ON LOVE; PART MCCCVIII
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 reality of being “born again” as this idea IS related to one’s True focus upon the things of God. We discussed how that as one learns to become ‘willingly’ poor that he IS accepting the Truths that the Master sets forth in His words on treasure, the single eye, mammon and, most importantly, that we should “take no thought“. In the reality of “take no thought” we have the fullness of His words from the three previous instructions; to “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” precludes our seeking after “treasures upon earth“, it IS the essence of the Life of the man with a Truly single eye, and to “take no thought” IS one’s choosing God over mammon. To “take no thought for your life” IS to take one’s focus off of the mundane and the carnal; it IS to “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). The idea of Life IS shown us in several ways in the New Testament; here in Jesus’ words it IS specifically the carnal Life, the Life that a man experiences in this world….his Life in the illusion and the glamour that IS his vanity. This idea of Life IS NOT the same as we should see in Jesus’ words saying “whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25) where there IS a duality implied and one that IS little understood. In this saying there IS a combination of meanings; in both parts we have a combination of the Life of the flesh and the Life that IS the spiritual man. The first shows us that to focus upon his carnal Life will cause one to lose realization of the spiritual while the second shows us the opposite; to willingly look away from the carnal life, to focus upon the spiritual, one will find that realization of Truth. In this IS the reality of the ‘willing’ poor. In these ideas and those from the last essay we should see the deeper Truth of being “born again” and we should try to see how that ALL of Jesus’ words regarding this focus culminate in the singular Way to accomplish this; He tells us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Repeating the Master’s words we read:
“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)
While the doctrinal thinker DOES NOT see these things in Jesus’ words, the idea of focus IS constantly presented to us throughout the bible as a part of the quid pro quo that brings the Truth into the Life of a man. A primary cause for NOT seeing the reality of the quid pro quo IS the doctrinal teaching on salvation and atonement as men have come to believe those things into which they ARE indoctrinated, things that tell them that they need ONLY that nebulous faith and believing of religions. Ideas like ‘you can’t save yourself’ and ‘works cannot save you’ ARE primary talking points in the doctrinal church which prevent a man from seeing that his responsibility lies beyond the simplicity of ‘accepting’ Jesus as one’s savior. Even the Master’s words on Life that we cite above ARE doctrinally seen from this perspective of accepting; John Gill tells us such in his commentary on our selection saying: Whoever is desirous of preserving himself from troubles, reproaches, persecutions, and death; and takes such a method to do it, as by forsaking Christ, denying his Gospel, and dropping his profession of it….will expose himself to the wrath of God, to everlasting punishment, the destruction of soul and body in hell, which is the second death, and will be his portionregarding the first part. For the second Mr. Gill tells us: whosoever will lose his life for my sake: that is, is willing to forego all the pleasures and comforts of life, and be subject to poverty and distress, and to lay down life itself, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, rather than deny him, and part with truth, shall find it; in the other world, to great advantage; he shall enjoy an immortal and eternal life, free from all uneasiness and affliction, and full of endless joys and pleasures 8. Can we see the point here? Can we see how that the ideas of Life ARE pigeonholed into a doctrinal compartment that DOES NOT allow any option other than accepting or denying Christ. The greater reality here IS simply the focus of a man and the dynamic involved IS much like the verse and commentary from the last essay regarding having; the Master says “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 13:12). If we can see that the man who “hath not” IS the same man who IS trying to “save his life” through his adherence to mundane and carnal norms, we can then see how that the one that hath, the one who “shall have more abundance“, IS the same who “will lose his life for my sake“. We must understand that the idea of Life here IS the spiritual Life which, by focus upon the Lord, becomes the psychic Life of the man in this world as he IS filled with the revelations and the realizations which have ever flowed in the promptings of his Soul. These promptings however were never heard over the din of one’s focus upon trying to “save his life“, save the ways of the man, of mammon if you will, into which he has been nurtured and indoctrinated and which IS for the most part the ONLY idea of Life that he may have. While Jesus’ words in both of these sayings may be obscure, they ARE at the same time explained by His many other words that ARE overtly clear; such words as our trifecta which we repeat here again 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” (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).
Doctrines have ever failed to see that ALL spiritual endeavor begins and ends with the same basic ideas that ARE at the forefront of every True religion; that one must escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust“. In the Apostle Peter’s words this escape IS the key to attaining to the “exceeding great and precious promises” which ARE that we can become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). There IS NO difference between this and the Apostle Paul’s words saying “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). We should try to see here that the idea of lust IS grossly misrepresented in our culture as it IS taken to singularly refer to desire for what is forbidden 2 and in this most always in terms of illicit sex as defined over the centuries by the church. This is a part of the overall fixation that the church has on things sexual as they miss the True spiritual import of the Greek words and then misunderstand their own renderings. The “affections and lusts” of the flesh ARE the desires, ALL the desires, of the human nature before a man IS enlightened to the reality of forsaking….the reality of being ‘willingly’ poor. It IS such desires for the mundane and the carnal that ARE contrary to the deeper Truth and such desires ARE the mainstay of one’s focus upon the self and the things of the self. One CAN NOT be Christ’s, one CAN NOT be a partaker “of the divine nature“, if his focus IS NOT on the Lord and the fullness of this idea IS found in the words of the first Great Commandment. Why this Truth IS missed by the doctrinal church IS NOT a mystery but, at the same time, most DO NOT realize just what it IS that they have missed. In men’s zeal for the continuation of the self they have bought into the myths of the ages and have indeed continued to invent new ways to view that inevitable human destiny of death. Most ALL see their lives as the body with a mind and emotions that will continue in heaven, in hell, or that will simply cease to exist at their death; some combination of ALL of these ideas may in fact be the Truth that lies behind that door. Despite the ‘first hand’ accounts of those who have seemed to be dead for some period of time, NONE have Truly seen heaven nor hell nor the abyss of non-existence; at best they have seen a dream state in a realm to which the Soul takes the intangible parts of Life, the mind and the emotions and here we should remember that this IS sans the brain, an organ to which much too much credit IS given in Life. We could here get into such ideas as the etheric planes and the astral planes but this IS NOT necessary as our point here IS simply to say that one’s first experience after death IS based much upon their state of mind and emotion when they were alive. And here the rub: in Life one can deal with thoughts and emotions, act upon them or react to them, but without the fullness of the body and its interdependent ways of communication with the mind and emotions, one IS just left with thoughts and feelings and NO real form of expression; perhaps in this there IS some measure of Truth in relation to ghosts and afterlife communications. It IS here that one can benefit from whatsoever degree of real KNOWING, realization of Truth if you will, he has been able to achieve; it IS such KNOWING that becomes one’s guide as the mind and the emotions had already been somewhat freed from the purely mundane and carnal focus in which most ALL live. This IS based in the freedom that the Master promises to those who will “continue in my word“.
Without one’s measure of freedom there IS ONLY the continuation of the mind and the emotions with the same relative thoughts and feelings that formed one’s attitudes in Life; there is still little or no acknowledgement of the promptings of the Soul. To be sure there IS progress in most every Life in this Earth, progress that IS NOT measurable in human terms. If we can see that the whole of Life here in this world IS to allow for the expression of the Soul through one’s form, the expression of agape as the singular idea of Oneness and Truth, we can then perhaps understand how that the doctrinal church has fails and why the Master tells the religious leaders of the Jews that “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). It IS unfortunate that men have NOT realized the timelessness of such sayings and how that they ARE understood by the Christian to be ONLY addressed to the “scribes and Pharisees“. This doctrinal failure, this failure to see the Christian religions and the Christian view in Jesus’ words against the Jews and the Jews religious leaders, as well as their taking of their doctrinal views of salvation and atonement over the words of the Master and the clarifying and amplifying words of His apostles, DOES indeed “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in“. The teaching of doctrines and men’s indoctrination into the ‘Christian’ culture keeps many from Truly seeking the Truth as they believe that the Truth has been imparted to them through their doctrinal view. In this we should see the same plight of the Jews in Jesus’ day as they followed in the doctrinal approach that was centered in the ancillary laws propounded by Moses. The Jews came to rely upon their rites and rituals, their circumcision and their sacrifices, to stay in the will of God while the deeper aspects of the law were NOT regarded as highly. It IS this trend that becomes Paul’s railing against the law and works and the doctrinal misinterpretation of the apostle’s intent has placed the Christian in a very similar position. While the idea of the Jews’ mitzvah, their 613 commandments if you will, arises in the Christian era, the same view was the Jews’ practice in the time from Moses to Christ. This IS seen in the words of the prophets who call out the Jews’ failure to live in accord with the deeper Truths of the law rather than the doctrinal view presented by their leaders. Jesus repeats some of the words of the prophets as He shows the Jews the error of their doctrinal ways but, again, the Christian sees His words as ONLY applying to the Jew. Jesus tells the Jews to “go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13) which IS His charge that they should read and understand the words of the Prophet Hosea saying “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me” (Hosea 6:4-7).
It IS the Prophet Isaiah that Jesus quotes as He tells the Jews and warns ALL those religious leaders that follow that they had substituted man ordained commandments and precepts in place of the Truth; Jesus says “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition“. (Mark 7:6-9). We should note here that when these words were spoken by the prophet they were NOT prophecy per se, they were NOT addressed to future generations but to the immediate time; it IS their timelessness that makes them prophetic and so relevant in Jesus’ day and yet today. Much as these words had NO impact upon the ways of the Jews 2000 years ago, they also have NO impact on the Christian era from its beginnings centuries ago until today. These words ARE deemed to have been written ONLY to the Jews as the Christian has never placed himself into the Truth that they too ARE “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men“. Such sayings ARE NOT seen as Jesus’ teachings for subsequent generation nor ARE they seen as warnings but this IS ONLY because the Christian has placed himself above the words of the Lord despite such sayings as we have in our trifecta, sayings that tell us that the Way IS through keeping His words. As we can see in Jesus’ use of the words of the prophets, the doctrinal approach of men has ever been largely the same. Men have always forsaken the Truth for the continuation of some degree of psychic comfort in their lives, a comfort that was provided in the rites and rituals of the Jews, in the Jews’ doctrinal approach to the Lord. It is this same idea of comfort that has formed the doctrinal approach of the Christian religions, an approach that was intended to be based in Christ but which quickly deteriorated into the doctrinal morass which still afflicts men today. Can we see how that it IS the doctrines of men that “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men” and in their willing participation the leaders still “neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in“. Can we see here the Truth in this esoteric philosophical saying that: The church today is the tomb of the Christ and the stone of theology has been rolled to the door of the sepulchre ****. The church DOES of course fully reject these ideas that we lay out here and in the rest of our blog but we should understand that this rejection, as a human flaw, finds its power in the vanity, in the illusion and the glamour that feed the doctrinal ideas which keep men from seeking out the True meanings of such sayings as “if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7). In the end the most basic failure IS found in men’s expression of agape and, again, this IS because men DO NOT understand what this idea of Love Truly represents. Agape IS a Life’ vision that comes upon a man who finds a realization of his essential Oneness with God and with his fellowman. It IS in this realization that one can become one of the ‘willing’ poor and here we must understand that this IS a purely spiritual idea as the man in whom such a sense of agape abides can never be poor as the world understands this. He may have little in regard to worldly goods or treasure but he becomes as Paul tells us saying “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). This IS the ONLY place that the Greek word autarkes IS used in the New Testament; Vincent tells us that this IS: A stoic word, expressing the favorite doctrine of the sect, that man should be sufficient to himself for all things; able, by the power of his own will, to resist the shock of circumstance 4. Thayer’s lists among its defining terms the idea that to be autarkes IS to be: sufficient for oneself, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support; independent of external circumstances 9; in this last idea we should see the fullness of Jesus’ 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“. As a Soul expressing Life through a form in this world, one becomes a sort of voyeur but without the sexual connotations attached to this idea by the medical community. If we can see the voyeur simply as a independent watcher, an observer if you will, of his own Life and the ways of the world, we can then perhaps understand the necessary detachment from the “affections and lusts” which ARE the effect of that vanity to which ALL are subjected. These ideas of autarkes, of being among the ‘willing’ poor, and being among those who Truly “have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24) ARE ALL interrelated like so many of the Truths spoken by the Master and His apostles. And such IS the nature of the man who IS Truly “born again“, the man who has seen the opposing poles of agape and vanity; the one keeps men bound to this world while the other IS their freedom and here we should connect agape strongly to Jesus’ words 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” (John 8:31-32).
Our expression of agape, of the Truth of Love, IS the same as keeping His word, continuing in His word as Jesus frames this. It IS in agape that we can become “disciples indeed” and here we should remember the Master’s words saying “whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). These ideas ARE NOT as doctrines ofttimes portray them; this IS NOT that common understanding of Love which IS carnal in nature and which relies upon the mind and the emotions of men; this IS NOT that mental and emotional attraction and attachment to others or to things. This agape IS the understanding of the Oneness of ALL men as Souls traversing this Earth and, in this Oneness, an understanding of being One with the whole….with the Lord. Similarly the idea of forsaking IS NOT the doctrinal view where the betterment of one’s Life in this world IS among his paramount contrary motivators, a view where one will forsake when called to it as John Gill portrays this 8. Again this idea of forsaking IS more than giving up what one has, it IS giving up ALL attachments to the carnal mind and emotions and standing free as the Soul in control of the form who then will “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“. It IS ONLY in this freedom that on can “know the truth” and see through ALL the ‘spiritual’ machinations of men from the very beginning. While the intent of ALL world scriptures IS for men to focus upon the things of God, the doctrinal Christian church has so diluted this that such ideas as the Great Commandments ARE become but trite sayings with which one can agree but NOT nearly comprehend. The singular view of the doctrinal thinker remains in the self while the whole of the Lord’s teaching IS intended to take one’s attention off of the self and to measure everyman as himself. Save for such things as murder and stealing, the rest of the Ten Commandments ARE wholly ignored and men have created caveats even for these. In such ideas as the first Great Commandment where the whole of one’s focus IS to be fixed upon the things of God, alternative ideas have allowed men to substitute carnal ideas of Love, emotional and mental ideas, and even these with an apparent denial of the Master’s words on Love for Him, and through Him for the Father. Most ALL Christians claim Love for God and for Jesus while ignoring the Master’s own words on such Love that tell us that “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me“. While the Master shows us the broad view of keeping His words as the signature of Love for God, the Apostle John shows us this in terms of Love saying “this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John 4:21). The same way that men erroneously claim Love for God without keeping His words, they also claim Love for their fellowman even while they express such selectively to the few that they see worthy. The very idea of agape IS that it IS expressed universally and it IS this that IS missed by the doctrinal thinker, the man who has laid claim to most ALL of the positive ideas and promises of scripture without Truly KNOWING nor understanding the Truth that IS agape. Much of the doctrinal problem IS the reliance upon their misapplied and misinterpreted words of the Apostle Paul; many believe that they ARE righteous as they claim the doctrinal idea of righteousness from such sayings as “he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21); here they pay NO attention to what would Truly make a man righteous….agape. And they ignore seemingly contrary scriptures written by the apostles as this from John saying “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7). While the doctrinal thinker proclaims that ‘I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!‘ and bases this in Paul’s words above, they ignore such ideas as “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10) in this context while using the same idea in relation to sin. Through these words many believe that they ARE righteous and ARE made so by the atonement; for this they piece together verses from Paul’s many letters but fail to see the Truth of John’s words saying “he that doeth righteousness is righteous“.
Vincent quotes Plato in regard to John’s words writing: “In his relation to other men he will do what is just; and in his relation to the gods he will do what is holy; and he who does what is just and holy cannot be other than just and holy” (Plato, “Gorgias,” 507). We should try to see that words like these DO NOT expire and ARE NOT changed by the doctrinal machinations of men over the centuries which ascribe righteousness to a man because he IS or even claims to be a Christian. For this they lean upon such ideas from Paul regarding Abraham that tell us that “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness“. The implication here IS that Abraham has full faith in God which we should understand as a fullness of KNOWING some measure of the Truth. This IS however turned into the nebulous doctrinal ideas rendered from pistis and pistueo….faith and believing. Paul continues saying that “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:20-22, 23-24). Missed here IS the intended strength of the idea of pisteuo epi which we should see in the same light as we see pisteuo eis. Here again we go to Vincent who tells us that: 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 4. In this ending idea IS keeping His words and for us this IS the ONLY key to Truly believing. Interpreting Paul’s intent spiritually rather than carnally as men we should be able to see how that the imputation of righteousness IS NOT accorded to one for merely being a Christian but it IS accorded to one who Truly KNOWS God which John shows saying “hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4). When we can combine this idea of KNOWING God with the apostle’s words on righteousness with his caution to “let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous“, perhaps we can also see the state of the church as that deceiver. Can we see the point here? Like so many other scriptural ideas that the Christian has taken possession of through his doctrines, this idea of righteousness IS become a major stumbling block in the path of those who would Truly seek the Lord and this because the believe that they have already found Him. It IS against this kind of error on the part of the Jews that Jesus says: “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).
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 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
- 9 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on blueletterbible.org
- **** From The Reappearance of the Christ by Alice A Bailey; © 1948 by Lucis Trust
Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher