ON LOVE; PART MCCCIV
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 a thought on the Christian idea of being “born again“, an idea that has been hijacked by the doctrinal church and turned away from its True meaning. In the simplicity of their doctrines, the Protestant section of the church has made being “born again” their rally cry as they established specific doctrinal ideas and ways of accomplishing this. We should understand that the doctrinal concept of being “born again” IS a relatively recent development being born itself in the 1960’s and it has taken on significant meaning in much of the Protestant world. In the same way as DOES the Christian belief that Christ IS the ONLY way to God, the concept of being “born again” also creates a separatist attitude; the former idea IS based in Jesus words saying that “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) which IS used out of its context while the latter IS a purely doctrinal creation. The former idea creates a division between the ‘Christian’ and the rest of the religious world while the latter creates division within the Christian world where most ALL denominations and sects believe that they have the True message of ‘salvation‘. Our view here IS that both of these doctrinal ideas ARE wrong, both create strife and division and both ARE contrary to the unifying message of the Christ and His apostles. In our discussions on the writings of the Apostle James we have often spoken about his misinterpreted words saying “if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth“. The Greek words here, zelos and eritheia, ARE much more complex that the simple translations that we have in the King James Bible and while others render these as “bitter jealousy and faction“, “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition“, “bitter emulation and strife“, “bitter zeal, and there be contention in your hearts“, “bitter zeal ye have, and rivalry” and other variations of these ideas, ALL seem to miss the central idea that James IS defining as he tells us that any thought or attitude that has zelos and eritheia as its basis IS NOT Wisdom but that “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:14). In zelos we should see emulation which idea IS taken by up by the Darby Translation and in eritheia we should see the idea behind factions which rendering IS used in the original American Standard version but changes to “selfish ambition” in later editions. As we have discussed, the idea of emulation IS NOT merely that one strives to be as another but it takes a more sinister turn as Webster’s shows us saying that this IS a: desire of superiority, attended with effort to attain to it 1. While most ALL of the rendered ideas will show that one’s thoughts and attitudes which ARE believed to be “the wisdom that is from above” (James 3:17) ARE in reality carnal, jealousy and zeal DO NOT show us the motivating reality of such thought as DOES this idea of emulation. Here we should try to see that whatsoever comes to one’s mind IS carnal, IS “earthly, sensual, devilish“, if such thoughts concern the I and the me from any perspective of superiority and this includes such religious ideas that set one apart and by which one sees himself or his movement as the right one compared to others. Here we should see that the whole basis of Christianity as the ONLY Way IS emulative as ARE the disagreements within the Christianity itself….Protestant versus Catholic, or the mainstream versus such sects as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons and any movement that concerns New Thought or New Age; ALL believe that they ARE right and that they ARE the True Way.
Seeing that the motivating principals behind the thousands of denominations and sects IS emulative, can we also see how that their doctrinal presentation IS NOT based in “the wisdom that is from above” but the converse of this which IS carnal. Here again we must see that the idea of carnal, the ideas of “earthly, sensual, devilish“, ARE NOT to be understood as evil as this idea IS defined by the Christian. Carnal, and James view of “earthly, sensual, devilish“, ARE the normal everyday thoughts and attitudes of everyman who IS yet caught in the vanity of Life in this world. We should understand here also that while the church has served an important role in human history as the authoritative moral compass, the various ideas of morality over the centuries ARE essentially carnally focused and have left out the great value of agape. Coupled with this idea of being the moral compass we should see James’ other word eritheia; in this word we should see the idea of factious division through which such rendered ideas as “selfish ambition“, strife and rivalry ARE but the results. In factious division we have the cause for so much of the world’s problems as men align themselves with their ‘peer’ groups of choice, a carnal choice to be sure. These divisions ARE apparent in most every facet of human living; religion, politics, social strata and patriotism to name a few. We should try to see that James’ point here IS that any thought or attitude that separates one from his brothers and through which a man sees himself as superior IS NOT that Wisdom which the apostle defines for us as being “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). Ponder on this.
In James’ words we should be able to see the state of humanity and while the Christian church believes itself to be beyond this, its very core belief IS contrary to the Truth of the Universality of God who IS “is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). There IS a reality to the idea that Christ IS the Way, the Truth and the Life but the church has chosen to apply this Truth to the man Jesus rather than to the Christ that abode in Him. Paul tells us of Jesus that “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” and tells us this referring to “Christ Jesus” (Colossians 2:9, 6). It IS in linking the idea of Christos, defined as anointed, to the Apostle John’s words regarding the unction, defined as an anointing, that we can glimpse the reality here and relate the Life of the Master to the Life of everyman. It IS the Christ Within the man Jesus, the reality of divine Life, that IS in full control of the man Jesus and it IS the Christ Within everyman, the reality of divine Life, that must come to control the outward expression. When this IS True, that man has “overcome the world” (John 16:33) and that man can then accomplish those “greater works” (John 14:12); then of him also it can be said that “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily“. That man IS the True disciple of the Lord and it IS this man that can remove himself from the wheel of Life through which he incarnates as he takes his place ready for his next appointment. While the church awaits the return of Jesus they will likely fail to see the return of the Christ, the return of the reality of divine Life in this world….a return that can take most any form. In Christ, in the reality of divine Life, the central focus IS agape and this because “God is agape” (1 John 4:8, 16). One must wonder what His view of the church would be, a church that has ignored His commandments and His words in favor of their doctrines, a church that has diluted and changed His precepts to suit the whims of men. Can we see in this the very same ideas that beset the Jews when Christ came among them 2000 years ago? They awaited a Messiah and they got Him in “Christ Jesus” but they failed to see Him and still, 2000 years later, most reject Him as the one for whom they wait. The Christian however DOES NOT see in this any parallel; they see ONLY their various doctrines by which they see themselves in much the same way as did the Jews….as the ‘chosen‘ of God. It IS this idea of ‘chosen‘ that comes from those few simple words spoken by Jesus, words that ARE taken out of context and misapplied, words which fuel the zelos and the eritheia of the doctrinal church. Again it IS the churches reliance upon literal words, without their context and intent, that ARE taken to support their theology and this while such clearly stated ideas as we find in our trifecta ARE NOT relied upon….likely because of the burden they put upon the psyches of men. Chief among those ideas taken by the doctrines of men IS His saying that “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
It IS ONLY when men can begin to understand the very nature of the idea of the Christ, the anointed, that the True meaning of the Master’s words will be revealed and this understanding comes ONLY from one’s True seeking after the Truth according to the Master’s injunction saying “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). The Christ Truly IS “the way, the truth, and the life” and in the Universality of God this reality IS found in a man’s own Soul, in his own unction by which “ye know all things” (1 John 2:20). We should remember here the relationship of the Greek words christos and chrisma, that both ARE derived from the root word chiro; it IS because the word christos IS rendered ONLY as Christ in its 569 appearances in the New Testament and because the definite article, the, IS left off in the gospels, that such confusion exists regarding the relationship of man to God through Christ. We should understand here that Paul’s revelation of the mystery IS NOT merely words directed at the acknowledged doctrinal Christian; they ARE rather words of universal importance as they define everyman according to the mystery that IS hidden in the vanity, in the illusion and the glamour, into which this “Christ in you” IS cast by his birth into this world. Paul sets the stage for us based in Jesus own words by which one can realize this idea of “Christ in you” and here we should understand that while ALL ARE this Soul, this unction and this Christ Within, few have Truly realized His Presence, a realization that comes to one by his focus upon the Truth; a Truth which comes as one Truly has “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts“. There IS NO difference between these words and the Master’s which tell us 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“. While doctrines proclaim the Christian ‘believer‘ to be Christ’s, this IS NOT a reality according to Paul’s words that say clearly that “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). We should remember here that these words ARE a continuation of the apostles theme which begins with agape as he tells us that “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” and which go on to show us the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the spirit“. While doctrines get caught up in the idea that “if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:14, 19, 22, 18) and see themselves as so led, they fail to relate the idea of being “led of the Spirit” to the rest of Paul’s words and here especially that part that tells us how to circumvent (for lack of a better word) the law….by the expression of agape. What we should see here IS that one need NOT keep the mitzvah, the laws of Moses, as these ARE ALL accomplished in one’s expression of agape in the fullness of one’s ability to “love thy neighbour as thyself“. It IS in agape that one can Truly claim to be Christ’s; it IS in our expression of agape that we can Truly crucify the flesh as we change our focus from our “affections and lusts” and onto the things of God.
The reality of being Christ’s IS expressed by Paul as those who DO “Walk in the Spirit” and the apostle adds here a sign that defines such a one as the complete thought tells us “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:15). To “Walk in the Spirit” and to be Christ’s ARE synonymous ideas and the criteria here IS the same; for the one who IS Christ’s the carnal ideas of “affections and lusts” ARE crucified, they ARE put to death if you will. It IS in this crucifixion of carnal desires that one comes to “Walk in the Spirit” and if we look at these ideas with Jesus’ words in mind we can then see the deeper reality of Paul’s instructions which confirm for us that “No man can serve two masters….Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). While we should see Paul’s words as showing us the division between being Christ’s which IS to “Walk in the Spirit” and the retention of one’s carnal ways of desire and affection, the doctrines of men have missed this as they align the idea of lust with their fixation upon the sexual, and this almost exclusively. We can see this doctrinal trait in the various ways that the Greek words listed in the apostle’s list of “works of the flesh” ARE rendered and understood. It IS when the church can see that such works ARE the normal ways of the carnal man whose sense of treasure IS “treasures upon earth” and whose loyalty remains in mammon, that the archaic idea of sexual perversion will fade into the reality of the True Life of the True Christian. It IS here that the Master’s words saying “take no thought for your life” (Matthew 6:19, 24, 25) will take on the deeper spiritual meaning by which one IS Truly Christ’s and IS therefore “led of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18). We should try to understand that it IS in agape that ALL these ideas become clearer; in one’s ability to KNOW his own self as the Soul and to see ALL men as Souls apart from their expression of Life in this world, one can see the reality of Jesus’ words. If one Truly DOES “love thy neighbour as thyself“, he will perforce see that this IS an effect of KNOWING and seeing ALL in the Universal Oneness of God. The same applies to the Golden Rule where the idea that “whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” IS also an effect of this KNOWING of the Truth of Life which the Master shows us as the product of one’s expression of Love as He tells us that “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“. We must come to understand that the Truth of agape IS His word and KNOW that this accomplishes ALL else that IS included in His words and, while the doctrines of men pull back from the reality of the law, the apostle tells us how that the entirety of the law IS kept saying that “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“.
We should understand here that when Paul speaks of “all the law“, he IS NOT speaking about the entirety of the mitzvah but about the heart of the law which Jesus shows us in response to the question “Which is the first commandment of all?” (Mark 12:28) Here we should see that the idea behind the Greek word protos, which IS rendered as first, should portray a deeper idea which Strong’s shows us as: foremost (in time, place, order or importance) 9a. Matthew’s version of this further explains the idea in the phrasing of the question as “which is the great commandment in the law?” and Jesus answer as “This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:26, 28). The point here IS that the ancillary parts of the law given by Moses IS NOT the subject of the Master’s words nor of Paul’s words on the law here in Galatians; it IS the ancillary parts of the law however that ARE the apostle’s subject in his negative comments about the law, as the reality of the idea of works as this IS exhibited by the Jews. The “works of the law” ARE the rites, the rituals and the ceremonial acts of the Jews and it IS against these that the apostle writes such things as “by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified“. The heart of the law IS NOT that against which Paul speaks; he DOES NOT speak against agape; he DOES NOT speak against the Great Commandments, the foremost and great ideas of Truth. This would come through to the church if they could but see that the Truth behind the Greek words pistis and pisteuo ARE NOT those superficial and nebulous ideas of faith and believing which they apply but rather that sense of KNOWING some measure of the Truth by which one can have revelation and realization of his own True nature as a spiritual being who IS ONE with the Godhead and One with ALL men as ‘children’ of the One God. It IS in this Oneness that the Truth of agape IS founded and it IS in KNOWING that this Oneness IS the foundation of ALL Truth that we can realize the fullness of pistis and pisteuo as the apostle presents this saying “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). So long as the doctrinal thinker continues to see the “works of the law” as including the heart of the law, the formost and great parts that concern the relationship of a man with his God and his neighbor, the ideas of works and law will remain their stumblingstone; as did the doctrinal Jew, the doctrinal Christian has also “stumbled at that stumblingstone” (Romans 9:32). While the Jew stumbled on the “works of the law” by erecting the DO’s and the DON’T’s by which they were to live in the absence of the deeper ideas that ARE the heart of the law, the Christian seeks to overlook the entirety of the law and it IS on this that they stumble as they overlook the importance of the idea of agape as the singular point of Truth. The Jews overlooked agape by their creation of the mitzvah while the Christian overlooks agape as he seeks to live in the nebulous world of faith without any form of mitzvah. And while the doctrinal church uses Paul’s Epistle to the Romans as the basis for much of their doctrine including their view on works and the law, they fail to rightly interpret his words as they DO in this selection from the ninth chapter where we read:
“What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 9:30-33).
Four points ARE important here. First that the gentiles, those who ARE NOT Jews or, better, the generality of the human race, DID not seek righteousness in the manner of the Jews use of the mitzvah but DID find righteousness in pistis, in coming to KNOW some measure of the Truth through the teachings of the Master….teachings that ARE centered around the singular theme of agape. Second we should see the plight of the Jews who followed not the heart of the law but their own doctrinal approach to the law founded in their mitzvah; they DID NOT seek to KNOW the Truth, believing instead that they had the Truth in their doctrinal view. Much as the Christian believes that he IS ‘saved‘ by his doctrinal view and the misunderstood ideas that they have applied to pistis and pisteuo, the Jew believed that he is ‘saved‘ by his mitzvah. It IS this mitzvah, that IS Paul’s reference in “the works of the law” and this IS “that stumblingstone“. Third, the apostle constructs for us another stumblingstone in his reference to the Master from the writings of the prophet; here we should see that NOT only are they stumbling over their own sense of Truth but they ARE stumbling also over the answer to their stumbling in the teaching of Truth and Love which they CAN NOT accept simply because it IS contrary to their established beliefs and traditions. Finally we see the cure for stumbling on ALL sides from this Judaeo-Christian perspective which Paul states for us as “whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed“. Here we have two points with which we must reckon; first that to “believeth on” Him IS a dynamic thing and NOT a static one. While Paul uses the idea in Greek of pisteuo epi, this IS really NO different than John’s choice of pisteuo eis. Nor IS this different from the emphasis that should be put upon the verb pisteuo alone. In any spiritual context related to one’s relationship to the Lord these ideas ARE uniformly active forms of one’s expression of realized Truth; that IS for one to believe into, believe onto or simply believe in the Truth that the Master represents IS to acknowledge that Truth as one’s essential spiritual expression in this Earth….that IS that we should keep His words. We should apply Vincent’s commentary on the idea of pisteuo eis to ALL spiritual references to believing and this idea can be easily seen in the Master’s own use of pistis and pisteuo as he applies our ability to DO “greater works” to move the mountain and to plant the sycamine tree in the sea to our ability to KNOW. It IS this KNOWING that we should see in Vincent’s words saying:
To believe in, or on, is more than mere acceptance of a statement. It is so to accept a statement or a person as to rest upon them, to trust them practically; to draw upon and avail one’s self of all that is offered to him in them. Hence to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is not merely to believe the facts of His historic life or of His saving energy as facts, but to accept Him as Savior, Teacher, Sympathizer, Judge; to rest the soul upon Him for present and future salvation, and to accept and adopt His precepts and example as binding upon the life.
If we can relate this idea of pisteuo as KNOWING to our relationship with the Christ, we can then understand Vincent’s points here, especially the last one which we have in bold. It IS by these ideas that we KNOW the Lord, it IS by keeping His words that we develop the capacity for “greater works” as it IS by keeping His words that we can KNOW Him. The Apostle John tells us this saying “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). In the end we should try to see that the essence of pistis and pisteuo IS to KNOW the Lord and that the way to KNOW the Lord is to keep His words and, here again, His words on Love. We should try to see that a True relationship with the Christ IS a True relationship with our own Soul, the Christ Within; it IS this Spirit of God, this Holy Spirit that guides the lives of disciples and saints and it IS these that Truly pisteuo eis which IS to believe in the Lord. In this IS the reality of Jesus’ own words asking “why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). We should note here that this rhetorical question IS a shortened version of Matthews presentation of this same idea, a presentation which he gives us in greater detail from the Master’s discourse. Part of this IS become the second part of our trifecta of spiritual reality which we repeat here; 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).
In these three ideas we have the essence of True ‘salvation‘ as it IS in DOING this, keeping His words, that we find realization of an ever growing measure of the Truth, a ever greater realization of His Kingdom and the reality of His Presence through the Christ Within in one’s Life here in this world. While the doctrinal world has taken possession of the spiritual ideas of such things as prophecy according to Paul’s list of the ‘gifts‘ of the Spirit, they ARE ONLY experiencing a carnally focused part of these ‘gifts‘. These ARE little different than the ordinary psychic abilities of men, abilities which they decry because they ARE NOT centered in their view of God. There ARE several enumerations of ‘gifts‘ in the New Testament with some being the spiritual abilities of men and others their ‘position’ in the church; for our discussion here the former are listed as: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, increased faith, the gifts of healing, the gift of miracles, prophecy, the discernment of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues***. If we take this list into the full text of Jesus’ words 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), we should be able to see our point. What Jesus IS telling us IS that such an expression of gifts IS of NO value if the one expressing such DOES NOT “doeth the will of my Father” and while some doctrinal thinkers will look to such ideas as “this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40), it IS ONLY when this idea of “believeth on him” IS seen in its True Light that this IS True….ONLY when this IS interpreted as to accept and adopt His precepts and example as binding upon the life. This idea IS far beyond the nebulous doctrinal view of believing; this idea pronounces that any one who Truly “believeth on him” will keep His words and KNOW that the veracity of the Master’s words in the gospels ARE the disciple’s guide and the Way to True ‘salvation‘.
Doctrines however have discounted the Master’s words in favor of their interpretations of the writings of the apostles and while there ARE many doctrinally formed reasons for this, ALL ARE but the creations of men. Much as the Jew’s believed that their doctrinal approach was the Way even as they were shown their error by the Master, so the Christian’s doctrinal approach will suffer the same fate as an old and spiritually lacking religion and this as they ARE shown their own error through the clearly stated words of Jesus. Perhaps some doctrinal thinkers will come to realize their error through reading the Master’s words but this IS in our view unlikely because most ALL believe already that they have the Truth and ARE “born again“. We close today with the Master’s rhetorical question that asks “why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” as we remember the doctrinal indictment offered in Matthew’s version of His words. In this we should understand that “the will of my Father which is in heaven” IS synonymous with the Master’s words and commandments and that neither the Father’s Will nor the Christ’s was ever intended to be so minimized by the machinations of men as they ARE today.
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
- *** “Spiritual gift.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 Jun. 2019. Web. 4 Jul. 2019
Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher