ON LOVE; PART MCCCLXXVIII
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 continuation of our discussion of our selection from Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. Throughout we tried to show how that the whole objective of the man who Truly seeks the Lord IS in his expression of agape according to the Truth of this idea as presented by the Master and His apostles. We should understand that our presentation of either the need for such expression or the need to keep His words ARE essentially the same thing and whensoever we use the one idea the other IS incorporated in it. We CAN NOT Truly express Love unless we ARE keeping His words as the very nature of agape IS shown to us there. Similarly we CAN NOT be keeping His words unless we ARE expressing agape as this Love IS at the heart of ALL of Jesus’ teaching. And we should see both ideas in our selection from Paul’s writings as he first shows us that ALL things that men may DO which they ‘believe‘ ARE according to the Truth of God’s word ARE NOT unless they ARE accompanied by an expression of Love. While men may ‘believe‘ that the have the gift of tongues, while they may ‘believe‘ that they ARE prophetic and have access to the mysteries and the necessary faith and while they may ‘believe‘ that their giving of their worldly goods and services ARE in accord with the Life of the spiritual man, they ARE mistaken unless such ARE accompanied by one’s expression of agape rightly defined. Paul goes on to show us how to rightly define agape and through those ideas that we have covered so far we should be able to see that any sense of Love that IS self-serving, any sense that has benefits to the self involved, IS NOT agape but IS, as the apostle tells us, “as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal“. They ARE but spiritually profitless endeavors through which the man’s work IS spiritually worthless or, as Paul frames this, he IS nothing which idea must be seen in a spiritual context. Paul shows us what IS the nature of agape and what IS NOT and in his explanations of the Truth of Love we should be able to place our own success as to our own expression. However, we must look at the apostle’s list that defines the nature of agape with an understanding that the rendered words DO NOT reflect the spiritual import that Paul IS offering to us. While the rendered ideas that Love IS patient and Love IS kind can offer us some carnal ideas for our interpersonal relationships, these DO NOT show us the deeper Truths that ARE the spiritual nature of agape. As we discussed beginning two posts back the idea of patience which IS rendered in our King James Bible as long suffering, as “Agape suffereth long“, needs to be seen from a spiritual perspective where we can understand that this expression by a man may NOT have the immediate spiritual results that we anticipate. What we expect will vary from man to man and we should take this idea of patience according to Paul’s own necessary waiting which we read as “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). Here we should see that while Paul IS waiting for his ultimate Union with the Lord, this same sense of waiting, of patience and long suffering, accompanies most ALL spiritual achievement….we likely always think that we ARE further along than we Truly ARE. James offers us a similar idea in his words about the husbandman saying that he “waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it” (James 5:7). Again, we must understand that this waiting example IS NOT in idleness but an active waiting; the husbandman works the ground to produce healthy fruit while the apostle actively pursues the Lord while waiting for the adoption. We should try to see the idea of adoption, of this realty of Oneness, as Vincent shows us saying that: the adopted son of God becomes, in a peculiar and intimate sense, one with the heavenly Father 4. It IS this Oneness that IS the apostle’s goal in the same manner as the goal of the husbandman IS to reap the fruit of his labor and when we can see that this idea contains the ultimate Power of the disciple, we can then perhaps see the examples set forth for us in scripture.
Paul shows us many things that define what it IS to be a True son of God and here we should note that under the New Testament idea of adoption, according to its Roman usage, ALL who ARE True sons of God ARE so by this adoption. We should remember that as Souls we ARE ever One with the heavenly Father and that it IS this sense of Oneness that must be the realization of the Transformed personality; it IS the fullness of this realization that Paul tells us that he too waits for, And, if we can understand the Power and spiritual abilities of Paul that we read about in the Book of Acts, we can perhaps see His spiritual growth from a hypocritical Pharisee bent on the destruction of a new religious view to a True son according to that view. For Paul this begins with his Repentance which IS the result of his vision on the road to Damascus. We should note here that after his ‘conversion’ he spent three years in Arabia and while we ARE told relatively nothing about this time. we should be able to see a time of reflection and Transformation which IS the next step in his own journey. It IS through his Repentance and Transformation that Paul gains his fuller realization of the Truth which he shares with us through his writings. It IS generally understood that Paul spends three years in Arabia and if we can see that his instruction during this period comes from his own Soul, his own Christ Within, we can then perhaps see our own journey. We must ALL be under the tutelage of the Christ and when we can see this as our unction by which “ye know all things” (1 John 2:20), we can then better understand our own potential. And we can then see that we ARE NOT unlike the apostles except in our application of the Truth to our own lives. It IS this that the doctrines of men inhibit as they have revised the Truth to suit their human and carnal needs and desires; it IS their doctrines that allow men to believe that they have found the Truth without understanding and DOING as the Master says in our trifecta which we repeat here again:
- “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
- “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
- “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:21-24).
Our use of this trifecta of spiritual Truth IS our representation of the reality of Jesus’ words that tell us clearly that we should keep His words. More importantly however IS the reality that His words ARE the Way, they ARE the Truth and they ARE the Life that the doctrinal thinker believes that they have found in accepting the personality of Jesus. We should try to see that the personality of Jesus IS the Christ, His own Soul, His own unction, expressing through His own form in this Earth. While the reality that “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) IS found in keeping His words, this IS understood by ONLY the few and NOT understood at ALL in the church proper over the 2000 years since the Master uttered these words. The deepest Truth of His words IS agape; Jesus’ teaching on agape shows us in rather clear language what the attitudes of men must become and there IS naught in His words on Love that even hint at the sense of separation that Christianity has attached to them. We must try to see here that Jesus’ revelations on the idea of agape ARE revelations of the very nature of God. While we ARE discussing our selection from Paul’s words regarding agape, it IS the Apostle John that has the greater grasp on this singularly important spiritual Truth; it IS the Apostle John that shows us that “God is
love agape” (1 John 4:8, 16). The concept here IS NOT difficult to comprehend nor to understand even as carnal men in this world. Yet there IS little or NO comprehension and even less understanding because of the sense of self that begins in the vanity, IS exacerbated by our nurturing and our continuing indoctrination and adopted as the way of men in this world. It IS against this that agape stands as it IS against the carnal that the spiritual stands. When we can Truly see our own sense of self with the world, we can then perhaps better understand the words of Paul who tells us that “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:6-7). These words concern our sense of self while James’ similar thought IS more centered on our relationship to the world; James tells us “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Both of these offer us the view of the apostles regarding the Master’s teachings on agape and, should we change the word God to Love, to agape, could perhaps give us a new insight into the reality that we should see. Remember here that “God is love agape“.
The point here IS that the “the carnal mind is enmity against
God agape” in the same way that it IS “enmity against God“; there IS NO difference here. When we add to this the idea that “a friend of the world is the enemy of God agape” we can then see this idea from two perspectives, that of the self-centered man which most ALL ARE, and that of the man whose desires for the things of the world keep him bound to the world. Here we should remember what Peter tells us about our escape and understand that this escape IS from both perspectives; the apostle tells us that to “be partakers of the divine nature” we must have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). We should recognize here that the “the divine nature” IS agape and that we can make the same adjustment here as we DO above; we can say that to “be partakers of the divine nature agape” that we must escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust“. Can we understand these most important points? In these sayings from the apostles the relationship of the direct subject to agape IS NOT clearly stated but when we can identify God with agape and see these as synonymous terms, it IS easy to see the underlying Truth that IS accepted by most ALL of the church; “God is love agape“. It IS because of this Truth of God and agape that we must come to understand just what agape IS and it IS to this end that we ARE discussing Paul’s words. This will help us to understand the greater Truth if we can get past the doctrinal assertions and the errant rendering of many of the Greek words. Before we get back to our selection from Paul it IS important to understand that Jesus’ words on agape, some of which DO NOT mention agape as the subject, ARE also clear representations of what this Love IS but, because the Master offers them in such a way as to show the errors of the carnal mind and of the ways of the world, these have become but trite statements and religious platitudes much like the idea that Love IS patient, Love IS kind. We should repeat here Jesus’ words on Love from Luke’s Gospel beginning with the foundational idea that “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mark 12:31). Luke tells us Jesus’ words saying that:
“I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:27-36).
This IS the ultimate definition of agape. Unfortunately there ARE few who can accept the way that these precepts seek to change the very nature of a man yet caught in the vanity of Life here in this world. Fewer yet ARE those that can understand that the Way’s of men depicted in these words IS the whole intent of the Master’s teaching and it IS in our Repentance that we commit to change our carnal ways to these. We should NOT focus merely upon the idea of Love cited but rather on those other ideas that ARE part and parcel of the intended expression of agape in this world. And, if we look at the entirety of the Master’s words we can then see how that ALL of this reflects those same choices that everyman DOES perforce make. Choices between those “treasures in heaven” which DO conform to Jesus’ words above or the seemingly easier “treasures upon earth” which satisfy ONLY the self and this ONLY as a temporary satisfaction. Similarly the choice of God or mammon IS in Jesus’ words; to serve God we DO as the Master instructs. We “do good to them which hate you“; when we ARE smitten in any way we DO as in the example of the cheek, we “offer also the other“. This response to our being smitten, which IS defined as struck, as with a hard blow; and as grievously or disastrously stricken or afflicted, IS a response of True meekness. We discussed this idea of meekness several times over the course of our blog posts and most recently in the last essay; we should see how that the very nature of being meek IS intimately tied to our expression of agape. If it were NOT a spiritually effective expression of agape the Master would not praise it as we read in His words saying “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). While we DO NOT Truly KNOW what it means to “inherit the earth” we can perhaps try to see this in terms of our control over the forces of Life in the Earth, that the meek can, by their sense of equanimity and lack of aggression, exhibit some form of control. The point here IS however made in the Master’s praising of the meekness of men. Again, if meekness were NOT a spiritually effective expression of agape the Master would NOT append the description to Himself nor would He encourage men to follow him in this description. Jesus tells us to “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Finally if meekness were weakness as the idea IS commonly understood we would NOT read such ideas as “the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). While the very idea of ‘turning the other cheek‘ grates against the carnal impulses of men, there IS much spiritual value in being meek and we should try to see that the whole of the idea IS a part of our expression of agape. In meekness we should see that while we can respond in kind to any action against us, in deed, in words and in attitudes, we choose NOT to; we choose to let it pass with ONLY expressions of Love and Truth, and of course understanding, in the same manner as the Master showed us 2000 years ago. We should note that when we can Truly express agape, when the Light of the Soul illuminates our carnal minds as we ARE “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2), we DO have that understanding.
A natural part of our Repentance experience IS to begin to realize that Oneness that will fully become our Way as we Transform and move spiritually toward that “adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” where it IS ONLY that Oneness that defines our lives. It IS in this Oneness, even from the beginning, that we can see our fellowmen as we see ourselves; this IS the foundation of that understanding. In this sense of Oneness with God and with ALL Souls on the Path of Return we will see our brothers differently than when our lives were ruled if you will by the lower self. This lower self IS the carnal personality in this world with its prejudices and its sense of separation that ARE based in our vanity and exacerbated by our continual indoctrination into the ways of the world. We should understand that this continual indoctrination IS the tool of the carnal mind that continually separates men from others based on differences that ARE ONLY seen as men in this world; as Souls NO such differences ARE real. As Souls we inherently KNOW the reality of our Oneness with God and our fellowman. As Souls we KNOW our Oneness with the entirety of His creation and it IS this sense of Oneness that must be carried forward into our mortal lives. It IS this carrying forth of this Oneness that eliminates our carnal sense of separation which IS based upon whatsoever prejudices we may have developed. An honest look at the world today will reveal the depth of our separation and we should note that even within the many groups with which we may identify there ARE additional points of separation from others within these groups. This IS the world of the vanity in which we live and the illusions that we have developed as Truths in our lives; illusions that we protect through the glamour produced by the carnal minds of men. While it may seem difficult to grasp this idea of Oneness and the Way that it leads us to understand that the precepts of the Master that we cite above ARE the Way, the Truth and the Life of the aspirant to discipleship, ALL True disciples KNOW this Oneness and we should try to see that the process IS a gradual one. We should NOT expect to experience the force of the Apostle Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus and we should try to see that perhaps his conversion was NOT so simple as depicted in so few words from the Book of Acts. Perhaps we should try to see that his time in Arabia, three years according to the apostle’s account, ARE spent in his own Transformation and that his encounter with the Lord on the road was his own view of his True Repentance. We should note here as well that prior to his Repentance experience the apostle DID NOT believe that he needed Repentance, that he DID believe that he DID KNOW the Lord and was living according to His precepts while he followed in the doctrines into which he had been continually indoctrinated. That there were other Jewish religious leaders besides Paul who were ‘zealously‘ trying to stamp out the fledgling new religious views of Christianity we DO NOT KNOW; we ONLY KNOW that Paul himself tells us, through Luke’s writings, that “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities” (Acts 26:9-11). What we should try to see here IS the totality of Paul’s Repentance in a time when he DID NOT believe that he has ought to Repent for. We should understand here that we ALL may have the same type of visionary experience as DID the apostle but we fail to recognize it; we see whatsoever thoughts that we may have as contrary to our doctrinal sense without realizing that it IS our doctrinal sense that IS in error. Our greater point IS that there IS that there IS a time factor involved in our own conversions which ARE simply conversions from doctrines to Truth. It IS in whatsoever time it may take that we begin our own Transformation that our measure of grace comes into our lives. This measure of grace IS our realization of some measure of the Truth that as Souls we KNOW and which, through our Transformation, renews the mind; this IS our conversion from our carnal doctrinal views to views of the Truth. Jesus tells us in poorly rendered ideas that we should “Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given” (Mark 4:24). It IS ONLY when we can see such ideas in a purely spiritual way that we can understand the message that the Master offers us. He tells us that we must distinguish between doctrinal pronouncements and pronouncements of Truth without using such words but if we measure His words against His dialogue with the Jews, His intent is easier to grasp. A major problem here IS that the one has for 2000 years substituted for the other making Jesus instruction much more difficult to discern.
However, when we consider the idea of hearing from a spiritual perspective, it IS rather easy to understand that our primary source of Truth IS our own Souls; our unction by which “ye know all things“. Again, facing the duality of Life in this world, we should try to see how that it IS by the measure that such Truth becomes the realization of the heretofore carnal mind that ever more can “be measured to you“. It IS in this fashion that “unto you that hear shall more be given“. Can we see the point here? Can we understand that it IS in taking “heed what ye hear” that we find the KEY and that if we should heed the ideas of the world, religious or otherwise, that it IS these that will “be measured to you“? It IS of these carnally religious or other ideas that “shall more be given“. The reality here IS focus; the reality here IS that whatsoever we attend to in hearing will become the focus of our lives. On the one side, hearing and heeding what comes into the mind from the world of men, their doctrines, their edicts and their formulas for living, serve to keep us “conformed to this world” and enthralled in the vanity which IS our own individual “bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:20, 21). On the other side, hearing and heeding the prompting of our own Souls to the Good, the Beautiful and the True enhances our own sense of Transformation allowing us to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). It IS these things that should be seen in Jesus’ words on hearing and heeding rather than the doctrinally oriented ideas of men which include what one may hear from the doctrinal thinkers of the world. While the Sunday sermon or the radio and TV preacher may offer kernels of Truth that ARE uplifting to some, this IS but an emotional response to words with which the hearer may agree or to which he may be attracted. There IS a divide however that keeps men from Truly being “transformed by the renewing of your mind“, a doctrinal barrier if you will that DOES NOT speak to the deeper Truths from the Master’s words. And we should note here that the Master’s words may NOT bring the same emotional response as DOES the preacher or the teacher of doctrinal precepts. Jesus commandments ARE NOT so popular with the average carnally oriented man whose “hope of salvation” lies in his doctrinal beliefs. Paul speaks here about a helmet that represents “the hope of salvation” but we should note that this follows upon the supposition that a man IS already in possession of “the breastplate of faith and love” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). This breastplate IS of course an analogy representing the strength of one’s “faith and love” and here again we must try to identify pistis, which IS rendered as faith, in terms of KNOWING; and here again this KNOWING IS that we KNOW the Lord. In another epistle the apostle shows us that this breastplate IS “the breastplate of righteousness” and in this IS NO contradiction as righteousness requires one’s “faith and love” which come to everyman who will strive to keep His words. While it IS in keeping His words that we show our Repentance and our striving toward our Transformation, the doctrinal thinker DOES NOT see this as so because that into which he IS indoctrinated tells him otherwise. Here we come back to Jesus’ words on the “false prophets” (Matthew 7:15) and the amplifying and clarifying words of His apostles that speak of such things as “another gospel: Which is not another” (Galatians 1:6, 7) and tell us of the purveyors of such as “wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest” (2 Peter 2:17).
We should try to see here that there IS much untruth regarding the Truth and regarding the reality of salvation. The various doctrines of men have ever found their own carnal niche by which they DO skirt the Truth and the commandments of the Master while assuring men that they ARE ‘saved‘ according to their own carnal ideas which essentially ARE that “another gospel: Which is not another“. Most ALL miss the reality of the Master’s words and the spiritual necessity to see their Truth despite the way that many of His precepts DO upset the views of men as regards their lives, their desires and their objectives here in this world. It IS this that Paul shows us as he writes about the “carnal mind” and how that it, and the ways of the world which ARE its possession, is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”. It IS Repentance and Transformation that overcome the “carnal mind” and it IS our expression of agape that IS the KEY to both; a KEY that the apostle to whom the church has given the role of savior according to his words shows us saying:
“covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charityagape, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charityagape, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charityagape, it profiteth me nothing. CharityAgape suffereth long, and is kind; charityagape envieth not; charityagape vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. CharityAgape never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:1-13).
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
- * Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher