ON LOVE; PART MCCLXXXIX
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 on the ‘miracles’ that Jesus tells us we can DO; ‘miracles’ such as moving the mountain, uprooting the sycamine tree and planting it in the sea and, most importantly, our ability to DO such “greater works” as He tells us saying “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12). While the doctrinal church discounts the idea of ‘miracles’ being done by any but the Master and His apostles, we should understand that such things ARE yet within the purview of everyman who can Truly escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust“. It IS this escape that provides one with the ability to “be partakers of the divine nature” and it IS in this “divine nature” that we should see the reality of Jesus’ words saying “nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). We must see here that while this IS the reward, the fullness of grace in one’s Life, it IS never the objective of the disciple to be able DO such things as ARE called ‘miracles’; the True reward IS ones being free from the “the corruption that is in the world through lust“, being free from the “bondage of corruption” into which everyman IS born as a man in this Earth. The Apostle Peter shows us the promise of this freedom as he tells us “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4) and these promises ARE ALL inclusive in our freedom from our attention to our little lives in this world. These promises ARE the same as we see in the Apostle Paul’s words that tell us 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) as he tells us of the destiny of ALL men, a destiny that IS ONLY reached in a True escape from “the corruption that is in the world through lust“, a True escape from the vanity which Vincent tells us IS: a perishable and decaying condition, separate from God, and pursuing false ends 4. The idea of this condition and separation IS based solely in being born into this world which IS compounded by the years of nurturing and indoctrination that everyman must endure; this IS his separation from God, separation from the Truth of one’s own identity as a Soul, as a spiritual being living for a time in this world. It IS in this world, based upon one’s own spiritual collateral, that the methods by which he IS nurtured and the nature of his indoctrination ARE formed and in this ‘learning’ comes desire and in desire IS one’s pursuit of false ends. We should try to see that such false ends encompass most every human endeavor and the idea here IS that if one’s desires and pursuits ARE NOT toward the One Truth, the end result will NOT be “the glorious liberty of the children of God“.
We should note here that there IS no idea of heaven and hell in these words from the apostles, there IS NO indication of anything but a freedom found while still in this world and which results in being free from one’s worldly desires in whatever IS Truly the afterlife. We should note as well that Paul’s words ARE more universal than personal as he see the whole of the creation being made free and here we can glimpse some small part of the ongoing journey of the Soul. There will come an end to this earthly existence which now involves some seven and one half BILLION people, ALL of whom are of the same nature, ALL of whom ARE spiritual beings living for a time here in this world. And we KNOW little of this end which most ALL religions speak of and which IS painted for the Christian in ornate prophesies that were written in a tone of mystery, a mystery that for some parts of the church has taken on much more significance than the Truth of the Master’s words. The point here IS that everyman has opportunity to seek and to find the Truth which IS embedded in the law and the amplifying and clarifying words of the Master; it IS the man who seeks that finds access to the promises and it IS this man through whom “the fruit of the Spirit” will flow and by the same measure that he applies to his quest. It IS this man who will come to KNOW the mysteries that ARE everywhere around him, a KNOWING that comes according to Jesus words that ARE our trifecta of spiritual reality; the Master tells us:
- “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).
Our focus here should be on the first part of these words which we have selected as a guide to the Truth in which we can find ALL that we seek. We should be careful here however to separate His words from the doctrinal use of them and the misinterpreted and misapplied words of His apostles. The doctrinal focus serves ONLY to allow a man to ‘feel’ good about himself in the uncertainty of his future; this IS but a diversion from the Truth. It IS in His words and through His example that True salvation comes and we should see this NOT as ‘going to heaven’ when we die but as being in that state of being that IS heaven as we live. The doctrinal separation between the ‘believer’ and those who ARE NOT members if you will of a particular doctrinal school of approach IS in many ways the very thing that Jesus teaches against, and with this we should find the amplifying and clarifying ideas of His apostles. While we may see this doctrinal separation according to James’ warning of “pikros zelos kai eritheia” which we interpret as harsh emulation and factious division most, doctrines see this as “bitter envying and strife” or like personal ideas. Most fail to see that the subject here IS that “wisdom that is from above” and NOT the actions of men and here again we should try to see that such doctrinal ideas which feed our view of “pikros zelos kai eritheia” ARE contrary to this most basic Truth of what should be True Christianity. This brings us back to Paul’s use of the idea of makrothymia as a part of “the fruit of the Spirit“; it IS this bringing forth of the spiritual view of the Soul into the Life of the man in this world that inhibits one’s proclivity to harsh emulation and factious division and allows one to see as DID the Christ and His apostles. But the doctrines of men DO NOT see the Truth of Jesus’ teachings despite His words which ARE ofttimes quoted by NOT understood as the True KEY to True salvation. In True Wisdom and in True fruit there IS a singular connection which IS based in the words of the Master as he confirms and emphasizes the heart of the law which IS ever Love, agape, which IS based in the Unity of ALL men. This Unity IS lost in the vanity, lost in the “bondage of corruption“, “the corruption that is in the world through lust“. It IS the vanity of men, a vanity which IS an essential part of the human cycle that takes everyman from birth to death, that IS the illusion of Life. It IS in this illusion that one comes to see and to believe that his success as a man (in whatever way each person may define this) IS of paramount importance and this Life in this world IS his True Life. It IS this that we should see in Vincent’s defining idea of mataiotes which IS rendered as vanity in the King James Bible and into ideas of frustration, futility and uselessness by some others, ideas of God’s curse by a few, and in terms of lost purpose by the Good News Translation. It IS this latter that best shows us Vincent’s idea that mataiotes as a perishable and decaying condition, separate from God, and pursuing false ends 4. It IS this that we have applied to the idea of vanity which IS the most common rendering.
Vanity, as an English word, IS however misunderstood and misapplied to Paul’s intent; John Gill for example tells us of Paul’s intent that: This designs the vanity and emptiness of the minds of the Gentiles, who were without God and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, without the law and Gospel, and grace of God; also the vain conceits they had of themselves. Mr. Gill applies ALL of this to the gentiles while the text clearly shows us that the subject IS the creation and the creature….the man in this world. And while most ALL translations see the cause as God, Mr. Gill tells us that: Though they were willingly vain, yet they were not willingly made subject to vanity; they willingly went into idolatrous and other evil practices, but the devil made them subject, or slaves unto them; he led them captive at his will 8. This view of the cause as well as the idea that this vanity IS based in God’s curse are the result of the Christian theories of the ‘fall of man’, theories which ARE based in those few lines from Genesis that were intended as an explanation of Life to that barbarous and superstitious people to whom we presume that Moses wrote. The vanity here IS “by reason of him who hath subjected the same” and this we should understand as the motivating Power of Life….God. It IS His reason that matters and while we may NOT understand what that reason IS, we can get a glimpse of it by contrasting the ways of men, their view of the self as their own primary goal and their striving to satisfy every kind of desire, with the contrary words on Love that ARE the heart of the law and ARE the teaching of the Master. Here we should try to see how that the idea of makrothymia, the reaching out of the spiritual Truths that the Soul KNOWS and understands, and which the Apostle John shows us saying that “ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things” (1 John 2:20), IS the aspect of “the fruit of the Spirit” that dispels the proclivity of men toward “pikros zelos kai eritheia” that results in that idea of emulation and factious division as men’s tools for dealing with Life in this world. We should see the idea of emulation as was the more original meaning rather than today’s common usage; Webster’s 1828 dictionary tells us that emulation IS a: desire of superiority, attended with effort to attain to it, which IS a most common human trait, as well as one’s striving to equal or do more than others to obtain carnal favors or honors 1. What counters this as well as the factious divisions which group men according to a multiplicity of different aspects IS the Truth that flows from the Soul, the unction by which “ye know all things” and it IS through that fruit called makrothymia that this becomes active in one’s Life, changing one’s perspective from the self and the things of the self toward the Truth of the things of God.
It IS makrothymia that defeats vanity and that allows men to see past the illusion and the glamour in which they have heretofore lived. We should try to see however that makrothymia, as a part of “the fruit of the Spirit” IS a part of the reality of the True grace of God, the reward if you will for striving to keep His words. As we read in our trifecta, it IS in keeping His words that one can come to KNOW the Truth and it IS this same KNOWING that can, in its fullness, enable a man to DO such “greater works” as Jesus tells us of including such ‘miracles’ as moving the mountain and uprooting the sycamine tree and planting it in the sea. It IS in keeping His words that one has realization of the Presence of God and we should try to see that this realization IS makrothymia, the Soul reaching out to the heart of the man whose focus IS changing away from the self on onto that Truth which he had heretofore ignored or discounted as NOT being in his best interests. These ideas of ignoring and discounting afflict ALL men and these attitudes ARE the product of the vanity into which men ARE born, then nurtured and indoctrinated, and here we should try to see that for most ALL men this IS ALL that they KNOW. In Jesus’ words 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” we have the realization of the Presence of God, we have the fruit of makrothymia. Can we see this? Can we see that while makrothymia flows in the Love of which Vincent tells us that: Love, in this passage, is that fruit of the Spirit which dominates all the others 4, it IS in its turn that fruit which carries ALL into the heart of everyman whose focus results in this reward? Our point here IS that ALL of these fruits ARE parts of the expression of Love that IS the Soul, the spiritual man, and that makrothymia IS the Souls imparting this expression through the man in this world as this becomes his ability to “love thy neighbour as thyself ” as this idea was originally intended in Moses’ teaching 3500 years ago. This brings us back then to “the fruit of the Spirit” that IS pistis; rendered as faith and understood in nebulous doctrinal terms this fruit IS NOT understood in its True idea of KNOWING, a KNOWING that should be understood through the idea of makrothymia, as the realization in the heart of a man of that unction by which “ye know all things“. Again, it IS this KNOWING that enables a man to envision such “greater works” and by which he may see and understand a purpose to Life that had eluded him because of his focus upon that Life….that he may see the Truth of Love in God.
We should try to see how that ALL of the elements of Paul’s list of “the fruit of the Spirit” work together and try to understand that to have one IS to have them ALL….these ideas ARE inseparable in the expression of the man whose focus IS Truly upon the Lord. Paramount of course IS agape and we should try to see that aside from Vincent’s remark that this dominates all the others, ALL of the others ARE indeed functioning aspects of that Love. Paul tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance“(Galatians 5:22, 23) but we should see these ideas through the Greek words and NOT their inadequate renderings. In agape we have the essence of the Great Commandment and the Golden Rule, that we should “love thy neighbour as thyself ” which IS further explained by the Master’s saying that “as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). There IS NO sense of picking and choosing to whom this sense of Love should apply, a point that IS clarified and amplified by the Apostle James who tells us that one’s expression of agape IS to be with NO “respect to persons” (James 2:9). It IS in this that we find the flow of the other spiritual ideas beginning with chara which IS almost universally rendered as joy but should be seen in terms of grace; NOT the nebulous doctrinal idea of grace but in the reality that chara and charis reflect ALL that comes from the Godhead. Such IS the reward of one’s striving to express agape and while the result in the Life of a man may be joyful, this IS NOT the intent; the intent should be seen in Jesus’ words to His apostles saying “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8) and other such ideas from the Master. The next fruit that comes in the flow of agape from the Soul and through the man in the world IS eirene which IS rendered as peace but misunderstood into ideas of peace as this IS commonly understood….between people, nations and groups of every kind. This idea of peace IS rather a state of being which Jesus shows us in such sayings as “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27). This peace comes in that sense of KNOWING the Truth; the Truth of our spiritual reality as it effects our outward demeanor. The man who has such peace stands unwavering before any and ALL perceived obstacles to his expression of Truth and Love and here we should relate this idea to our understanding of Paul’s next word makrothymia through which the Light of the Soul passes into the Life of the man in this world.
We should try to see here that there IS NO particular order to be seen in Paul’s list….ALL of these aspects of Love work together; again, to have one IS to have them ALL. If we can see that it IS makrothymia, the idea of to be long-spirited 9a, that IS the mechanism by which the Light of the Soul IS imparted to the heart of the man in this world, we can then better understand the dynamic working of revelation and realization the comes in the Presence of God to the man who “hath my commandments, and keepeth them” as Jesus tells us in our trifecta. In this flow IS agape, chara and eirene as well as the ideas which follow. In the next word, chrestotes, which IS rendered as kindness and gentleness we should see the defining idea of usefulness 9a which Strong’s gives us and the idea of profitableness 4 which Vincent shows; contrasting this idea with unprofitable through the kindred Greek words of which achreios IS a part, we can find additional meaning in Jesus’ words saying “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). The gist here IS that in this flow of Light comes the need to express it and that this expression IS a necessary part of having “the fruit of the Spirit“. Makrothymia IS perhaps the KEY to understanding the whole list of
“the fruit of the Spirit“, to have such fruit demands its expression and here we should see that agape IS that expression. While the doctrines of men seem singularly concerned with their various theories of salvation, grace and the law, and their view that the words of the Master play little or NO part in their ideas of salvation and grace through their belief that they ARE under a ‘new’ covenant, the reality of such teachings as “the fruit of the Spirit” and “the wisdom that is from above” have fro them become moot. They have displaced the deeper and spiritual ideas of the Greek words with their carnal ideas and even in this most ALL fail. This IS a failure to understand the apostle’s words as well as the greater failure in regard to Jesus’ words and the words expounded over the centuries before His advent, words that ARE considered to be ‘the word of God’. ALL have become but platitudes based in the doctrinal ideas of salvation and atonement which free men from any responsibility save to offer affirmations and confessions according to any particular doctrine.
In such ideas as we have above regarding the “unprofitable servants“, we should see every Christian, every purported Christian, whose expression IS NOT according to Paul’s list of the “the fruit of the Spirit“. One CAN NOT claim to have ‘Christ or Jesus living within’ or claim to have the Holy Spirit active in their lives without the outward sign of an expression of Love, of agape, with a firm understanding to just what this sense of Love IS. Can we see the point here and can we see why teachings such as this blog ARE viewed with great disdain? Can we see that the mere suggestion that men should live according to the essential parts of the law and the amplifying and clarifying words of the Master ARE aggressively fought against even by the leaders of the church that bears His name? We should remember here that the Greek ideas that ARE Paul’s list of “the fruit of the Spirit” CAN NOT be viewed individually; they must be seen as a singular idea of those spiritual ideals that ARE evident in the Life of the man who Truly has such fruit. Individually the rendered ideas may be virtues and this IS why the reality of makrothymia IS of such importance….so that we can see that “the fruit of the Spirit” reaches out from the Soul into the Life of the man who chooses to focus upon the Truth. For us “the fruit of the Spirit” IS the spiritual flow of agape, True agape which sees the deep reality of “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” over the carnal machinations of men which dilute this idea into actual neighbors with some wandering into other areas regarding one’s Love for oneself and the lack of this for some persons. For clarification of Jesus point one need look NO further than the Parable of the Good Samaritan; unfortunately this too has been manipulated to lose its Truth by the doctrines of men. It IS in the True expression of agape, an expression that sees ALL men the same, as Souls and spiritual beings living for a time in this world of vanity….in their own “bondage of corruption“, and understanding that they too were and likely still ARE subject to the same. While the common understanding of Unity in Diversity embraces an understanding that human differences enrich human interactions, the deeper reality IS that such Unity IS a universal spiritual Truth that IS highlighted by the very nature of God in the idea that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11). In this we should see God’s equivalent view of ALL men and this despite the doctrinal allegations to the contrary. As Souls ALL ARE equal in God and such differences that ARE visible outwardly ARE NOT Truly in His purview; God DOES NOT decide the rich from the poor, the level of one’s intelligence or the adequacy of one’s body; God DOES NOT have such prejudice as to lift one person, group or class above another. In God “there is no respect of persons” (Colossians 3:25) and in True agape James tells us that men too should have NO “respect to persons“. This IS the reality of Love, of agape, both from the Godhead and from the man who Truly has “the fruit of the Spirit“; the man who can see ALL men the same as himself and in this can “love thy neighbour as thyself” which IS the second of the Great Commandments.
It IS in this expression of Love that we find the expression of chara, an idea that IS viewed doctrinally as joy but should be seen ONLY in terms of grace. Here we should see the pass through of grace as it comes to us in “the fruit of the Spirit” and IS expressed by us in Love. If we could see chara and the kindred word charis in terms of grace and understand grace as the flow of Truth from God, through everyman’s Soul, his unction of you will, for his expression to the world, we can then perhaps understand the significance of pistis as that KNOWING by which grace works. It IS in this expression of agape that we also find the sense of eirene, that peace that flows evenly in one’s expression of Love. In this peace IS an understanding of men, of the nature of men; there may be some that will come against you as there were those who came against the Master and of whom He says “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). And more, this peace IS our understanding of ALL that men may DO, an understanding that men move in this world according to “the corruption that is in the world through lust” from which they have NOT yet escaped. This peace IS KNOWING that as Souls ALL men ARE inclined toward the Truth of Love; this IS the Nature of God and the nature of that Spirit that IS man. In Paul’s list makrothymia IS the next idea and here we should see this as the motivating Power of agape, as the Way par excellence by which a man can Truly accomplish Paul’s words saying “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Makrothymia IS everyman’s way of bringing into his Life in this world the Light of the Soul through the Soul’s reaching out into an accepting heart whose focus IS changing from the things of the self to the things of God. In this flow then IS one’s ability to express that which flows into his Life and this includes the previous ideas of agape, chara and eirene as well as the ideas which follow.
We should see that the ideas that follow ARE also a part of the expression of agape and while makrothymia can be understood as the flow of the full spectrum of “the fruit of the Spirit” into one’s Life in this world, it too IS a part of this same expression of agape, it can be understood as the reaching out of the Soul through one’s Life. The next word from Paul IS chrestotes which IS rendered in terms of gentleness and kindness but should be seen according to the defining idea of usefulness and, as Vincent shows us profitableness. Can we see here that in one’s expression of agape there must be some purpose? And can we see how that that purpose IS the service that one can offer to the Plan of God; it IS in this way that a man IS useful and in this there IS a profitableness toward the objective of the whole being “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:20). Jesus frames this in terms of service, that the True disciple IS the servant of ALL, and He brings this point home with the saying cited above regarding the “unprofitable servants” who, while DOING as they should, should ever DO more. Chrestotes then IS both an expression of agape and of makrothymia, the former being the source and the latter the motivating factor through which it works out in the Life of the man whose focus IS Truly on the Lord. We should look at the idea of agathosune which IS rendered as goodness in much the same way. Here again we should remember Jesus’ words saying that “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18) and understand that the goodness of men can ONLY come from the God Within, the Soul, in the flow of agape of which agathosune IS a part. In the idea of agathos we should see more that the common understanding of good; we should see the very nature of the Godhead through this idea which IS a subset of agape and an integral part of its expression. There can be NO expression of agape without the accompanying expression of agathos. We can perhaps see this point in Jesus words saying “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things” (Matthew 12:34, 35). Can we see here that the renewed mind becomes the expression of the spiritually focused heart of a man and that ONLY good can be a part of this expression.
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts
- 1 Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1828 and 1913 from https://1828.mshaffer.com/
- 2 New Testament Greek Lexicon on BibleStudyTools.com
- 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
- 8 Bible commentaries on BibleStudyTools.com
- 9a The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible on blueletterbible.org
- 9 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on blueletterbible.org
- * 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