Sunday, November 28, 2010

What is Love? Really.

Rom.5:7-9 - 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

nything that is called love, but contains or offers no redemption, is an imposter and a fraud. And the Scriptures clearly teach that the highest level of the divine is love, and love is revealed and exhibited by redemption. The sentimental, syrupy brand of Hollywood love is a deception and a counterfeit. True love, God’s love, is manifested in His redemption, the redemption only found in the Lord Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross and subsequently authenticated by His resurrection. Halleluiah!
We, as believers in and receivers of God’s redemptive love, are called to a life that both reflects that redemptive love and offers our lives as a sacrifice to it. When we are involved with things and movements that are without God’s redemptive love, we do a disservice to Christ and we operate in a realm that is in fact antichrist. No man can serve two masters because he, by practice, will love one and hate the other. That teaching, from the very incarnate lips of the Master, places a firewall between His cause and all other causes. Before I enter into the eternal glory of Christ and His love, let me identify causes that are both spiritually hollow and also impugn the very character of the Risen Christ.

Morality. When followers of Jesus join moral crusades they reject the very nature of the gospel message and pitch their self righteous tents upon the law of Moses. Let us be very clear, all of us break God’s moral law EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES. There, the emperor has no clothes. Our calling is not to condemn the world, and Christ, from His own lips, said condemnation of the world was not His mission at all. He stated clearly that His mission was salvation, and He opened that door through His passion and resurrection.

And when those of us who so loudly tout our redemption as entirely woven from the fabric of grace, stand upon that foundation and rain down stones of moral condemnation upon the heads of dead sinners, we have identified ourselves as modern day Pharisees. Magnifying the sin of others is a self righteous labor that consistently blossoms through the nourishment provided by the fallen nature of others. What would people think of a person who labors in a cemetery, digs up corpses, and itemizes their past sins and their present decomposition? That person would be considered disturbed and his mission would be considered macabre.

Politics. Can there be any greater field where redemption and love are undetected? Harsh words, character assassination, exaggerated accomplishments, scheming, and vast amounts of financial misuse and squandering are all important parts of this vicious treadmill. The energy expended to acquire power is astounding, but only second to the gullibility of people who not only watch such a spectacle, but become willing participants and supporters. And when those supporters are professing believers in the Lord Jesus and His teachings, then it reveals the colossal force of deception.

When someone verbally embraces the teachings of Jesus, and then actively engages in endeavors that are antithetical to those very teachings, it manifests how sophisticated deception can be. The evil one is not satisfied with the achievement of believers being uninterested and apathetic to the gospel, he also desires, with astounding success, to have believers involved with causes that are counter productive to that same gospel and actually work against the kingdom of God and the teachings of Jesus. Think on that for a moment and shake your head.

Nationalism. It is quite a challenge to trace the history of God’s church and see exactly when the Bride of Christ gave her allegiance to any one nation. If you read some of the teachings of the Anabaptists you will discover a thirst to remain unfettered by this world, to say nothing of being wholly given to it. Where did the followers of Jesus decide to give their lives and hearts to things other than Jesus? I suggest that in large part it is a phenomenon seen most powerfully in America. If you travel to foreign countries and converse with other believers, you will sometimes see nationalism, but not nearly on the same scale as it is practiced in American evangelicalism.

In fact, just questioning the Biblical validity of such a practice can elicit scorn and castigation from brothers and sisters in Christ. Nationalism is void of love and redemption, and in fact divides believers around the world. The spectacle of one believer pledging his allegiance to France, while another believer pledges his allegiance to Canada, goes against every New Testament teaching concerning unity or complete surrender to Christ Himself. And when those two believers find themselves passionately attempting to kill each other on the battlefield, that in and of itself countermands all the teachings of the Lord Jesus. And usually wars are about money (land, lifestyle, etc.) It is a narrative that will always be unredemptive and void of God’s love.

Greed. Actually, elements of this cause are found in all the rest. It is the strongest and most pervasive of them all, and it stands in direct conflict with all things in Christ. Fallen man finds his security and even his worth in money. When the New Testament exhorts us to be content with food and clothing we manipulate it to mean some abstract principle which still allows for a variety of financial self aggrandizements. And here in America, entire teachings have sprung up that openly claim that God is in favor of greed, which they conveniently call “prosperity”. And most cleverly they insist that the path to such prosperity is by giving money to them. Isn’t the gullibility of people simply breath taking?

But listen as believers complain about taxes, gas prices, salaries, and a plethora of things associated with their own wealth. All of these are nothing more than shades of greed. And during election years, the overwhelming issues are about who can help the economy and provide good paying jobs for everyone. And believers are no different in their verbiage and what their hearts seek. The reason believers vote for conservatives lies predominately in their belief that such men will cut taxes, cut entitlement spending, not raise the minimum wage, reduce foreign aid, and many other things that they believe will help fill their own pockets. Like Fagin sang in Oliver,

“In this life, one thing counts
In the bank, large amounts.”

What a theologian Fagin was!

This is a short list of the things that have no divine love or redemption in them. I was going to conclude this post with a description of God’s authentic love and redemption, but I have decided to make another entire post about that. So I invite you to digest what I have written about and see if the New Testament teaches us to participate in such things. But even if you cannot fully endorse what I have written, perhaps it has ignited a first step in investigating the spiritual productivity of such things. But do not just tippy toe around, embrace the danger of finding out something that alters the doctrinal landscape that has become your comfortably bulwark.

Watch for “What is Love? Really?” part II.

1 comment:

David said...

Very true! When we fail to understand God is in control, even when it can appear otherwise, we can be pulled into all sorts of things that are not kingdom related. God is not pleased! Let us learn from Uzzah. 2 Sam 6:7
David K