ON LOVE; PART MCCCLXI
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 and ended the last essay with some thoughts on agape and the role that it must play in for everyman who chooses to focus upon the things of God. This change of focus off of one’s mortal and mundane Life in this world IS the reality of that Repentance that the Master teaches us as the first component of spiritual living; Repentance IS His first admonition as He tells us that “the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Repentance IS also the keynote of the apostles as they ARE sent out to carry the Master’s message; Mark tells us that “they went out, and preached that men should repent” (Mark 6:12). While Mark IS the ONLY gospel writer to frame the apostles’ mission as that “that men should repent“, Matthew frames the idea in Jesus’ equal terms saying “as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” which IS NOT unlike the apostle’s view of the Master’s words saying of the beginning of His ‘ministry’ “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7, 4:17). The Apostle Luke shows us the idea of Repentance as part of Paul’s conversion which we read as “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me” (Acts 26:19-21). We should note that these words to King Agrippa ARE spoken late in the apostle’s ministry, late in the time that he IS a prisoner at Caesarea and just before his journey to Rome. It IS this idea that men “should repent and turn to God” which should be seen as the tone of Paul’s own ‘ministry’; and here we should see a merging of Paul’s Gospel with the Gospel of the Master. We should note here how that Paul teaches the same Truths as DOES Jesus throughout his ‘ministry’, Truths that ARE rendered moot by the doctrinal presentation of Paul’s words which ARE cast as the True Christian doctrine based in a new covenant. As we have been writing throughout this blog these doctrinal ideas ARE the inventions of men and in our view most ALL of the reliance upon the words of Paul stem from an inability to accept the Truths that Jesus presents to us; Truths that begin with True Repentance and which allow everyman to Transform into an expression of agape. The Apostle Peter also begins his solo ‘ministry’ with the admonition that men Repent. From the Book of Acts we read “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Here we should see that Repentance IS the KEY to the “gift of the Holy Ghost” but this IS NOT recognized by the church which rather relies upon baptism. Most ALL fail to see the idea that one’s Repentance, one’s change of focus, IS the KEY to his immersion, his baptizo, into the very nature of the Christ and that the baptismal rite without this change of focus IS but an unprofitable ritual. We should remember the defining idea of baptizo which IS rendered here as baptized; we can gain much insight through the lexicons presentation of the difference between the Greek words bapto and baptizo:
The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (baptô) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizô) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism 2a.
While this explanation IS included in most every lexicon, the idea IS NOT appreciated in the churches which rely on and debate the mode of baptism, infant or adult, and the differing ideas of sprinkling or pouring water upon the head, or immersion into water either partially or completely. Again these ideas ARE but aspects of a ritual based in a loose understanding of the technical aspects as performed in the gospels by John the Baptist. The stated purpose of and the need for baptism also varies much between sects and denominations. Peter speaks of Repentance again as he admonishes the Jews for their ‘handling’ of Jesus and how that they “denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses“. Peter then says to the Jews “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:14-15, 19). We should understand that the conversion here IS NOT to Christianity but rather away from whatsoever they have held in their hearts as Truth. In this we should see an amplification of the idea of Repentance and an injunction that they change their focus away from their own doctrines and onto the presented Truths of the Master. The same injunction applies yet today and as it fell on deaf ears then, save for some few who heard the message, it falls on deaf ears today and has for many centuries. There IS a difficulty in Repentance that prevents the church from teaching this as the Way but we should understand that the difficulty IS ONLY in one’s lack of desire to give up the carnal Life; here we should understand this idea of carnal in the broadest of defining ideas. Carnal IS NOT ONLY those thoughts, attitudes and actions that relate to the grosser human behaviors, rather carnal pertains to ALL thoughts, attitudes and actions that ARE NOT in accord with the Master’s words and here again we should look to His words that ARE the Great Commandments. In today’s English we should see the first of the Great Commandments as our focus upon God and the things of God with ALL that we have; this the Master paints for us as “all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength“. It IS in this idea of ALL that the presumed problem lies; men CAN NOT see themselves caring for the things of God over the things of the self, over family, over career, over possessions and so on as to encompasses the reality of ALL. We also find this idea in Jesus’ criteria for discipleship and here we should understand that discipleship IS the True goal of every Soul that IS born in this Earth albeit a goal that IS obnubilated by the vanity, the illusion and glamour, of Life in form. Jesus tells us “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….So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, 33). These ARE hard sayings for the carnal mind to accept and we should understand here that while this IS the price of discipleship, it IS at the same time the price for the reality of attaining the Kingdom and its realization of eternal Life. We should understand as well that the idea of discipleship IS one of measure, that ALL who have come to Repentance and who ARE DOING the work of Transformation ARE disciples of some rank; it IS the accomplished disciple who can say with Peter “we have left all, and have followed thee” (Mark 10:27). We can also see this requirement of focus upon the things of God through Jesus words to the rich young man saying “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me” (Mark 10:21). While it IS easier to understand the Master’s words as addressed ONLY to this man, the reality IS that this IS a statement of universal Truth.
The church however CAN NOT accept this as a part of the Way nor can they accept the universal idea that “how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark (10: 24-25). Men CAN NOT fathom these ideas and so have changed the emphasis; NOT the Master’s emphasis but their own selfish interpretation of His intent. The church has resorted to debating what IS “the eye of a needle” although the idea IS crystal clear and they debate as well the meaning of “them that trust in riches” despite the way that this same thought IS presented in Matthew’s Gospel saying “a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23). So as Christians choose to focus upon those things that the Master says we should NOT, they miss the target and this missing IS our continual sin. When we can understand that the Way to avoid this sin, to actually aim at the True target, IS Repentance, we will come nearer to the Truth that lies behind it in our Transformation. It IS here in this process of Transforming that we can Truly approach the second of the Great Commandments which IS our enduring expression of agape. We should understand that it IS the same vanity, the same illusion and glamour, that prevent a man from this expression. Here again we should see a general reluctance to offer agape because it seems to men to diminish one’s view of oneself and those that he may hold dear. The crux of the idea that “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” IS found in the way that this must operate, the way that we ARE to Love ALL equally with NO special preference for family or any person or thing or idea that one may hold close. It IS this idea that the Apostle James shows us saying “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:8-9). Again these ideas ARE rather clearly stated by the Master and His apostles but they ARE NOT accepted as the Way by much of the church which would rather debate the minutia than accept the Truth. A church that would rather concentrate upon their interpreted ideas from the words of the apostles through their tendency to seize upon ideas that ARE easier for them to manipulate than Repentance and Transformation which lead us to the Truth of agape.
Included in these doctrinal ideas ARE the church’s focus upon what Paul shows us as gifts and while these gifts ARE presumed to be imputed to the Christian through his doctrinal approach, this same apostle shows us their proper place in the spiritual lives of men. We should remember that Jesus cautions us about such gifts in Matthew’s version of the Sermon on the Mount; the Master draws a picture of the man who DOES prophecy, who DOES heal or “cast out devils” and who DOES “wonderful works” (Matthew 7:22) as He shows us that this IS NOT the Way to the Kingdom; in this we should see that there MUST be more. Paul picks up this idea in a way that IS NOT Truly seen by the doctrinal thinker whose focus IS upon this idea of gifts and, whether they ARE real or imagined, they ARE NOT the True spiritual gifts but ARE carnally based. Paul tells us that this IS so in the absence of our True expression of agape. Paul begins by showing us that the True gifts ARE from the “same Spirit“, the “same Lord” and the “same God” and in this we should see the very nature of the True gifts….that they ARE in NO way carnal nor do the operate carnally. These gifts ARE “the manifestation of the Spirit” and we should understand that in Truth such gifts come to the man who IS focused upon the Truth of God, NOT to the man who merely follows the dictates of his doctrinal approach to God. While Paul IS instructing the Corinthians on the matter of these “spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 5, 6, 7, 1) we should try to see that he IS showing them that NOT ALL men will have ALL gifts; the apostle IS NOT saying that those to whom he writes ALL have them. This IS evident in the way that this part of his letter ends; it IS at the close of this part that Paul offers his advice saying “covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). In the idea of covet we should see the more rational idea of desire and in this a spiritual desire and NOT one that IS carnally oriented for self profit in any way. We should see also that this entire discourse IS based in the psyche of the Corinthians who deemed such gifts as important and perhaps strived with each other regarding who had the best gifts in the church. Paul then IS telling them that while they can desire “the best gifts” there IS yet a better way, “a more excellent way” to achieve what they may have believed was the Way to the Truth. And, while the apostle IS DOING this, he IS at the same time showing the worthlessness of such gifts in the absence of one’s expression of agape. It IS this that IS the crux of Paul’s message. However, while the apostle’s ideas on Love ARE very clear they ARE NOT understood as was intended by both the Master and the apostle; much of this selection from Paul IS become but trite words that ARE NOT seen as the “more excellent way“. Repeating the apostle’s words:
“covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charityagape, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charityagape, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charityagape, it profiteth me nothing. CharityAgape suffereth long, and is kind; charityagape envieth not; charityagape vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. CharityAgape never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” (1Corinthians 12:31, 13:1-8).
Perhaps it IS because the King James Bible renders agape as charity that much of the emphasis that Paul IS showing us IS lost and here we should remember that this word charity had a very different meaning in the time when this bible version was composed. Add to this the common understanding of Love, which IS much the same in most every language, and we can see how that the ideas behind Paul’s words ARE NOT understood according to the reality of the Greek word agape and its spiritual intent. Even the lexicons and the various bible dictionaries fall far short of the intended meaning, a meaning that IS easily found out in Jesus words regarding agape and such ideas as the apostle shows us here in this selection from 1 Corinthians. The importance of agape IS also shown us by the apostle in such sayings that equate one’s expression of this special form of Love with the most righteous living that comes through His saying that “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 13:9-10). The Power of agape should be evident to ALL through these ideas from Paul, the apostle that IS credited by most ALL of the church with forming a new covenant and a new dispensation. This Power however IS missing in practice by most ALL Christians who see agape in terms of the common ideas of Love and NOT in the way that the deepest reality of that Power IS God….”for God is love”. The Power of this idea IS repeated by the apostle saying “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:8, 16) and here we should be able to see the dynamic link between these words and the Master’s own criteria for having the Presence of God in one’s Life….that we keep His words. In Jesus’ words saying that “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” (John 14:23) we should again see this Power of agape and its equivalence to keeping His words and this in two ways. First that it IS in keeping His words that a man can “dwelleth in God, and God in him“; it IS in this way that we have the Presence of God. Second IS in the reality that it IS in keeping His words that one expresses his Love for the Master and through this his Love for the Lord. It IS in this way, through keeping His words, that one can approach being among those that ARE the subject of the first of the Great Commandments. Can we see the shortcomings of men’s understanding of the idea of agape and can we see the error in seeing agape as the common ideas of Love. The reality of agape IS, in many ways, contrary to the general attitudes of men, attitudes that ARE formed in that vanity of Life in this world and that are fomented through the nurturing and indoctrination of everyman into to ways of Life in this world. It IS in this state that men apply defining ideas to agape that fall far short of the Power that the idea demands; clearly the lexicon’s defining ideas that agape as: brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence; love feasts 2a DO NOT recognize the Power that Jesus’ word give the True idea of agape. Save for the idea of good will which IS also grossly misunderstood, there IS naught to readily explain the depth of this word. Thayer’s, using similar defining ideas as the lexicon, shows us the basic idea as: affection, good-will, love, benevolence; Of the love of men to men; especially of that love of Christians toward Christians which is enjoined and prompted by their religion, whether the love be viewed as in the soul or as expressed 9. Again, this falls far short of such ideas as we find in Jesus’ saying:
“I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 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. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:27-36).
It IS in the perceived difficulty of living according to Jesus’ words that the church has NOT taught the depth of agape as the Master’s commandments. Thus these ideas remain as but a platitude, as words to be admired but NOT followed with the intent found in the True meaning of agape. Hence we have such defining ideas as the common understanding of Love and such ideas as we get from our bible dictionaries and lexicons. Thayer’s DOES, at the beginning of their analysis of the Greek word, tell us that agape IS: a purely Biblical and ecclesiastical word 9 but this information IS useless without defining ideas that Truly agree. Strong’s, in a much shorter analysis, offers us a more common view of Love in defining agape along with some ideas on the ‘feasts‘, ideas that ONLY serve to muddy the Master’s intent. Strong’s tells us that agape IS: love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast:—(feast of) charity(-ably), dear, love 9a. While benevolence and GoodWill ARE found in many of the defining ideas, these ideas also fail to show the impact that the Master Truly intends to be attached to this idea of agape. We should also note here that Paul’s words to the Corinthians ARE also lost in the common idea of Love; lost in that mental and emotional attachment and attraction to others and to those things that have become important to a man. This idea of Love IS purely carnal and IS nearly impossible to import into Jesus’ words or Paul’s that ARE cited above. Especially disconcerting IS the idea, popular in some parts of the church, that agape IS to be shown to “the brethren“, as love of Christians toward Christians as Thayer’s cites. It IS likely that this idea of Love for fellow Christians comes from such ideas as Peter’s saying “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22) or perhaps John’s words saying “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (1 John 3:14). Such ideas however ARE but a part of the overall Truth regarding our expression of agape according to the Great Commandment that “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“. It IS perhaps in the general understanding of the idea of the neighbor that most ALL fail to understand the reality of agape and this failure of exacerbated by men’s failure to understand the idea of Loving oneself. The former idea, the neighbor, should NOT however be a mystery to any. It IS however NOT painted as it should be by the church and this as a part of their overall failure to give the whole idea of agape the place that it so rightly deserves. Again this failure, as most ALL failures of religion, IS based in the way that men have ever sought to cling to their own sense of humanity, a sense that IS at odds with one’s expression of agape; this IS but a part of the overall failure to teach and to live in accord with the Master’s words. While the Christian world DOES call Jesus Lord, they fail in the most simple ways to show that He IS their Lord by keeping His words. Here we repeat our trifecta which shows us to DO so and we should ever remember that chief among His words ARE His words on agape:
- “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 seemingly simple statement that “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” should be seen as the pinnacle of the Truth of the gospel and while many church teachers proclaim that His IS the gospel of the Kingdom, the deeper reality IS that His words and ALL before them ARE the gospel of agape; the gospel of Right Human Relations and of GoodWill which IS for us Love in Action. The idea of the neighbor, from the Greek plesion, while rightly defined in the lexicon as: according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet 2a IS ill understood. In this defining idea we should see the man whom we chance to meet can be any man, any where and thus everyman. This defining idea IS however upset by Strong’s definition of plesion which, while likely grammatically correct, misses the point of its usage in this bible phrase as well as the lengthy explanation of plesion offered by the Master. Strong’s defines plesion as: neuter of a derivative of πέλας pélas (near); (adverbially) close by; as noun, a neighbor, i.e. fellow (as man, countryman, Christian or friend):—near, neighbour 9a which IS wholly a inadequate idea. While Thayer’s defining ideas include that from the lexicon, their other points restrict plesion to ideas as being one: worthy to be regarded as a friend and companion. When bound to the common ideas of Love the saying “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” can be much more perplexing than if we could understand agape as our expression of GoodWill to ALL men….to everyman. In this expression of agape, True mercy if you will, IS our understanding of the Unity of men and the reality that ALL ARE children of the One Father regardless of any seemingly separative factors as color, religion or creed, national origin or social status to name but a few. We should try to see that in the Universality of the intent of agape to everyman lies a large part of the problem; again this idea IS at odds with men’s own sense of their humanity which IS bound to the vanity in which ALL men live. Here we should try also to see that Jesus’ explanation of the neighbor IS the KEY to understanding the intent of agape away from various doctrinal interpretations of this singularly important Christian ideal. The Master tells us, in answer to the question posed “And who is my neighbour?“, what IS considered to be a parable but which IS a story of the factual attitudes of men versus the spiritual intent that “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“; we read:
“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” (Luke 10:30-36).
We should note the way that Jesus turns the Samaritan into the neighbor and that in His question IS the end point of the story. If we see this ONLY from the other perspective, that the man “that fell among the thieves” IS the neighbor that the Samaritan expresses agape toward, and whom the priest and the Levite fail to even interact with, we can miss the deeper intent of the Master’s words which reflect the idea that ALL men ARE neighbor to ALL other men. Either way, from the perspective of our expression of agape, the idea of the neighbor IS clearly stated in Jesus’ words here. The priest and the Levite, Jews that should KNOW better, Jews that should understand the law at least as well as the “certain lawyer” who responds to the Master’s question asking “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” saying “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:25, 26, 27) fail in their supposedly ‘holy’ roles. These Jews fail in their expression of Love, of agape, according to the same idea: that the “certain lawyer” KNOWS are at the heart of the law. It IS the Samaritan man, of a group that IS seemingly despised by the Jews according to the words of the woman at the well who tells Jesus “How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9), that offers the reality of agape and DOES so according to every idea of the meaning of mercy. While Jesus shows us that this Samaritan IS neighbor to the man “that fell among the thieves“, we should see as well that this Samaritan sees the fallen man as his neighbor according to the law that so clearly tells us “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“. Why this idea of neighbor IS so sorely missed by the church at large IS, again, wrapped up in the idea of vanity, that most men DO NOT see beyond themselves and their own selfish interests, and this despite the law as presented by Moses and then elevated to the most important status by the Master; laws that IS KNOWN and understood by at least some of the Jews in those days. It IS failure to see this importance that IS the continuing sin of the Christian world and here we should see two things. First that the Christian teachings ARE largely devoid of agape, void of this idea of Love being the most important of ideas in the teachings of the Christ. Here again we must understand that to DO this, to “love thy neighbour as thyself“, IS contrary to the ability of men to live as the presume that they ARE intended to live. This presumption IS from the beginning and IS essentially carnal regardless of how ‘church holy’ one may believe that he IS. It IS this error that the Apostle Paul, upon whom rests so much of Christian theology, IS trying to correct in our selection that shows the importance of agape against those things that the church deems as important. Few see the reality, the reality according to the True meaning of agape, that for a man, religious or NOT, to “have not
charity agape“, that he too IS nothing. We close today with a question. If the church sees Paul’s words as the foundation of the new covenant, how have the particular words from our selection become so meaningless?
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 2a New Testament Greek lexicon on biblestudytools.com
- 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
- 9 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on blueletterbible.org
- 9a The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible 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