ON LOVE; PART MCCC
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 Master’s Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. In this story the righteous Pharisee speaks, in prayer, about how much better he IS compared to the seemingly repentant publican and he offers as evidence his ideas of how that he follows the law, the traditions, saying “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess“. Here we have a classic example of the Master’s Truth which He offers the unrepentant Pharisees saying “if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7); it IS rather clear from the parable that this Pharisee looks upon the publican with disdain rather than mercy which IS the necessary expression of Love that IS at the heart of the Master’s teachings as well as the teachings of Moses and the prophets. In His comment about mercy Jesus IS repeating the words of Hosea who told the Jews hundreds of years earlier the words of the Lord saying that “I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). It should be clear to ALL that the Jews, especially the religious Pharisees and scribes, should have understood the role of mercy and “the knowledge of God” from the words of Hosea and, in less clear terms, their other prophets. Moreover, the very idea of mercy IS captured for them by Moses in those parts of the law that matter, those parts of the law that deal specifically with the relationships between men and men and between men and God. None of this IS hidden yet it seems to have remained a mystery throughout the Jews’ history and this we can clearly see in the treatment of the Master by the religious leaders who sent Him to His death. Repeating the parable we read:
“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).
The reality of this parable IS more than the ideas with which Jesus summarizes it saying “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted“. While this IS a most important teaching and an idea that relates being humble, as Jesus addressed in the attitude of the Pharisee who boasts upon his following of the Law, we should understand that there IS an equally important underlying idea here; This Pharisee has NO expression of mercy and NO idea of the great Truth that he should have NO “respect to persons” (James 2:9). It IS this idea of the boasting Pharisee, whose boasts ARE directed in prayer, that we should see in the Apostle Paul’s words saying “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). The doctrinal thinker DOES NOT Truly see that the emphasis should NOT be upon the efforts of any man to to Truly seek the Kingdom of God and, as Jesus tells us, “take it by force“. Men DO NOT see that it IS in the conscious effort of a man to take the Kingdom, his conscious effort to seek the Truth, to ask the questions and to knock for the opportunity to overcome the vanity, the illusion and glamour, by which he IS heretofore bound IS his True work. And this because of the misunderstanding and misapplication of the words of Paul who speaks about the rewards of seeking, asking and knocking…..the grace of God as one’s revelations and realizations of the Truth. Jesus tells us “from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” and here we should understand that He IS speaking to “the multitudes” (Matthew 11:12, 7). We should understand that in the Greek word biazo there IS NO idea of violence as we understand that word today; the same word IS rendered as presseth in Luke’s version where we read that “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). This idea of pressing IS a common theme in parts of today’s church where ‘pressing in‘ IS used to express the idea of making oneself closer to the Lord but yet the idea IS NOT understood apart from the doctrinal view of one’s denomination or sect. While the doctrinal teaching IS that men should rely ONLY upon faith, that they CAN NOT enter the Kingdom on their own power, the Master tells us the True Way as He says “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“.
These words from our trifecta should reveal the heart of the Christian religion yet they ARE ignored by the majority of the church, parts of which rail against any idea of DOING in order to gain the Kingdom. Too much of doctrinal Christianity relies solely upon the crucifixion of the Master and His resurrection, a man’s belief that these things ARE True by the ONLY Son of God; if such faith and believing would lead a man to “doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” there would perhaps be some value to such nebulously presented ideas. And while the church has formulated their doctrines around the out of context and misunderstood ideas from the Apostle Paul to the near total dilution of the words of the one they call the Savior, they remain lost in an abyss that Jesus Himself shows us saying:
“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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Here we should see that while many parts of the church rely upon their ideas of “spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:1) according to Paul’s words, they look past the Master’s words above, words that tell us that such ARE worthless to the man who DOES NOT “doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven“. They look past the apostle’s words as well as he tells us about the relationship between keeping His words and agape and then too Paul’s words that show us that without True agape, ALL of such gifts ARE nothing. Paul tells us that “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” (Romans 13:9). He repeats this biblical refrain again saying more briefly that “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Galatians 5:14). Paul here shows us the equivalency of the law and agape, the singular idea that should replace the reliance of men upon the law. However, rather than seeing this seemingly difficult human endeavor, the doctrinal church has created their own singular idea in the nebulous realm of faith and believing and their equally nebulous conviction that they ARE ‘saved‘ without depending upon the Master’s words which so clearly show us the Way to the Kingdom. Most also look past Paul’s words on the value of True agape and this while using his words in all sorts of carnal ideas, ideas that leave out the dynamic Truth of agape, a concept that IS ill understood yet today. A concept that IS applied to the common idea of Love rather than James’ defining idea that one’s expression of agape, of Love, must be with NO “respect to persons“. Paul tells us:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not agape, 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 agape, 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 agape, it profiteth me nothing. Agape suffereth long, and is kind; agape envieth not; agape 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. Agape 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“
Because the King James Bible renders agape as charity, we have substituted the Greek word in its place and while we DO NOT KNOW the translators motivation in rendering agape as such, we DO KNOW that the idea of charity was at one time in closer agreement with the more spiritual ideas of agape. At the top of our essays IS a briefly stated idea of agape which IS taken from Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition of charity 1; in this we should see the sense of Goodwill as the attitude of everyman toward his neighbor and here we should understand the fullest idea of the neighbor as everyman. Paul shows us the reality of agape in his words above to the Corinthians and he shows us the reality of faith versus works in his statements on the equivalency of the law with Love; the completeness of fulfilling the True law through one’s expression of Love. ALL else that has become of paramount importance to the church IS of NO value in the absence of one’s expression of agape and it IS this expression that IS clarified for us in the Apostle James’ words that define agape as having NO “respect to persons“. The whole of this idea IS missed by most ALL men and, unfortunately, most often by the doctrinal thinker who sees his sense of Christianity as far superior to the spiritual inclinations of others. Most DO NOT understand that the idea that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11) means that with the Lord NO things of this Earth matter; every man IS seen the same and this despite the doctrinal assertion that it IS the Christian that IS ‘saved‘. And this IS NOT a complex issue when viewed in the Truth of men and of Life; it IS ONLY complex and burdensome when men see themselves ONLY as men and NOT as the spiritual entity that IS indwelling the “body of this death” as Paul frames this. As the doctrinal thinker puts his whole hope into such ideas as “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“, the reality of the Master’s words becomes void. Void because they first misunderstand the very idea of works as Paul shows it and then because they see their doctrinal way as the easier way to see themselves as ‘saved‘. But what IS this worth? What IS it worth to believe and to have this nebulous faith in ideas that ARE the products of the minds of men and to hold them above the most clearly stated words from the Master such as those from our trifecta which we repeat again saying:
- “If ye 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).
ALL of the things that the Christian would say that he has through grace ARE covered in these words from Jesus but this IS NOT taught as a part of the doctrinal presentation of most ALL of Christianity. Many claim that they KNOW the Truth, that they understand the mysteries as disciples yet they fail to understand the impact of the Master’s words that give the quid pro quo by which such Truth comes; that “ye continue in my word“. Whether we think that this Greek word meno means abide or continue or simply: to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy)9a as Strong’s defines this, the idea IS rather clear; that a man should keep His words. Any other idea here IS foolishness as the source of such Truth and the reality of discipleship; True discipleship as among those to whom He says “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:11-12). Here we should remember Paul’s words above on the way that Love accomplishes this idea that one should “continue in my word” and we should understand as well that His words, the words of Jesus, and the law, “the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (Matthew 23:23) ARE equal as the one builds upon the other.
And ALL of the things that the Christian would say that he has through grace concerning the Kingdom of God ARE covered in the trifecta’s words as He tells us that “he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” has paid the price of entry. Jesus goes beyond this to show us that the doctrinal ideas of doing His will ARE for naught yet the doctrinal thinker DOES NOT see the relationship as he thinks that these words ARE for the Jew. Were these idea prevalent among the Jews? Did the Jews call Him “Lord, Lord“? IS it the Jews that “prophesied in thy name“? IS it the Jews that “in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works“? We read of none of this in the New Testament on the part of the Jews save for a few in the Book of Acts. Were these words in themselves a prophecy of the ways of the doctrinal Christians of the future? This latter idea IS more logical than the former involving the Jews and regardless of His intent, the basic idea remains that the Way to the Kingdom IS simply to “doeth the will of my Father“. But this message IS lost in the doctrinal machinations regarding the words of Paul, machinations which void the Master’s words in favor of the ideas of men, ideas from the same Paul that shows us how that one’s expression of agape IS equivalent to keeping the law and who shows us as well the futility of those things that the doctrinal Christian sees as important in the absence of True expressions of Love.
Finally ALL of the things that the Christian would say that he has in regard to the Presence of the Lord in one’s Life, His living within you as they generally claim, ARE covered in the final part of our trifecta. While many claim that they have this Presence of God, that Jesus comes to live in them when they ARE saved or that they have the Holy Spirit working within them by the same nebulous action, the reality IS that this IS but wishful thinking save for the man that “hath my commandments, and keepeth them” as the Master tells us. Any search of this idea will reveal several sayings from the Apostle Paul that show the idea of “Christ in you” for the believer but ALL ARE taken out of the context in which they are shown us by Paul. This idea alone of “Christ in you” IS a part of the revelation of the “mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations” and while this idea of the revelation of the mystery can be seen through the first part of the trifecta above, as a part of that Truth that comes to those who will “continue in my word“, it should also be seen here in the idea that this mystery IS revealed, “is made manifest to his saints” (Colossians 1:27). Despite the context here the ‘saved‘ Christian believes he has both access to the mysteries and has Christ Within without ever having DONE as the Master says IS necessary for that Presence; this Jesus frames for us saying “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“.
Against ALL three of these examples of Jesus words we should see the willingness of the doctrinal thinker to ignore the quid pro quo and to relegate these sayings from the Master to a position far below what they have made Paul’s words to mean. And we should remember here that these ARE but three examples from many contradictions between the doctrines of men and the Truth. That many a Christian doctrine purports to have a Truth that says that based in the death and resurrection of the Christ ALL who believe ARE ‘saved‘ IS a great offence against the Truth. This doctrinal view varies between denominations and sects and IS based in theories and ideas formulated by men and ofttimes agreed to by compromise through what were the ‘councils’ that began with the First Council at Nicaea in the fourth century. It IS through these councils that the church established its authority which seemingly held firm for many centuries as the church was able to influence ALL manner of human social and political thoughts and behavior. While this ALL seems right to the Christian we should understand that so much of this was DONE to control the people and worked out much the same as the ancillary laws of Moses worked out against the Jews….some of which IS still working today as we see in their forms of worship, the sabbath and holy days’ observances and the rituals of circumcision. For the Christian there ARE similar rites and rituals by which the church will tell a man that he can be ‘saved‘ and again these vary much according to the denomination and the sect to which one may belong. But ALL IS doctrine, ALL is founded upon out of context ideas that ARE misapplied and misinterpreted and here we should see the epitome of hypokrinomai which IS the positive form of anypokritos. The Apostle James uses anypokritos to tell us that the “wisdom that is from above” IS without hypocrisy which IS unfeigned and without dissimulation. We should try to see here how that the idea of hypokrinomai can be found in the very idea of compromise when dealing with spiritual ideas where there IS but One Truth. We should understand here that this sense of hypocrisy or feigning the Truth IS seldom purposeful in regard to religion but it IS hypokrinomai nonetheless as it IS men who seek their way through the seemingly arduous tasks set forth by both the original law given to Moses and the words of the Master who clarifies, amplifies and personalizes that law. In an even deeper sense of hypokrinomai we find teachers who strive to tell their followers that it IS NOT possible to keep the law, others who teach that it IS NOT necessary to keep the law and yet others who proclaim that the law was given ONLY to show men the impossibility. ALL have convinced themselves that they ARE right as they rely upon their doctrines of atonement, doctrines that teach the various ideas based in Paul’s words that “by grace are ye saved through faith” and such doctrines that substitute rites and sacraments as the way to His Kingdom.
While the doctrines of men have elevated certain words from the Master to positions that define their doctrinal view, they ignore such ideas as we have in our trifecta save for their adoption of the benefits that the Christian has in them. Their adoption of the benefits without an adoption of the cause for that benefit, the quid pro quo if you will, IS yet another form of hypochondria; in this IS the evidence that whatsoever wisdom they have applied to their doctrinal position IS wisdom that “descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” as James frames this. We should note here again that this sense of hypochondria IS the opposite of the apostle’s final idea which defines that “wisdom that is from above“, anypokritos which IS a quality of True Wisdom….”wisdom that is from above” (James 3:15, 17). On the first front there IS the Christian way of adopting such things as “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) and to use this to set themselves apart as the ONLY who can be ‘saved‘. Here, as we have discussed in previous essays, we have an idea that IS purposefully intended to divide which idea IS itself contrary to James’ words that show us that the wisdom that spawned the doctrinal position IS “descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish“. While this IS covered by the inadequate rendering of his saying in ideas of “bitter envying and strife in your hearts” (James 3:14) or ideas of jealousy and selfish ambition or plain selfishness, the reality of “pikros zelos kai eritheia” goes to emulation and factious division. Both of these ARE qualities of the doctrinal position, first in the idea of the Christian set apart from ALL others IS certainly a factious division and then in the idea of emulation which IS defined for us by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary as: desire of superiority, attended with effort to attain to it 1. This doctrinal position of the supremacy of Christianity alone has sparked mutual animosity among religions and has led some Christians to a feeling of satisfaction in the ‘persecution’ that has resulted. Few however see that Jesus’ words ARE used out of context and contrary to James words that tell us that “wisdom that is from above” IS without hypocrisy, without hypochondria. Moreover, Jesus’ words ARE used in the absence of that True “wisdom that is from above” which provides the Truth to those who will “continue in my word“.
In Jesus saying that “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” we have a doctrinal adoption of the benefits without an adoption of the cause. Most Christians believe that they have the Truth and the freedom that it brings without ever addressing the singular cause for one’s having that Truth. The full statement makes NO mention of doctrinal Christianity, It ONLY shows us the causal relationship between keeping His words and the reward which IS both True discipleship and the Truth which sets one free. Yet many millions of Christians see themselves as disciples and as those who DO KNOW the Truth without satisfying the cause which IS that one
“continue in my word“. This idea of cause and benefit IS NOT hidden but it IS largely ignored and here we must understand that keeping His words IS NOT a matter on NOT sinning according to the ideas of men; it IS a total conformance to ALL that the Master has told us which ideas ARE “briefly comprehended” in the Great Commandments which we have again at the top of our essay. This idea of “briefly comprehended” as used by Paul IS from the Greek word anakephalaioō which means to sum up 9a according to Strong’s and: to sum up (again), to repeat summarily and so to condense into a summary 9 according to Thayer’s. Here we should see that it IS agape that IS the summary of ALL the law and if we accept Paul’s words on this we can then we can better understand the whole message of the New Testament and the reality of striving toward that goal.
We should try to see here that the doctrinal ideas against works ARE but a cover for the inability of men to see themselves in the Truth that the Way to the Kingdom IS to “doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven“. While it may be unlikely that a man can DO so, it IS NOT impossible as so many who DO NOT understand the role of striving claim. Few Truly understand the idea behind the Master’s words that men should “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). If we could see that those who “seek to enter in, and shall not be able” ARE those who DO NOT strive, we can see that in striving, in one’s work: to exert oneself vigorously; try hard; to make strenuous efforts toward any goal* as strive IS defined, some part of the goal can be achieved. So long as men believe that because the Kingdom “is not of this world” (John 18:36) as the Master tells Pilate, that it IS in another place, an unknown, unseen place where believers ARE gathered in some way after death, the idea of striving will play NO role in the doctrines of men. When however men can come to glimpse the Truth that the Kingdom IS a state of being that comes upon the man whose focus IS Truly upon the Godhead, such sayings as “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21) and Jesus words above on the Way to “enter into the kingdom of heaven” will be seen in their proper light. While there IS a fullness of entering “into the Kingdom“, there IS also the measure that comes through striving. This reality IS however supplanted by those whose doctrines teach a heaven for believers ONLY after death as they practice much of the same things that the Master warns against. Those who “call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say” (Luke 6:46). which IS Luke’s version of the Master’s words according to Matthew above. Matthew explains this in more depth citing Christian ideas of calling him Lord, in prophecy, in healing and in other “wonderful works” which He shows us ARE meaningless in attaining the goal of heaven, regardless of where and what one believes heaven to be.
These ideas reflect the reality of the first two parts of our trifecta which dictate that a man should “continue in my word” and then that men should “doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven“. Both of these ARe the work of the man who IS striving toward the things of God, and True work these ARE. It IS such work that IS at the heart of the Master’s words saying that “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” but this idea IS lost in the nebulous doctrinal ideas of faith and believing. In the diluted tone of doctrines believing IS become merely assenting to such doctrinal ideas as ARE developed from Paul’s words saying that “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” (Romans 10:9). It takes us ONLY a clear-eyed look at the results of True believing in and believing on the Master, the ability to move the mountain and to DO such “greater works” (John 14:12), to understand the this doctrinal idea of assenting belief IS but a pale shadow of the Truth. Vincent paints this Truth for us saying that to believe in and to believe on the Master IS: to accept and adopt His precepts and example as binding upon the life 4 which IS to keep His words. This then IS the work of God: to accept and adopt His precepts and example as binding upon the life 4 and this IS a work that must be accomplished to attain the rewards of the Truth, His Kingdom and His True Presence in one’s Life. Let us NOT forget here the ideas of striving and the measure of such accomplishment that striving provides.
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 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
- 9a The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible on blueletterbible.org
- 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