ideas and here we should try to understand that the doctrinal thinker IS often more bound than the secular thinking man who has less to which to be bound. It IS in glamour that we find division and here we ARE reminded of the Apostle James’ words on Wisdom, that Wisdom DOES NOT flow into the heart of the man in whom there IS that sense of emulation and factious division which IS the correct way to see James’ teaching which uses the Greek words “pikros zelos kai eritheia“. While these words ARE rendered as “bitter envying and strife” by the King James translators and in terms of “jealousy and selfish ambition” or zeal and rivalry by others, none of these ideas Truly captures the spiritual connotation that James IS offering. The apostle’s point should be understood as that “the wisdom that is from above” DOES NOT flow into the Life of the man who ever seeks his better place among his peers nor to the man whose focus IS caught in the glamour that results from the divisions of men into such camps as being the Christian, the Catholic or the Protestant in religion, political parties, social groupings and even that separation that IS yet so apparent between races and cultures. James tells us that “the wisdom that is from above” comes ONLY to the man who has freed himself into the understanding of the Oneness of humanity both as Souls and as men whose unified destiny IS to express the values of the Soul in this Earth; values that ARE itemized in James defining ideas on just what such Wisdom represents in one’s expression. James tells us that:
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:13-18).
We should remember here that these translated ideas of what ARE the qualities of “the wisdom that is from above” ARE, like the qualities of what James describes as “earthly, sensual, devilish“, carnal interpretations of the Greek words. We have discussed these words over several essays in this 1600 series of essays and much can be found by searching for the Greek words on the blog’s front page. The point here IS and has been that the translations offered in most ALL bible versions ARE NOT the True intent of the apostles’ words and this IS True for both the positive and the negative terms used in James’ list as well as in other lists offered by the apostles. We have also discussed in much depth the translated words used in Paul’s “works of the flesh” and his list of the qualities of “the fruit of the spirit“; here too the carnal ideas offered ARE but a shadow of the greater spiritual Truth that the Greek words embody. It IS James point of “bitter emulation and factious division” however that inhibit the Truth in such ways that the Christian never realizes just what it IS that keeps men out of the True grace of God. That the Christian thinker believes himself to be in that grace IS and has been a great stumbling stone on the Path to Truth, a Path that IS ONLY trodden through a conscious effort to change one’s own heart based upon the promptings of one’s own Soul to the Good, the Beautiful and the True. We should try to see here that the innate center of everyman IS His Soul and although these promptings flow through the idea of conscience as one’s innate sense of what IS right, the force of this flow IS prevented by one’s most constant focus upon mammon which IS his focus upon the mundane and carnal aspects of his Life. This IS the singular point of Jesus words from His Sermon on the Mount which we have been discussing; in these words the importance of our focus on Truth and Love IS highlighted against the opposing focus upon the self and the things of the self; repeating the Master’s words we read:
“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).
We should try to see here that one’s focus upon “treasures in heaven “, one’s focus upon God over mammon, IS the focus of the man whose “eye be single” and it IS in this focus that “thy whole body shall be full of light“. If we can see this Light as the Light of the Soul bringing with it the Power of the unction by which “ye know all things” (1 John 2:20), we can then see also the Way to the singular Truth and better understand the reality of Repentance which IS that conscious effort to change one’s own heart by accepting whatsoever pieces of the One Truth may be revealed. It IS in this change of focus that revelation and realization flow and it IS in this sense that we should understand Jesus’ words saying: “it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For 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 13:11-12). Can we see the point of focus here? The disciples can “know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” because this IS their focus and, to be sure, as others begin to grasp the meaning of Jesus’ words, their focus will shift toward the same realizations of Truth. This may have been sparked by the Master’s words, by His miracles or by His example or, perhaps by ALL three. Regardless of the motivation many were added to the count of Jesus’ disciples, to the count of those who can “know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” as we read in Luke’s account where “the Lord appointed other seventy also“. We should note that the Greek word anadeiknumi which IS rendered as appointed IS defined by Thayer’s as: to lift up anything on high and exhibit 9 which idea DOES NOT carry the same connotation as being specifically appointed as a disciple by the Master. Here we can perhaps see that Jesus and each man’s own Christ Within lifted up this seventy as He “sent them two and two before his face into every city and place” (Luke 10:1). Aside from showing the Way of the disciple, Jesus IS showing us the reality, the result if you will, of such focus upon the things of God. He shows us that by the measure of one’s focus more and more of “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” will be revealed and here we should see the singular idea of Truth which IS ever the revelation and the realization of ALL mysteries of which “he shall have more abundance“. Further we should understand that the idea of “whosoever hath not” relates to the man whose focus IS mundane and carnal and that this included then the ranks of the religious Jews and today’s religious men of doctrine and this includes most ALL religion. We should remember here that it IS disciples that can “know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” and that ALL others ARE among the them to whom “it is not given“. Here we should understand that to believe oneself to be in His grace, to believe that one hears from God, to believe that one IS ‘saved‘, or has “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts“, or those that believe that they “are Christ’s” and that they have “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” IS to believe in a reflection of the nebulous nature of the doctrinal ideas of faith and believing. Such ideas fail to bring the Truth of “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” into one’s realization as these ARE the possession ONLY of the disciple who the Master defines for us in our trifecta which we repeat 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).
And this first part of our trifecta IS NOT the ONLY defining idea that the Master offers us on discipleship, He also tells us about what we have described as being among the ‘willingly poor‘ in recent essays. We should understand that this idea of being poor IS by NO means being destitute; it means ONLY that such things as ARE the defining ideas of being destitute, lacking food, clothing, and shelter *, ARE among those things about which Jesus teaches us to “take no thought” which teaching IS a brief view of His most decisive words on discipleship. The Master tells us, in words that ARE completely ignored by the church, that “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. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple….whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, 33). While Vincent DOES NOT address the 26th and 27th verses in his commentary, he DOES address the 33rd by addressing the intent of the word forsaketh; he tells us that it means: Bids good-by to 4. While this idea IS similar to the ideas engendered by forsaking, the idea IS NOT held in the renderings of other translations. Vincent tells us that the Revised Version uses renounceth which idea IS but a part of the whole idea of forsaking. The idea of bids good-by to IS perhaps the better rendering across ALL of the uses of this Greek word apotasso but ONLY when the view of this IS literal and NOT aligned with the more simple idea of renouncing. One can renounce a thing but still possess it. This idea of renouncing however IS yet stronger than the common Christian idea that forsaking here means that one IS willing to ‘give up‘ all possessions when called upon to DO so and this calling IS of course from the voice of God which so many believe that they hear. This of course IS a nebulous idea like faith and believing and one by which a man can hold onto his possessions and wealth by convincing himself that he IS NOT called upon to give them up. But forsaking ALL IS more than just possessions and wealth; the Master shows us that this includes one’s relationships as well as one’s thoughts and attitudes which ARE everyman’s cross to bear as ONLY he Truly KNOWS exactly what these ARE. John Gill paints the Master’s words this way: So likewise whosoever he be of you Let him be ever so forward to follow me, to make a profession of me and of my Gospel, and to become a disciple of mine; that forsaketh not all that he hath; when called to it, relations, friends, possessions, estates, and what not, which is an explanation of (Luke 14:26); he cannot be my disciple; he is not in fact one, and is not worthy to be called one 8. While Mr. Gills words DO NOT show us the stark reality of forsaking as he covers this under the doctrinal idea of when called to it, he DOES, perhaps inadvertently, show us the error of the church which allows any and ALL believers to be called as disciples based merely upon their affiliation with a particular denomination or sect. Vincent quotes Trench saying that “In that forsaketh lies the key to the whole passage” (Trench) while adding his own idea that Christian discipleship is founded in self-renunciation 4. Indeed forsaking IS the key but NOT ONLY to this passage; forsaking IS the key to True spiritual reality as it IS ONLY in the Master’s defining ideas on self-renunciation that we can Truly keep His words and focus upon the Truth of Love….the Truth that IS agape. And what ARE the Master’s ideas on self-renunciation but the entirety of His teaching beginning with His words above from the Sermon on the Mount which ARE encapsulated for us in the Great Commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” and the explanatory note of the Golden Rule, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them“.
It IS in these sayings and the many other pronouncements from the Master, which ARE amplified and clarified by His apostles, that ARE at the heart of self-renunciation. It IS the Master’s words that show us the art of forsaking which art defines for us the idea of the ‘willingly poor‘. Again these poor ARE NOT the downtrodden of the world who survive with little means; these ARE simply those who have looked away from the satisfaction of worldly means; these ARE those that Truly “take no thought” which IS perhaps the first step of in one’s ability to forsaketh “all that he hath” and become His True disciple. We should not forget that in being His True disciple that a man IS also bound to keep His words as Jesus tells us saying “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed“. It IS here in these ideas that we should see that the intersection between the self-renunciation of the Great Commandment and the Golden Rule and keeping His words IS paved in agape as the apostles show us saying “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“. We should try to see here that this idea of the law IS NOT the target of Paul’s ire as he rails against the “works of the law” (Galatians 2:16), in which framing of his words we should ONLY see those ancillary parts of the law that Moses ordained to keep the people from their sense of failure and to instill orderly social and moral laws into the Jews of whom he took charge. These “works of the law” include those ideas that have fallen away since Paul’s writing because they were NO longer practical or often even doable as well as some that ARE still held by Jews today; These “works of the law” include ALL that the Master referred to as “the tradition of men“. We should try to see how that the law as spoken of by Jesus and the apostles IS the Ten Commandments which show the relationships between man and God as well as between a man and his fellowman. This IS made clear by Paul’s words saying “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth 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 love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).
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
- 9 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on blueletterbible.org
- * Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher