ON LOVE; PART MCCCIX
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 the last essay with some thoughts about being Truly “born again” and the like idea of being among the ‘willingly’ poor of this world. Being “born again” IS a state of being where the spiritual aspects of Truth and Love control the Life of the man in form….which IS to say that the Soul has overcome the flesh and that the man IS NO longer held captive by those “affections and lusts” that once controlled his psyche. We should remember here that these “affections and lusts” ARE the totality of desire for everyman and NOT merely his desires and affections related to carnal Love and sexual ideas. These “affections and lusts” ARE the thoughts and the attitudes of men whose focus IS upon the self and the things of the self and to overcome these, to overcome this result of that vanity to which ALL are subjected, IS to “have crucified the flesh“. In this IS the reality of “they that are Christ’s” (Galatians 5:24) and the Truth of being “born again“. In this IS the the reality of the ‘willingly’ poor….for these the have overcome “the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4); these ARE NO longer burdened by the illusion and the glamour of Life and ARE freed from the constant grind of making “provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). We should understand here that this man DOES NOT necessarily leave off of his Life in this world, he may well continue in whatsoever worldly pursuits; the difference IS that such worldly pursuits NO longer matter. As a man whose Life IS governed by his own Soul; his pursuits NO longer control his psyche as he becomes the embodiment of the Master’s words saying “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on“. This man IS “born again” and IS become a disciple of the Lord; this man has forsaken “all that he hath” according to the Master’s admonition and His requirements for discipleship which He shows us as “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple….whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, 33). We should be able to understand, through the words of the same apostle from whom we have extracted the doctrinal ideas of salvation through confession and affirmation, that in order to Truly be Christ’s as so many claim, one must first “have crucified the flesh“. While the ideas presented by doctrines tell us that we ARE Christ’s based in the affirmations and confessions, the apostle tells us quite a different thing and here, in his words in both Romans and in Galatians, we have a dynamic that IS a part of Paul’s discussions on the reality of the law and the fulfillment of ALL in agape.
We should understand here that the confessions and affirmations cited by Paul ARE important ideas but these ARE ONLY important in the context in which they ARE offered and NOT in regard to being “born again” which IS an idea transported into Paul’s words by men and the doctrines of men. Paul tells us that “if 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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10) and perhaps we can see his intent in the defining ideas for the Greek words sozo, rendered as saved, and soteria which IS rendered as salvation. Both of these Greek words ARE doctrinally understood as that to be saved, to have salvation, IS one’s ticket to heaven after one’s death and for this there IS NO real scriptural basis. Strong’s tells us that sozo means: to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively):—heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole 9a and here we should note that there IS NO reference to the doctrinal ideas of heaven. There IS however a sense of healing and if we look at this from a spiritual perspective we can perhaps see that such healing IS a part of the overcoming of the flesh by a man which IS based in the measure of Truth that IS his realization. This realization comes through one’s ability to “believe in thine heart” which IS the foundation of one’s conscious awareness as a man whose focus IS turning toward the things of God. Jesus teaches us that the heart IS or becomes the determining factor in the ability of a man to see the Truth and while most ALL understand that the heart IS NOT the physical organ, few understand just what the heart Truly IS. The heart IS more than simply the psyche of a man, it IS that aspect of Life that informs the mind and the emotions and we should understand here that the heart IS fed by two distinct and opposing forces if we can say it this way. The one force IS the mind and the emotions themselves and the way that these deal with the outside world; the mind and the emotions learn Life through one’s nurturing and indoctrination from birth and it IS these that ARE enhanced by the many experiences of the man who comes into this world, and remains, focused upon his Life in that vanity. The other force IS one’s own Soul, the unction by which “ye know all things” (1 John 2:20); it IS the Soul that stands as the True man caught in the vanity of Life in this world. In one’s vanity a man sees ONLY the illusion and the glamour of the Life of the self and his betterment and promotion regarding his own status in this world; with this everyman IS burdened. It IS this that Paul calls the “bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:20, 21) and which Peter shows us as “the corruption that is in the world through lust“; this idea, again, should be seen in terms of a man’s manifold desires. This desire IS most often for one’s betterment and promotion which ideas can take many different forms according to one’s innate ability to control his own mind and emotions, a task with which most ALL struggle. We should understand here that NONE ARE free from this bondage including the most ardently religious person so long as his approach to Life IS centered in his little Life here in this world; here we should repeat the idea that regardless that one believes that he IS hearing from God, he IS actually hearing from his own personality’s expression of the ‘content’ of his heart. Jesus tells us that it IS “of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45) and we should understand that this IS True for everyman and that this shows us that it IS the heart that IS the determining factor in the expression to the world by ALL. It IS when the Soul informs the personality through the heart that the man can be seen as being aware of the prompting of his own Soul to the Good, the Beautiful and the True….to the things of God.
In the fullness of Jesus’ words on “the abundance of the heart” we should note that the ideas of good and evil, as these ARE commonly understood, have taken over the reality of the Master’s words. Jesus says “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh (Luke 6:45). If we can relate this to the words from Matthew’s Gospel on the single eye and the evil eye we can perhaps understand the deeper reality that we ARE being shown. The single eye and the “good man” ARE synonymous ideas that relate to one’s focus upon the things of God while the evil eye and the “evil man” relate to one’s focus upon the things of the self and of the world. In this we should see that most every man IS among the evil and has an evil eye, an eye and a Life that IS focused on the things of the self which ARE those “treasures upon earth” and the broad interpretation of the ideas presented in the Greek word mamonas which IS rendered as mammon. This focus on mammon IS focus upon ALL that the Master tells us to “take no thought” (Matthew 6:19, 23. 22, 24) for and here we should try to see that in the first iteration of this idea as “take no thought for your Life” we have the totality of human desires, the “affections and lusts” as Paul tells us. It IS this sense of focus, the work of the evil eye, that DOES make “provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof“. This IS the universal plight of ALL men whose view of Life leans toward the mundane and the carnal things that the Master tells us should be forsaken, things that include “his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also“. Can we see the point here? We should remember that the idea of evil IS explained in Jesus’ words saying “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11). This IS the universal idea of evil, an idea that includes ALL that the Master IS addressing, ALL who ARE living as men focused upon their lives in this world. It IS an interesting task to take ALL of the Master’s uses of the Greek word poneros, which IS always rendered in terms of evil and wicked, and apply the idea of focus upon the things of the self and the world; from the idea of “evil spirits” (Luke 7:21) becoming worldly spirits to the idea of the nature of “evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17) in the context of the man being the producing tree, through which we can see Jesus’ teaching in a whole new light.
Following our ideas here on the need to keep His words through one’s expression of agape and the need to focus upon the things of God IS indeed a arduous task and it IS this sense of forsaking the things of the world, the possessions, the relationships, the thoughts and the attitudes, that is at the heart of Peter’s question to the Master. The apostle asks “Who then can be saved?“. This question IS asked in response to Jesus comments to His disciples regarding the young ruler’s failure to forsake ALL and follow Him. It IS in response to Jesus saying “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God“. Jesus’ answer IS both clear and obscure and this depending on the nature of one’s focus; Jesus says “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God“(Luke 18:26, 23-24, 27). The idea here of the possibility of one being able to “enter into the kingdom of God” IS NOT tied to any individual’s standing before the Lord as a man as this would make the Truth that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11) moot. It IS also NOT tied to the doctrinal ideas applied to riches and mammon, ideas that reflect upon one’s giving of his abundance. The idea here of the possibility IS ONLY tied to one’s own Soul, his Christ Within, his unction, and the True view of a man regarding any degree of wealth. The Soul KNOWS the psyche of the man and, when there IS expression of the Soul’s values in one’s Life, the psyche KNOWS the Soul as well. It IS here that we come to KNOW God. Here again we must look at the heart of a man as it IS the heart that feeds the psyche and which can change his personality….his thoughts, his attitudes and his motivations in Life. It IS in this view that we should understand the Master’s words saying “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21); if one’s treasure, his focus of Life, IS on the things of God then this IS where his heart will be also. In this we should again remember that ALL such changes DO involve measure; it IS in proportion to one’s focus that the heart changes and it IS here that we should understand the Apostle James’ words on the “double minded man” (James 1:8) as well as the Master’s words saying that “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). In James’ words we should see that the fullness of one’s single-mindedness IS the ultimate goal and that until one achieves that goal, whatever IS his revelation and realization IS ONLY a part of the One Truth. James tells us:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5).
We should note here that the subject of one’s asking IS NOT for the things of the world but for Wisdom and it IS this that men receive from God liberally. There IS however a criteria for receiving this Wisdom and that IS that one ask in pistis which IS rendered here as faith but which we should ever understand as KNOWING; that same KNOWING that can move the mountain or plant the sycamine tree in the sea. Can we see James’ point here? Can we see how that Wisdom IS the reward for one’s singular focus upon the things of God? Here we should see again the Master’s words saying “if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). We should understand that such a change in focus DOES NOT happen suddenly; it IS rather the product of a Repentant heart, a heart that IS being changed by one’s conscious acceptance of the prompting of his own Soul to the Good, the Beautiful and the True. And it IS in one’s measure of KNOWING that he comes to understand and to realize the most basic Truth that “Ye cannot serve God and mammon“. In James’ words saying “let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” we should see that it IS the man that DOES “wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” that the apostle IS addressing and NOT the man whose focus IS changing….the man who can by measure receive. This idea of measure IS NOT addressed as such in the New Testament but it IS a part of the teaching of Jesus who tells His disciples “it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (Matthew 13:11-12). Jesus IS here speaking to His disciples, to men whose focus IS increasingly moving toward the things of God and away from the thoughts, the attitudes and the motivation of Life that they formerly expressed. We should understand here that the way that the story of the Apostle Peter IS presented in the gospels shows us the Way of his increasing measure of pistis; through his trials of thought, attitude and motivation which ARE graphically painted for us, Peter comes to that point of fullness of KNOWING. We see this fullness in the Book of Acts where the apostle IS breaking chains, opening doors and healing by an act of will and while these things ARE most often attributed to angels or to Jesus’ words saying “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14), the reality IS that this IS the Power of the True disciple and the saint, the Power promised by the Master who tells us “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). We should remember here that to “believeth on me” IS NOT the nebulous ideas of doctrines but the reality of pisteuo which IS that same sense of KNOWING that we address above. Vincent tells us that this pisteuo, this idea to “believeth on me“, IS to to accept and adopt His precepts and example as binding upon the life 4 and the fullness of his idea is a part of the last essay. In the idea of being a “double minded man” we should see most ALL men whose focus IS NOT fully upon the Lord and we should try to see here that one’s measure of focus IS NOT tied to any doctrinal religion, sect or denomination as most ALL such focus IS yet carnal. The single-minded man IS the man of whom the Master says “if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light“, the man who has fully chosen God over mammon, the man who has forsaken ALL claims to any “treasures upon earth“. This IS the message from the Master’s words saying:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matthew 6:19-25).
It IS the sense of focus upon the things of God that the Master shows us here in most practical terms that IS the True key to being “born again“. And to be so in the fullness of one’s conscious awareness, one’s heart if you will, IS the reality of the True disciple and the True saint….the man with the Truly single eye. We should try to see that the Master’s words here ARE the reality of the Great Commandments put for us into a practical order according to the ways of men in this world. In these words IS the reality of the first which tells us clearly to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” and here we should see that this idea of agape demands that a man put the things of the Lord above ALL else. This commandment leaves NO thing to doubt and IS the essence of the Life of the man who has that single eye; he has chosen the “treasures in heaven” over those “treasures upon earth“, he has chosen God over mammon and it IS with such choices that he can “Take no thought for your life“. While the doctrines of men tell us that one CAN NOT do these things on their own, the reality IS that alone IS the ONLY way. Such doctrinal teaching DOES NOT see the reality of the Soul as the True man, born into this vanity but destined to someday escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). This escape IS enabled ONLY by the Soul’s ability to overcome the carnal nature and for this there should be some awareness that this IS the True Way to the Truth which Jesus shows us in our trifecta saying “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free“. We say that there should be some awareness as in this there can be a purposeful change; we should understand however that for some there can be a sudden revelation such as we see in the Life of the Apostle Paul. This we should understand to be a possibility in the Life of a man who IS among the more advanced Souls, Souls that ARE more ready and able to impress upon the psyche through the heart the essential Truths that he KNOWS as that unction of which the Apostle John tells us DOES “know all things“. We should remember that for ALL men there IS the limiting factor of a psyche that can become so entrenched in worldly living that it keeps the heart in the pursuit of “treasures upon earth“. In this state the promptings of the Soul can go unheard until some Life event that causes one to look at his own glimpses of revealed Truth with such seriousness that there can be purposeful change. We should try to understand that ALL Souls have opportunity and the ability to overcome the flesh, to crucify “the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24) as Paul tells us and in this idea we should also see the apostle’s words saying that men should “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). Unfortunately the doctrinal thinker believes that he has “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” through his faith and believing according to his own particular doctrine while still making most every “provision for the flesh“. The single eye then lives according to the words of the Master and the amplifying and clarifying words of His apostles; he DOES so understanding that such things as ‘serving‘ mammon and laying up “treasures upon earth” IS to attend to the evil which should be understood as one’s focus upon the things of the self rather that the things of God. These things that ARE clearly shown us in the Great Commandments as a fullness of focus upon God with NO “provision for the flesh“, NO attention to “the flesh with the affections and lusts“. Both of these ideas ARE the apostle’s way of amplifying for us the Master’s words such as “Take no thought for your life“. Can we see the point here and can we see how that the apostle’s words confirm these things for us? Can we see as well that one CAN NOT lay claim to such a relationship with Jesus without first accepting and striving toward what has been left for everyman to DO in order to Truly be “born again“.
Much the same can be said regarding the second Great Commandment which Jesus tells us IS that “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“. While this idea and the deeper Truth of the first Great Commandment ARE NOT specifically worded this way in the Ten Commandments, these ARE the epitome of the Ten. Much of Moses words ARE expansions of the Ten but NOT ALL; the ancillary ideas that Moses gives the Jews, ideas that DO NOT specifically concern one’s relationship with God or with his fellowman, ARE intended to help the individual ‘cope’ with the seemingly arduous nature of the Way of Truth which IS ever contrary to human instincts; instincts that ARE the product of the vanity to which ALL ARE subjected. It IS this vanity that IS the ‘fall of man’, it IS this vanity that IS humankind’s perishable and decaying condition, separate from God, and pursuing false ends 4 as Vincent defines mataiotes for us. The Jews DID NOT see the Truth of the Commandments that they were offered in the Ten nor as they were explained in Moses many words on how a man should relate to God and to others as they pursued their little lives in pursuit of mammon and laying up “treasures upon earth“. This was the focus of both the common people, their religious leaders and also their kings whose focus, according to the biblical record, was largely upon their own betterment and power, and in disregard of the essential Truths provided by the Ten Commandments and Moses explaining words. Here we should understand that their sense of the righteousness IS both barbaric and superstitious and played out in ways that ARE the complete opposite of what the Master calls for us the Great Commandments. For most ALL their sense of righteousness was parallel with the Truth of evil as men’s focus upon the self and the things of the self. From the beginning the Christian also suffered from the same view of Life, a view that IS wholly founded in the vanity; and while the church fathers painted their ideas as spiritual, they were far from the True sense of agape. Here again the idea of evil is misunderstood and applied ONLY to the gross human behaviors that ARE the negative points of the Ten Commandments. When we can see that these negative commandments ARE intended to show us what IS NOT in accord with the Great Commandments, what IS NOT in accord with a singular ‘Love’ for God and to “love thy neighbour as thyself“, we can then see also that it IS such things as killing, stealing and that sense of covetousness that keeps one bound to his “affections and lusts“.
While the idea that “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” has been made to mean many carnal things, the True spiritual import has been missed and this because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the whole idea of agape, its effect on the relationships of men to their fellow man, to everyman, and, most importantly, one’s relationship to God. The reality of these relationships IS to come to KNOW and understand the God Within, and whether we see this as God, as Christ, or as the Holy Spirt makes NO difference as there IS but One God Who IS visible in these Three Aspects. When we can understand the reality that man IS NOT this body in this Earth but IS rather the Spirit and the Soul that IS destined to inform this body, we can then begin to understand one’s True relationship to God as part and parcel of the Godhead. It IS in the relative fullness of this realization that a man can be Truly “born again“. And it IS in one’s measure of this realization that one comes to understand the dynamic effect of keeping His words. In so DOING or striving to DO so one comes to KNOW that the things that the Master taught us 2000 years ago ARE those things that can move one’s focus fully onto the things of God, which things ARE in reality the things of the spiritual self. The doctrinal thinker DOES NOT see these things as Truth and this because their indoctrination into the created illusions of religions have obnubilated the Truth so that even the prompting of one’s own Soul CAN NOT be heard over the din of daily living. ALL Christians read and hear the same words from Jesus and His apostles but most ALL defer their own understanding to the doctrinal pronouncements of those who have taken authority over their spiritual wellbeing. And most ALL Christians that DO read and hear His words ARE yet caught, as were the Jews, according to the words of the prophet which ARE repeated by the Master saying “By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive” (Matthew 13:14). There IS still yet a worse outcome in today’s doctrinal view, an outcome that has plagued the church for centuries and which IS now so prevalent in print, in radio and television and in the endless Christian conferences that it likely has NEVER been so difficult to escape. This outcome IS the constant beat of doctrinal theologies that certify themselves as the Truth based in specious pastoral arguments against the Truth of Jesus own words. Jesus tells us that “thy word is truth” (John 17:17) speaking of the Father in His prayer before Gethsemane and when we can take this idea into Jesus’ other words saying “the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me“, we can then perhaps see how that most ALL doctrinal assessments of salvation ARE but men’s attempts as psychic comfort. We close today with our trifecta, the Master’s words of Truth and His guide to True spiritual living.
- “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).
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher