ON LOVE; PART MCCCVI
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 post with the conversation between the Master and the Pharisee Nicodemus. It IS from this dialogue that the evangelicals take their theme of being “born again“, a theme that has spread throughout much of the overall Christian religion. This doctrinal achievement IS for them founded in the doctrinal ideas that they have interpreted from the Apostle Paul’s writings which ideas ARE aided by the nebulous doctrinal understanding that IS their view of pistis and pisteuo as the simple terms of faith and believing. This dialogue however contains points of Truth that should be seen across the Master’s other words that give us the same basic ideas; we should equate the idea of being “born again” with other cited Ways to attain the Kingdom and what IS called “eternal life“. Repeating the conversation we read:
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him,Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again,a he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered,Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:1-15)
While many believe that it IS the Master’s words that continue on for several more verses, Vincent tells us that: The interview with Nicodemus closes with John 3:15; and the succeeding words are John’s. This appears from the following facts: 1. The past tenses loved and gave, in John 3:16, better suit the later point of view from which John writes, after the atoning death of Christ was an accomplished historic fact, than the drift of the present discourse of Jesus before the full revelation of that work. 2. It is in John’s manner to throw in explanatory comments of his own (John 1:16-18; John 12:37-41), and to do so abruptly 4. Many scholars agree that these following words ARE John’s yet they DO remain in red as Jesus’ words in many bible versions. Our point here IS that the whole of the idea of being “born again” IS contained in the conversation above and it IS this that we will address. We should try to see that the Master IS acknowledging Nicodemus opening remarks by showing him that it IS ONLY with a Truly spiritual view that one can Truly understand that Jesus IS “a teacher come from God” and that “God be with him“. It IS the spiritual view that He IS trying to show to Nicodemus as He begins his use of the idea of being “born again“. The idea here IS that Nicodemus IS speaking as a Pharisee, a man caught up in the doctrinal view of the Truth and of the Lord; as such, he IS speaking carnally of his thoughts and his feelings and here perhaps with a tinge of the prompting of his own Soul by which he glimpses the Truth of the Master. It IS in this position that many a Christian “born again” person finds himself yet today, a position where the prompting of one’s Soul gives way to the carnal thoughts and ideas that one believes to be True spiritual impulse. In Nicodemus we can see this in the way that he fails to understand what the Master IS saying. While this prompting causes him to come “to Jesus by night“, his indoctrination into the depths of Jewish doctrine prevent him from understanding or wholly accepting that Jesus IS “a teacher come from God“. Nicodemus IS NOT wholly accepting Jesus words and the way that He can “do these miracles” as did His disciples of whom we read that some followed Him based ONLY in their own prompting (John 1:37) and of others that “they straightway left their nets, and followed him” (Matthew 4:20). We should remember that these ARE NOT the random acts of Jesus calling on certain individuals but rather that these ARE certain individual in whom was the capacity, the spiritual capacity, to see the Truth and to act upon it and while the idea that “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16) clouds this Truth for the doctrinal thinker, it IS the reality of the Christ Within that IS being shown us in such sayings. For Jesus to choose the twelve in any way, random or selectively, would defy the great Truth that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11). It IS in understanding this great Truth that we come to see the reality of agape as this IS expressed by the Godhead. In accepting the prompting of one’s own Soul, a man IS at once choosing the Lord as the Lord IS choosing him and here we should see that it IS in speaking to the carnality of men that he says “Ye have not chosen me” and it IS in His speaking as the Christ Within that he says “I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19). There IS One Christ, One anointing, One unction and ALL men share in this as it IS the One Christ “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9).
It IS these obscure ideas however that ARE taken by the doctrinal thinker and made to fit into his ideas of salvation and Truth. It IS these obscure ideas on Light that ARE NOT understood apart from a doctrinal view which the Christian applies ONLY to like minded people. In the idea that Christ
“was the true Light” we have the Universality of the Godhead but when we apply this idea to the man Jesus we have ONLY religion. There IS mystery here, the apostle’s words show us in unveiled terms that this Universal Light of Christ lighteth more than just the like minded Christians whose doctrines tell them that by their believing they alone have Christ. This Universal Light of Christ “lighteth every man that cometh into the world” and we should understand this by the strength of the Greek word pas which means: all, any, every, the whole 9a according to Strong’s and as: any and every, of every kind (A. V. often all manner of); the whole 9 according to Thayer’s. For the doctrinal thinker there IS NO allowance for the idea of everyman having this Light which IS of Christ as we can see in such ideas as John Gill’s commentary which says: the sense is, either that every man that is enlightened in a spiritual manner, is enlightened by him, which is true of Christ, as the Son of God, existing from the beginning….or, the meaning is, that he is that light which lighteth all sorts of men; which is true in, a spiritual sense: some connect the phrase, “that cometh into the world”, not with “every man”, but with the “true light”. Mr. Gill goes on to say that: it is best therefore to understand these words of the light of nature, and reason, which Christ, as the word, and Creator and light of men, gives to every man that is born into the world; and which serves to detect the Quakers’ notion of the light within, which every man has, and is no other than the light of a natural conscience 8. These ideas ARE the products of the minds of men that can NO better allow for Christ’s Light to be in everyman regardless of time or place, regardless of nation or religion, than they can allow for the Kingdom of God to be in everyman as Jesus tells us saying “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). This IS of course the effect of that glamour which, with men’s inherent illusions, ARE the product of the vanity into which ALL Souls have been cast. And more, this idea of that Light which “lighteth every man that cometh into the world” must be seen in its context. Regardless of Mr. Gill’s ideas on where to connect the phrase, the most right connection IS to that Light, that “true Light” which IS the Christ. It IS in the mistake of the alignment of the idea of the Christ to ONLY Jesus that so much Truth IS missed and this despite the many references regarding how the Christ IS in you and how that one can be in Christ. It IS yet another mistake to make this a purely doctrinal Christian idea both from the perspective that “there is no respect of persons with God“, NO choosing one man over another, and from the perspective of the apostle’s words saying that the Universal Light of Christ “lighteth every man that cometh into the world“. It IS in the glamour of religion that the Christian, the Buddhist, the Hindu and the Muslim each believe that theirs IS the True way to God and here we should note that it IS primarily the Christian that demonizes other faiths in his vanity, their separation from the Truth that IS the True God of Love. And again, it IS the doctrinal Christian that believes that the Christ or Jesus or the Holy Spirit dwells in him based on his doctrinal beliefs which defy the words of the Master from our trifecta which we repeat; Jesus 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).
These words that ARE clearly stated ARE NOT ignored by the doctrinal church but ARE rather parsed according to the tenets of the individual denominations and sects and made to have little meaning in the faith and grace orthodoxy that declares believers ‘saved‘ under their nebulous ideas of pistis and pisteuo. It IS NOT because there ARE NO more reliable renderings for certain ancient Greek words, in most cases the rendering IS valid but the interpretation of the idea IS amiss. In pistis and pisteuo we have allowed the simple nebulous ideas of faith and believing to become the norm despite the way that these ideas ARE used by the Master and we should note that the motivation here IS that same illusion and glamour. It IS these effects of vanity that make men see spiritual things as men focused in their little lives here in this Earth and it IS this same vanity that causes him to create religious philosophies to ‘justify’ his illusion and his glamour. Jesus discusses this with Nicodemus saying “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?“. If we take this idea into Nicodemus’ response to Jesus saying “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” and then, after further explanation by the Master, his further response saying “How can these things be?” we can then understand that the Truth of Jesus’ words should have been understandable as “earthly things” and this especially by “a master of Israel“. We should see here how that the religious leaders of the Jews had lost touch with the Truth and we should see as well how that the Christian who takes hold of such ideas as being “born again” without understanding such “heavenly things” has NOT found that Truth. Here in the reality that “Except a man be born again,a he cannot see the kingdom of God” we should see the equal reality 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“; we should see here the equality of being “born again” and DOING “the will of my Father“. While the doctrinal thinker cast the other man as being the “natural man“, he misses the Truth of being “born again“; he misses the reality that spiritual discernment comes in the realization of the Presence of God in one’s Life, a Presence that comes ONLY to “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them“. It IS in the illusion and glamour of Life in this world that the doctrinal thinker takes upon himself the mantle of being “born again“, a mantle that separates him from the other man albeit ONLY in his own mind. It IS this same illusion and glamour, this same vanity, by which a man convinces himself of his own spiritual nature and by which he sees him self among those to whom Paul says “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God” without ever correlating this idea to Jesus’ words saying that it IS “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them” that will have such realization of “the spirit which is of God“. Can we see the point here? Can we see how that Paul’s words saying “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:12,14) predict how that the doctrinal thinker will think such things as we say here to be such foolishness.
There IS NO pride intended in this statement regarding the doctrinal thinker as this has been the way from the beginning, a way that IS become a part of our blog through the words of the French philosopher Voltaire who says: Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road. We should try to see however that our road IS NOT new as it IS founded in the earliest Judaeo-Christian writings which established the law in the days of Moses and likely prior to that in lost writings of his predecessors. These writings and these laws ARE NOT solely based in the writing of the great Souls who brought them to the attention of the human family in ALL religions and in ALL parts of this Earth, they ARE inherent in the psyche of the man in the world as the promptings of the Soul, the Christ Within everyman, “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world“. It IS the promptings of the Soul that ARE blocked by the vanity of men, a vanity that IS defined for us by Vincent as: a perishable and decaying condition, separate from God, and pursuing false ends 4. How can one who IS caught in this vanity, caught in “the bondage of corruption“, be freed from that bondage if he will NOT admit that he IS bound? It IS NOT impossible; it ONLY requires that men Truly seek, ask and knock apart from their doctrines into which they have molded their thoughts and attitudes. This IS a difficult undertaking and one that requires men to change and, if we look around this world we can likely see the beginnings of that change in the way that the doctrines of men take hold ever fewer people. This generational change which IS decried by the organized church can be further motivated by the acceptance of the principle of agape by those who have ‘lost their religion’, who have lost their dogmatic view of Truth. As these begin to instill into future generations the reality of agape through the depth of the teachings of the Master; NOT as religion however but rather as the new normal in the Way of Life in this world. The seeds for this have been planted by the movement of time and if we look deeper into the astrological ideas that the Age of Aquarius should bring, we can likely see the source of some of the deep divisions that plague our societies today. Much of the organized church has come out against the freedoms of today’s man, the freedoms that some take advantage of to stand against the societal and so called ‘moral’ norms that the authority of the churches has instilled in many of the governments of the world, authority that the doctrinal thinker will fight to maintain as they believe that they ARE God’s ‘stewards’. In this ARE the great struggles between the left and the right, so called, where on the one hand, the left, there IS a growing acceptance of one’s neighbor under what we should try to see as the veil of agape while on the other hand, the right, there IS a unified movement to staunch that acceptance. At odds here ARE the most basic forces of focus on the self and the things of the self versus versus a focus upon the higher ideals that ARE presented in Jesus’ message that we should “love thy neighbour as thyself” and His explanatory saying that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them“.
While the organized church claims that they have God and His precepts in their doctrines and that the ‘others’ DO NOT but are as heathens, it IS actually the opposite that IS True. We should understand here that this IS NOT a universal fault of the church as there ARE many on both sides of this that act differently; in the church there ARE progressive forces which ARE ridiculed by the mainstream and in the secular world there ARE those that seek to take advantage of the whole to selfish ends. It IS the trend that we should see here; it IS the way that the right IS wrong from the most basic of True Christian principals. The idea of agape as interpreted by the church IS little different than the common understanding of the rendered word Love yet there IS really NO True affinity between these ideas. While the church may call agape the ‘God kind of Love’ they DO NOT understand what this Truly means, neither in theory nor in practice. In today’s church in America and elsewhere in the world there IS a strong movement toward protectionism, patriotism and many forms of isolationism. Whatsoever this IS based in IS NOT agape and this despite church leaders attesting to their Christian values. In many ways politics has overcome the Christian values in many quarters of the church and there ARE unfortunately few voices that decry this movement. The so called Christian right and the moral majority ARE NOT concerned with the Truth of agape but rather their own agendas and their own standing in the politics of the nation and there ARE likely similar movements across the globe. Agape IS a principal of acceptance that IS based in the words of the Master and while the political world DOES NOT follow such principles in their struggles for national superiority, the church which bears His name must. The church’s foray into the political arena has been largely to take on and to help frame the causes of the political right as they use their authority to sway their followers into believing the political rhetoric. The result of this IS division and many use this division to advance both their causes and their sense of righteousness as they proclaim that their way IS the way of the Lord. Perhaps it IS because of their apparent strength that those who DO see deeper into the Truth DO NOT cry out or perhaps it IS in the way that they frame their arguments and support them by using ‘biblical’ ideas that ARE but interpretations of out of context Truths. It IS this same fault that has taken Christianity away from the Truth of the Master’s words and herein lies much of the difficulty for those who DO see. Most ALL who profess to have the Truth yet teach and act in ways that ARE contrary to Jesus’ words ARE those to whom the Master says “By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive” (Matthew 13:14). Jesus IS saying these words to those who lead the Jews’ religion and there IS an idea here that goes unnoticed; while they DID NOT understand, they believed that they DID and while they thought that they were seeing the Truth they were only seeing the products of their own illusion and glamour. For much of Christianity, indeed for most ALL religions, this same IS yet True today as the doctrines of men have overwhelmed the Truth and, by their own pharisaical use of authority, they have caused generations to NOT even seek that Truth. In many ways the woes that Jesus offers to the religious leaders in those days ARE and have been as True in the Christian era and here most importantly ARE His words saying “woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13).
In this we should see how that it IS by their assumed authority, authority which they assume comes with their various church degrees and which followers then presume that they actually have, that they hold back many who could otherwise seek the Truth. And we should see this in two ways; first in the near absolute reliance that men place on other men who have such degrees and second on the way that the True seeker will hesitate to speak against the established Truths of doctrine as those who DO ARE often called heretics; it IS these who speak out who were in times past often severely punished. Of those that DO go against the religious authoritarian rules, most have done so in small ways where the essence of the rule remains and it IS this that has resulted in the many thousands of denominations and sects that exist today. There ARE some whose view was more radical and more defined and we should see how that many of these founders of various religious sects ARE yet derided by the mainstream of Christian thought. Our point here IS simply to point out the divisions and the schisms that have divided the One Christ into so many parts and to show how that most ALL of these parts have forsaken the words of the Master in favor of their own doctrinal approach to the Lord. We should remember here that the words of Jesus on seeing ARE His repeating of the words of the Prophet Isaiah, words that were directed at the pre-pharisaical Jews 700 years before Christ, a fact that should show us the timelessness of these words. The Christian thinker however DOES NOT see himself in the Master’s calling out of the Jews’ leaders as He says:
“Because 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. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matthew 13:11-16).
These words ARE spoken in response to the question “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” (Matthew 13:10) and here we should try to see that the Master’s language was the same to ALL who were listening and, in this case of the Parable of the Sower, NONE understood the meaning. The words spoken in parables were the singular Truth which IS ONLY clouded by the doctrinal ideas of the hearer; ideas that make men “dull of hearing” and by which their “heart is waxed gross“. Despite this ageless doctrinal flaw that causes the illusion to become real in the hearts and minds of adherents, the doctrinal thinker still believes that he IS among those to whom Jesus says “blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” This again IS the product of that vanity to which ALL ARE subjected as Paul shows us saying “the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same” (Romans 8:20). It IS this sense of vanity that effectively DOES put one’s Light “under a bushel” which IS contrary to the Master’s words saying “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). When we let the “light so shine before men” it IS NOT done in divisive tones but in Unity, in the reality of agape with NO “respect to persons” (James 2:9). In this sense of Unity the bondage of vanity fades into the reality of that Oneness that IS of the Lord, that Oneness that is God living and working through every component part of the Godhead which ARE the Souls of men. In the ideas presented at the beginning of this essay we should see that ALL have this Light, “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world“; it IS when we can see and understand that this Light IS the Inner Light of the Soul, a Light that has spent its time trapped in the vanity, “under a bushel” if you will, that we can begin to consciously let our “light so shine before men” and in this IS the Truth and the reality of being “born again“.
Being “born again” IS NOT the product of one’s doctrinal approach to the Lord, it IS NOT the product of confessing and affirming whatsoever version of a sinners’ prayer one’s congregation uses, being “born again” IS the product of being “born of the Spirit“. If we can see this in the the idea of letting our “light so shine before men“, in the idea that the Soul IS that aspect of man that IS “born of the Spirit“, perhaps we can understand that when this Soul, this Light, IS allowed to “so shine before men” we ARE Truly “born again” in this world and will perforce “giveth light unto all that are in the house“; it IS in this that “they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven“.
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 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
Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher