Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Love...is it God?

NOTE: The verses I quote here are from the NIV because I didn't notice what Bible Gateway was using.

I grew up in the Christian Science Church. One of their favorite verses is "God is love." I can still see it painted on the sunday school wall. I couldn't remember if it was an actual verse, although it seems accurate. He is either love or not love, and I'd side with love...

But it is a section of HaShem's word:
"...God is love." 1 John 4:8b

Yeah, 8b. Here is the "rest of the story:"

"This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God... Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:2-3, 7-10

God is love, it is true. But that means HE defines love, not the world around us. His definition of love required a physical sacrifice in this world. Anyone who denies that Messiah actually came into a physical world to live, die then rise again as a sacrifice for our sin, does not know HaShem or the real meaning of love. No matter how much "love" they pour out into the world.

The big thing these days, and probably since centuries past, is to "love each other" to "tolerate." So it was nice that John also included this point in his letter: "They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. 1 John 4:5-6 The world can go ahead and define love however they want, but no amount of using scripture out of context will get anyone into heaven.

I think this next section is the "God is love" verse the CSC prefers, because "perfect love drives out fear" is another favorite:

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:16-18

What is it to "live in love" then? A few verses earlier in the passage:

"We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us." 1 John 4:13-16

A person "lives in love" when, and only when he lives in God. Proof that a person "live[s] in God?" His love for his brother along with his acknowledgment of Yeshua's unique relationship to HaShem, as well as HaShem's literal sending of a physical Yeshua to literally die in atonement or payment for our sins. (in case you don't know, this physical world is not a belief of the CSC, nor is the diety of Messiah)

My conviction from this book: I don't act like HaShem has forgiven me.

I get irritated easily and I have been working/remembering to pray to figure out why, while also working on not showing that irritation whether I find "the reason" or not. I think, though, that at least a part of it is that I get irritated when I bring to mind the things a person did that irritated or hurt me before. Not a sign of forgiveness. I can't change them, but with HaShem, I can change myself. Argh.

No comments: