Who Loves Most? ( or least?)

There is a vignette in the Gospel which illustrates a very critical point about Loving God. It answers the question why some come to love God and others do not seem to have capacity to love him.

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. ( Luke 7:36-38)

Love for Jesus drove that woman to interrupt a supper, held by the Pharisees for Jesus. The religious elite were there, and the woman was definitely not invited. She was, in the first place a woman, and in the second place she had been a disreputable woman, held in contempt by these “Holy Ones” whose life goal was to personally fulfill all of the 618 commandments of God, and to observe a strict separation from all defiling people and things.

She would have felt the barrier of contempt and even hatred from Jesus’ hosts. In their eyes her very presence was defiling . In those days, and in that part of the world, nothing was private. The entire village would have been standing at the door and windows, witnessing the feast. This woman wouldn’t let anything keep her from Jesus.

The woman didn’t burst into the feast to spite them, nothing of the sort crossed her mind at that point. She was just so grateful to have received the forgiveness and reconciling touch of Jesus.

Jesus had come, in the name of God, into her hard, dead world of sin and shame, and had driven out the demons which had been plaguing and tormenting her, and which had driven her into a degrading living death of sin. She was dead to all that was wholesome and Holy, driven out of the congregation of the just, and away from all of the decent, she lived like a leper, until Jesus’ light shone into her life.

Those who had invited Jesus were scandalized. The woman’s actions seemed indecent; she let down her hair, she wept and fell at Jesus feet, her tears washed over the tired feet of Jesus. The woman then produced an expensive alabaster box of ointment and poured it on the feet of Jesus! This was too much!

Perhaps more scandalously, Jesus allowed this, he didn’t say or do anything to stop this woman.

When Jesus did speak, he addressed the host, Simon, the Pharisee,

Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? ( Luke 7:39-42)

Who will love the most? Who knows what it is to worship with trembling and rejoicing? Who will never be mindful of the crowd, the hostile and even indifferent crowd? Who will go to the floor in love and adoration?

The one who owed the most and knew it. The one conscious of the enormity of his debt to God, and who sees that the forgiveness was costly… to God. Love for God will always be according to consciousness of sin, and of forgiveness and grace.

Simon had no such consciousness. He would have considered himself a sinner, no doubt, but not an eternally indebted sinner, unable to so much as pay the interest on his debt. Simon would consider himself to be the fifty dollar sinner, not perfect, of course, but nothing at all in comparison to this “fallen woman”.

Simon didn’t love Jesus all that much. At that point he couldn’t love Jesus. This is because He had no idea how profoundly guilty he was before God, nor did believe that Jesu would soon come, and take his place in judgment, as a substitute for his sins and the sins of the whole world.

And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ( Luke 7:45-48)

The woman isn’t forgiven because she loved Jesus, rather the woman loved Jesus because she knew Him to be the one who forgave her sin, and that by Him and him alone her slate could be cleansed, and she could be reconciled to the God whom she once spurned.

She well knew the enmity of her own sin and guilt, she felt it’s pangs and weight everyday, until the day Jesus came along and released her. Thus she Loved Jesus greatly.

But Simon, like so many in this evil generation, was deceived about his sin and his religion. God was speaking to Him, through this spectacle, and in fact Jesus commands that wherever the gospel is preached, this story should be repeated.

What was God saying? something like this, “Simon, look at this woman and her love for me! You are every bit the sinner she was, you can know the joy and release, and holy renewal of all of your affections, that she now knows! Come to me (Jesus) for full pardon and forgiveness and enter into fellowship with the likes of her.”

She anointed Him with expensive oil. And in doing so, Jesus isn’t raise one objection, He allowed her to pour the oil upon his feet. In doing so she was fulfilling prophecy, for Isaiah predicted that though Jesus , the Messiah would be poor, He would be “with the rich in His death(s) (Literally) Isaiah 53.

If the LORD has mercy on your soul, He will reveal to you the immensity of the sin and guilt you are under, and you will then turn to Him for complete forgiveness ad cleansing. Then you will love Jesus with all of your heart.

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The Heart of God … ( Love pt 9)

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:7-10)

Our God is love. He doesn’t merely have love, He is Love. To resist the LORD is to resist Love, and goodness and truth.

Throughout the sacred scriptures God has revealed his heart of love to mankind, and the greatest revelation of Divine Love of all, is the cross of Jesus Christ. In that singular act of God, all access to the LOVE of God is given.

There are several scriptures that run through my mind as I write this article. My paltry words could never truly do justice to the subject I wrote of, but we are called to bear witness to the truth, and the Love of God is a great and profound truth. ( I wouldn’t want to live without the Love of God, would you?).

The 103rd Psalm is loaded with the Revelation of his Love. Verse seven is an echo of an earlier revelation, the dramatic self disclosure of God, when Moses asked Him to reveal His glory.

Merciful – God has a heart of compassion for sinners, and is willing to extend mercy to the undeserving. His heart literally grieves for the miseries that our sins have brought upon us.

Gracious, The LORD is Inclined to give and do for the unworthy ones, what they could never do for themselves. Salvation is all of the LORD’s grace. None of us deserve to be saved , nor could any of us have paid the price for our sins, (not in this life or in the Ages to come).

The Apostle Paul opens a chapter with these blessed words… “But God, who is rich in mercy and for the great Love wherewith He has loved us….”(Ephesians 2:1-4)

Slow to Anger, – when I finally saw the LORD, I was able to get a glimpse of my self, in a kind of a shattering way. I could see something of the enormity of my sins, the liability to Judgment I was under, the true guilt I had incurred, and the fact that all of my sins were direct affronts to God himself and his universe.

I tremble when I think of the day when the Righteous wrath of God will be revealed, and marvel at his patience. The Apostle Peter put it this way, “ Account that the Long-suffering of God is salvation…”.

God is a Father, and has a Father heart for his children. One of the Proverbs always touches me, for in it I hear my Father pleading with me, “My Son Give me your heart…”( Proverbs 23:26).

Being a Father myself, I now know in a deeper way what He is saying here.

Is it not the oldest story in the book, that a man has children, and when they are young, Father can do no wrong! They believe us, they emulate us and want to be like us, as long as we have their heart, ie as long as they can respect and believe us, they will believe that all of their happiness is tied up in the counsel of their Father.

But the World is against the Love of the Father, ( see I John 2:15-17) and seeks to draw the children away, in their hearts from their parents. So many things come together in this wicked and perverse generation to alienate children from parents; the culture, school, ‘entertainment’, etc. And obviously as human parents we do not do everything right.

True Parents want their children to believe them, and to believe that their way is right,. Especially about things like drugs, sexual sin, money, work, etc. When the child’s heart is torn away from their parents, they then become vulnerable to the seduction and deceptions of this AntiChristian World.

I now see why God pleads with us, “My Son give me your heart!”. He would spare us from the evils we are prone to, if only we still love and believed in Him! If only we would see that His way is the right way, and the only path to lasting happiness.

If only they had such a heart to fear Me and keep all My commandments always, so that it might be well with them and with their children forever. (Deuteronomy 5:29)

If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.( Isaiah 48:18)

It hurts to Love, because Love involves freewill. Do you hear this anguish of the Father, that if only his children believed Him? They would be spared from such pain and sorrow, but they thought they knew better.

So our cry as parents has often come from the Proverb above, we plead with God to have our children and grandchildren “give us their hearts”. Who could possibly love them more (Humanly speaking)?

Another passage that speaks of this Father heart of Love, is in the book of Hosea, when God mourns over backslidden Israel,

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.  As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.( Hosea 11:1-3)

Listen to the Father remember the ‘childhood ‘ of Israel and how tenderly God took him by the hand, and healed them time and again. God’s love hurts God, he intended something better for Ephraim,(Israel, the ten tribes).

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. (Hosea 11:8-9)

How can I give you up Israel?

As a Father I can somewhat relate to the passage in the last chapter of Hosea, where the Prophet is literally given words to give to the children of Israel to pray and be received…

 O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.  I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. ( Hosea 14:1-4)

When a child is being stubborn or disobedient, and even rebellious, the Parents are anxious that the fellowship be restored. But principled Christian parenting demands that the sin be addressed, and discipline administered, and that there be a humble confession from the child, before that can happen.In this way our children learn the ways of God.

I have had many instances where I have literally pled with a child to repent, and to confess the offense, so that we can go on loving each other. I confess I have literally told my children at times what to say that would be accepted. That is how badly we want restoration.

Here God does the same thing, he pleads through his prophet, and even tells them what to pray.” Admit it! Ashur can’t save us! Come on, admit it, ask Me to forgive your sins! Just admit that idols made by human hands are not ‘gods’! Come home children, I will heal you of your backsliding, You will find mercy in me! I will love you freely,(which means I will love you tho you give me no cause to), this is the pleading, tender Father heart of God. He sweeps no sin under the carpet, for he is righteous and Holy, But he loves as a Father, or I should say, ideal Fathers seek to love as close to how He does as possible. Shalom…

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A very Modern Presumption… Love pt 8

The misguided way our generation has been taught in church about the Love of God, is best typified by by a famous anecdote about the death of a very prominent poet and Atheist, Heinrich Heine in 1856.

When He was asked by a Priest, on his deathbed, what if He had been wrong about God, as an atheist?

He replied, “Gott wird mir vergeben, das ist seine Aufgabe””, or in English “God will forgive me, that is his job“.

A good many modern Evangelicals and mainstream Christians in general have been taught false doctrines such as “self esteem” , “Unconditional love”, and other humanistic twists on the Christian doctrine, without even realizing it.

These Christians would worship and adore a God who is all accepting, non-judgmental, and in fact non confrontational. This God saves, and forgives but makes absolutely no moral demands of his worshippers. Of course almost none of them would put it this way, but their theology amounts to it.

Perhaps our greatest drift away from Biblical religion was in the last hundred years or so, the idea became accepted that it is love which is the prime issue in Salvation. The Love, mercy and compassion of God were to be stressed and emphasized above all else in our preaching and teaching.

Obviously I am a strong proponent of the Love of God, and have done much teaching and preaching on it over my forty year ministry. God’s love is amazing to me, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that God could love me. I am very conscious of my sins, and grieve and cringe over them constantly, whenever they come to my mind.

But is love the primary issue in Evangelism? If so, why do we not see the Apostles preaching Love, mercy and grace in the book of Acts, as so many modern preachers have been doing? We do not see the Apostles preaching Love in the book of Acts, when they confronted sinners. Instead we see them preaching the Lordship of Jesus, and demanding all men to recognize it and to receive Him as LORD.

Peter and the Apostles preached Jesus: Jesus as Messiah, Jesus as Lord, Jesus as conqueror of death and the grave,

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.( Acts 2:33-36)

In the Epistle to the Romans, the initial and main issue between God and Man seems to be Righteousness. The Gospel is a revelation of “the Righteousness of God…”, and in the Cross God has made a way for Himself to be both “Just and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus”. The Resurrection could not occur until sinners could be fully justified,

“…The Gospel of Christ…For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith…” (Romans 1:16-17)

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26)

“…Jesus our Lord…Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”(Romans 4:24-25)

No one would ever listen to the Apostles preaching and teaching and presume on the Love of God, in the way that the German Atheist did in my opening quote, “God will forgive me, that is his job…”. ‘He wouldn’t have gotten that impression from Peter, John or Paul.

However that statement is a pretty good encapsulation of the Sentimentalized theology of millions of modern people, steeped in Humanism, Psychology, and other modern notions, and then preached to by false prophets eager to soothe troubled souls with their message of unconditional assurance, self oriented preaching and consumeristic approaches to God and the church.

The issue is Righteousness! Are you right with God? There is a judgment coming, where Righteousness will be the standard, perfect and absolute righteousness. Of course God loves you and me, but He doesn’t love us more than He loves his own Righteousness.

Do you have a perfect Rightousness to present to the infinitely Holy and Righteous God?

The good new is this, What God demands of man, God provides. We sinners can be accepted and pass through the judgment, for God has set forth His Son Jesus, to be our Righteousness.

He has made Him who knew no Sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Don’t presume on the Love of God my dear friend! God doesn’t have to Love anyone, it isn’t his “job” to be merciful and forgiving. God is a Holy and Righteous God who hates evil and will soon make war on all that is false, perverse, filthy and evil.

But He has chosen to give humanity a way out, if they will but take it. God has sent his son Jesus to be a Propitiation for our sins, ( an offering of satisfaction). Jesus is the offering God made to Himself, that God might be able to forgive men and women, in a Holy way, consistent with His holy attributes.

Ironically, the false doctrine about Love, puffs men up and actually gives them the impression they have no need to sue for Peace, since the God they think they serve, is so indulgent and compromising. Thus this generation is very much like that German Atheist, and is soon to find out otherwise.

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Jesus Warning on Presuming God’s Love… Love pt 8

And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. ( Luke 14:15)

The Parable of the Great Feast in Luke 14 is all about the danger of presuming on God’s Love. Jesus is at a Sabbath feast, having been invited by one of the Pharisees. As he observed the other guests taking their seating, as close to the host of the feast as possible, He warned them about presuming upon their own status. In Jewish culture in the 1st century, seating arrangements at a feast were accorded by Status. The Highest guests would be seated closest to the host, (The “Master of the Feast”).

And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them. When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.( Luke 14:7-11)

Jesus warns them (and us) not to presume on being in favor or worthy of exaltation, rather it would be better to assume our own lowliness, and take the lowest seat and wait to see if the Master of the feast will call you up higher, than to be called to take a lower seat.

Nor should we allow our religion to be a mere “mutual honor society” among our ‘peers’. Anyone can give and receive favor, honor and compliment among his peers. Jesus told us that Sinners love those who love them, there is nothing special about that. Let your faith lead you to the lowest, and to those least esteemed; seek to elevate them, especially those who cannot pay you back, for then your reward will be seen at the Great Messianic Feast, which comes at the time of the” resurrection of the just”.

But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:13-14)

It was at the mention of the Resurrection of the Just, and it’s association with the Messianic Feast, that caused one of the guests to blurt out, “Blessed is He that shall eat Bread in the Kingdom of God!”.

Obviously the guests all knew what Jesus was referring to, for the Resurrection of the Just and the Messianic banquet were major tenets of the religion that they all shared, including Jesus. The man who blurted out that blessing was speaking for all of those present. They all knew of it and they all expected to be there. Furthermore they all expected each other to be there as well, for the guests present at that banquet would consist entirely of people just like them, they would all be orthodox Jews, sharing the same identity and religion.

All who were present at that Sabbath meal, were familiar with descriptions from scripture of the joys of that banquet and that day, of which they were sure they would have a part in…

And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.( Isaiah 25:6-8)

As far as they were concerned, they, and everybody like them, would “be there”, and that was for sure. This is the setting for the Parable which is a great warning against the sin of Presumption and the dangers of presuming on the Grace and Love for God…

Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. ( Luke 14:16-17)

A great man was going to throw a feast. He wanted to invite all of his closest friends. He sent out the invitations and received back the RSVPs. Everyone said,”I will be there”, “Count me in”, “I am planning on it”, etc. All were sure they would be going to the great feast.

But between the Invite and the RSVPs, and the time of the actual feast, there was a delay.

And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.( Luke 14:17-19)

For all of those close friends who had received the invitations and who were sure they would “be there”, the time of the feast came at an inconvenient moment. Things had come up. So they offered lame excuses. None of the excuses hold up.

So the great man is incensed and near humiliated, what to do about the feast?

So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.( Luke 14:21-23)

The least likely people will be invited! People who had never been invited to anything rich, nice, extravagant before. Let them come to the feast and enjoy! So the least heard the invitation, and couldn’t believe their ears! ‘What? You want me to come to the feast? Are you sure?’

I do not doubt that those originally invited were sincere when they said “I will be there”,and they probably had some intention of being there. They were close to the host, they had seen feasts before, this was another feast. They knew the salad fork from the steak fork, they could identify the wine selection, it was very familiar to them.

Sure, the initially invited friends of the Host wanted to come and even expected come to the feast.

But not as much as the second batch of invitees. The ‘nothings’ simply couldn’t believe their own good fortune, the “grace” of the invite was truly Amazing to them. They had never had food like that, nor had they ever been treated so well, and the Music sounded like heaven itself.

What is the Moral of this story?

There are many who are thoroughly familiar with Christ. These are the ones whose whole life, they had been taught of Christ, they know about the rapture, the bread and the wine and the sinners prayer. They have been to many, many lesser ‘feasts’,(Church services), and the final ‘feast’ is where they fully expect to arrive at someday. They would love to be there and plan on getting there somehow.

Of course, they want to go to heaven, but how badly? Would they lose friends over it? Would they be willing to admit they are wrong over it? Would they be willing to be ostracized for the sake if it? Would they be willing to die for the truth of it?

Or is it just another feast, that one can take , or leave.

Do they just presume they will get there? Somehow? Or do they want it with all of their heart and soul?

The Poor, blind, lame and halt, cannot believe their good fortune , being invited to the feast, (The ground of all true joy and happiness!). To them it is not just another feast, that they vaguely hope they will arrive for.

The Book of Revelation proclaims this message,

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Revelation 19:7-9)

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The Love Of God in Context…Love pt 7

God is Love (I John 4:8)

And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (EXODUS 34:6-7)

God is Love.

Yet, that is not all that the Bible says about God. Scripture also reveals that, God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all.

The only true context for an understanding of the Love of God, is by factoring in the fact that God is Love, but that also Righteous, Holy, Faithful, True and He hates Evil.

The Love of God is grossly misunderstood by this generation, due to notions about Love that come from Humanism, rather than from the scripture themselves, nor from Jesus.

For example, where does the phrase “unconditional Love” come from? One would think it to be the central teaching of the Bible, if you went by popular ‘christian teaching’ which abounds these days.

The term “unconditional love” has not come from the Bible, but from an Atheistic German Psychoanalyst, named Erich Fromm. Yet millions of Christians would define God’s love in terms of it as being ‘unconditional’.

God’s love is definitely not ‘conditioned’ upon our behavior, works, past accomplishments, or personal characteristics. God loves and justifies unworthy and ungodly sinners. There is nothing in us which He sees as desirable, attractive or worthy.

But there are definitely conditions which God has set forth, to those who would receive His love, and be saved. God loved the World, but only those who believe in the Son, will have everlasting life.

There is a context to the message of God’s love, and missing out on that context leads to vast presumptions.

In the above passage from Exodus, we have a very clear revelation of the Character of God, to Moses. Moses, the man who had seen the burning bush, and who had led the people across the Red Sea and seen the mighty World Empire of Egypt brought to her knees by God’s power, had prayed to “see God’s glory”.

 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.  And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. (Exodus 33:7-8)

God told Moses He would “make all of His goodness to pass before Him”. Evidently the glory of God is his Attributes and Perfections. We are told that in the answer to Moses’ prayer, the LORD “proclaimed His name” to Moses.

Among those Attributes are the ones that our modern generation is so familiar with, Mercy, Patience, Lovingkindness,goodness… . But along side of the other stated perfections of God, he proclaims, that He (God) will by no means clear the Guilty...but instead He will certainly visit the iniquities upon the guilty… .

God is Love…God is good…God is merciful and slow to anger… whilst at the same time, God is Righteous, Holy… He will judge sin, iniquity and transgression. He will by no means “clear the guilty”.

How can God be merciful and forgiving and judgmental and righteous at the same time? How do these attributes of God reconcile? How does a loving and merciful God judge Sinners? How can a Righteous and Holy God forgive them? Does He throw out one attribute for the other?

The only reasonable answer to this dilemma, is the cross of Jesus.

There on the cross, the Righteousness of God was revealed. There we see the wrath of God poured out upon sin and evil. On that day, the Justice of God was satisfied, when He punished Jesus, who knew no sin, for us sinners. No one can accuse the Holy God of simply pushing sin under the carpet! Sin has been dealt with!

Yet we can see the mercy and Love of God at the cross of Jesus, when we realize that Jesus died for our sins, He took our place in Judgment and bore the eternal penalty that was ours to bear. “He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Christ…” (2 Cor 5:21)

A righteous God cannot merely pardon sinners as an act of kindness. What about Justice and Righteousness? What about the broken law? Shouldn’t the demands of the Law of God be upheld?

God had to make a Righteous way to forgive us…He had to satisfy both mercy and Truth, the conditions had to be met, thus Jesus had to come and die for us.

One of the Psalms puts it this way,

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (Psalm 85:10)

The Apostle Paul proclaimed

...Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.(Romans 3:25-27)

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God Once Loved the World…Love pt 6

 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ( John 3:16)

Why is it that Jesus, in John 3:16, doesn’t say that “God Loves the World…”, rather, even the English version of the Bible (rightly) speaks of God’s love in the past tense…? “For God so Loved the World…”.

Does God love the World?

Obviously the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and resurrected, is still being offered to the World, so yes it is legitimate to say that God loves the World. Whosoever (in this world) believes on Him, will not perish, but will have “Everlasting Life. What a gift of Love”! What mercy and grace on undeserving sinners and enemies! Of course God loves the World.

What is the point then in referring to the Love of God in the past tense in John 3 ?

The Word “Loved…” is a verb here, Jesus is telling Nicodemus, that “God loved the World…”as a one time action in History.

When did God Love the World? When He sent His monogenes, “only Unique Son” into the World in order to purchase our salvation. That was the time that “God loved the World…”. There will never be another time like it, it was a “once and for all event”, God Loved the World then and there.

You can contrast that “one time act of Love” with the word “Believeth…” in John 3:16. ‘Believeth…’ is also a verb but the Greek tense of that verb is continuous perfect. This is why the word is usually translated in English, “Believeth” or “Believes”. “Whosoever believes on Him…” implies a current, ongoing action.

“…Whosoever goes on believing in Him…” would be a valid rendering of this verse. God only had to “love the World” once, in order to save sinners, but sinners must believe in the gospel and go on believing in it, in order to be saved. When Christ died for sins once and for all, He provided mercy and salvation for whoever in this sinful and cursed world would receive it, to this very day. I would call that “amazing Love”

What are implications of this point?

God’s love for this world was revealed Once, and only in that one act; ie the incarnation and life and death and resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus is the location of any Love God has for the World, and no where else. There will not be anything else, for there can be nothing greater! Only in Jesus and his life, death and sacrifice, can the Love of God be experienced by anyone in this world.

God has no ongoing love relationship with this world. The truth is God hates the World also . He is not impressed with it’s “accomplishments”, nor it’s faux compassion, ‘moral progress, ‘evolution’ , nor even it’s religion. The World hates God, and it also hates Jesus Christ, and would create a Millenium without them.

“The Kings of the earth and their rulers take council together against the LORD and His Messiah…” (Psalm 2)

But inspire of all of that, God has once Loved the World, and that Love is still operative, in Jesus.

This World is under wrath, God’s attitude towards it is uncompromising, the sentence of destruction revealed in the book of Revelation is soon to be executed. The World will not be reformed or even repaired, there is only that one way out…the cross of Jesus is where God has loved the World.

The Love of God revealed in Jesus is a special and unique kind of Love. It is Agape, the Love of the Will and of Action.

The infinitely Holy and Righteous God has not seen anything attractive or desirable, let alone lovable in those of us He has called out of the World.

Rather it was His sheer compassion, and mercy which has compelled him to send His Son into the world, and to seek and to save the rebels who had done nothing but spurn Him. He saw our need and did something about it. Love is seeking someone else’s good. God never needed us, but we needed to be rescued by Him.

Does God Love the World? Of course He does, but only through Calvary does He love the World.

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Love Sums up The Law…

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

I believe that in God’s providence, Love has been my theme of late. It is a serious subject indeed and all of our problems are due to a lack of it, or a failure to live up to Love.

If we would love each other, we would never sin against each other. All of the Law of God, is summed up in this commandment of God, that we should love one another.

There is no disconnect between the Law and Love. Certainly lawlessness is not love. Even the Ten Commandments can be considered a primal teaching of Love. Jesus warned us that because of the increase of “lawlessness” in the last days, the “Love of many would grow cold”. This is a real danger.

What does it mean on a basic level to Love the LORD our God? We should have exclusive and supreme love for Him. To Love God is to love him, as God and Him alone! We should also Love Him as He has revealed himself to be, and not as we would like to imagine him to be…no idols!We should fear and regard Him, “hallow His name” and never take his name in vain. These things are impossible to do unless “the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost”. It is impossible to live a Holy Life without Love.

What does it mean to Love our neighbor (at least as much as we already love ourselves…notice how self love is a given?).

If I love my neighbor, I love his life, and would love and honor his marriage, his property and his good name. I would never resent him for what he has, if I really love him. Love fulfills all of the Will of God, and is the only way to live a pure and holy life. True morality is impossible without Love.

It is because we do not love one another, that we fight, take, seize, insist and demand our way. The Apostle James asked;

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:1-2)

That has always been our problem … a lack of love (other than for ourselves and our own concerns). He is writing to Christians and accusing them of warring and killing each other. Whats going on? Unless we remain in the state of grace which Calvary has brought us into, even Christians can soon degenerate into malice and enmity against anyone that we perceive gets in the way of our desires. This is what James is referring to.

Our sins always amount to a failure to love one another, a failure to seek one another’s good…rather we are too jealous to seek our own “rights” or to fulfill our own desire. Sin is a failure to love.

What came into my life with the gospel? Love. We have in Jesus a revelation of true Love and cannot be the same ever since. God loved us…He sought our good at his expense. There was nothing “lovable” or “desirable” in us. God just loved us, and that Love has and is transforming us.

The revelation of Jesus is a revelation of the Love of God. Paul tells us that it was God who was in Christ.

We have always known what it means to love ourselves and our own people and interests. Jesus told us that sinners “love those who love them…”, it is in their interest to love themselves, their family and tribe and clan and nation to varying degrees.

It was when God became a man and actually came to us, who were his enemies, only then could we begin to truly see what Love looks like. Divine love, Agape, is a love of the will. It is a choice to seek the good and well being of another, regardless of what they are or offer. Love seeks the good of another.

Jesus loves us. The Father loves us, and He sent the Son, to be the Savior of the World.

He knew we were lost and in need of a costly Redemption, which we could not afford, so God himself came to save us, at his own expense.

I couldn’t love God before…when I was under the law and under the threat and penalty of the Holy Law of God. Men are sinners because they hate God. They hate and defy his right to tell them what to do, how to live, to determine what “good and evil” is and his Sovereign power and authority over reality itself. The Mark of a sinner is God hatred. What Jesus did on Calvary brought us out from under the weight of the penalty of the LAW, and put us on God’s side.

All of the Law of God…(and by use of that term, I do not speak in a legalistic sense, but in the sense of the whole “way” of God, the Life of faith and ethics, relationship, truth, and reality) is fulfilled in Love.

What would happen if we focussed on responding to the Love of God revealed in Christ, by Loving God and by seeking the good of those He has put in our life? What would occur if you and I would just devote ourselves to loving God and each other? Would we fulfill the written commands without even trying to? I think we would and I believe that revival would break out, if Christians would return to their first love for God and for one another.

Jesus warned the church in Ephesus, ( a church whose zeal for the truth and for discernment and sound doctrine would put many modern churches to shame), that all of their excellent works would not offset the fact that they had “Left their first love”.

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.( Revelation 2:2-5)

Such a warning is as applicable to us today as it was to the Ephesian church, and we would do well to take Heed…

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The Danger of Self Love… Loving God pt 4

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. ( 2 Timothy 3:1-5)

There is a heresy which has encompassed the entire world in the last 100 years, which comprises as a great a threat to the Truth of the gospel as anything ever seen before in Christian history. I speak of the ‘discipline ‘ of Psychology.

Psychology purports to be the “study of the soul” and thus claims to be a “science”. In fact that is what the word “psychology’ actually means, i.e. the study of the psuche (greek for soul).

The problem with this definition and the discipline which grew out of it in the previous century, is the fact that the Soul of man is not material, it is Spiritual, therefore One can’t “study” the soul as one would ‘study” insects, clouds , rocks or history.

The Human Brain is material and can be studied in the ‘Scientific” method, but not the mind.

The Mind is not the brain, it belongs to the province of Spirituality, and requires revelation from God in order to know it. Abstract realities such as Love, mercy, Justice and Righteousness are not chemical reactions, they are spiritual concepts which require Divine revelation to understand as well.

The reason I bring this up in this series of articles about ‘Loving God’ is because modern western society has been inundated and saturated with this relatively new religion of “psychology”. It’s presuppositions are currently the conventional Wisdom, it has supplanted the curricula of our schools and Universities, and it’s many schools of thought are de facto rivals of the teaching of the Soul which was once the province of the Church.

Psychology has crowded out the traditional Western reliance on the counsel once found in church. Even the Churches for a large part, have succumbed to Psychological approaches to human problems.

It is not my intention to go into detail on this subject. My Point is that at the core of nearly all of the various schools of Psychology, is an emphasis to the point of idolatry, on the SELF.

Having come of age in the 1970s, many of us, all throughout our schooling were bombarded with concepts such as Self actualization, Self esteem, self introduction, self discovery, Self Love, etc etc etc ad nauseam. There was even a popular magazine called Self, and the Government of California completely revamped the state school system around the concept of self esteem!

Genesis tells us that man was “made in the Image of God”, and this infers that the meaning of our life is to seek to know God and to reflect that Image. As one of the Catechisms rightly says ,“Man’s chief end is to know and enjoy God forever”.

The account of what happened in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 is a God given revelation of how Satan was able to manipulate our first parents , turning them away from the Knowledge of God, into an inordinate interest in themselves.

Eve and Adam did not consult God or each other when they transgressed, they were already acting as “gods” in their own rite, deciding for themselves what “good” would be. In the process of reaching for that “better Self” , by plucking the fruit God had commanded them not to eat, they trampled under foot Love for God in the pursuit of self love and self improvement.

The Gospel of Jesus flies in the face of the self idolatry which is what all of humanity is so prone to. Coming back to God through Jesus involves Saying No to Self. The entire Christian journey is a constant self denunciation.

At the beginning of a valid Christian pilgrimage, we are saying no to our Self Righteousness, and admitting we are sinners, worthy of death. What is a baptism, if not a burial?

If we are subject to proper Christian doctrine, We are then constantly challenged to cast aside our “own way” and to follow Jesus, we must not “trust our own heart” we are instead told that our own heart is wicked, desperately deceitful, and that we now must allow the Word to retrain and renew our mind. Furthermore we see that we no longer “live for ourselves” but for Him who gave himself for us. We do not seek to know ourselves, we want to press on to know Jesus, this is our live’s pursuit.

But for almost the hundred years that it has been in existence, Psychology has saturated the church, and infiltrated it’s teaching. This is why Todays church is rife with Mega Churches catering to people’s “felt needs” and promoting Books such as “Your Best Life Now” and conferences on “Inner Healing” and Past regression therapy, self esteem, and a host of other Psychologically related topics.

Subjects such as “unconditional Love” , “positive Confession” and “Healing of memories”, come directly from Psychology and yet almost overnight, became integrated into Christian teaching from the 1970s on, as if they were Biblical concepts. Those parts of the Bible which emphasize self denunciation, such as the depravity of man, the vanity of human Wisdom, and the condemnation of pride, have often been ridiculed and denounced as “worm theology”.

Worship also has become “Man Centered”, in so many churches, and one would be forgiven for mistaking some “worship ” services for Concerts. Even the content of the songs tend to center around the self, rather than the theologically rich, God-centered Songs, Hymns and Spiritual songs of the past.

We must renounce humanism and learn again to Love God, and abase ourselves before Him. What is left of the church, must be centered upon Him! We have to want to Know Him, to learn of his attributes and perfections, to fix our souls on God himself, and on the person of Jesus Christ, for there is no higher subject for us to fix our minds on.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

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We are Shaped By What We Love… Love God Pt 3

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)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. ( I John 2:15)

For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.( 2 Timothy 4:10)

God commands man to Love Him, with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. The fact that He commands it, is proof that Love is not mere emotion. Love is a choice. We are to “Know and believe the LOVE God has towards us…” and in response we are to Love Him. We were actually created to know and to Love God, and when we fell from grace, God purchased us, in order to bring us into that loving response to Him.

Our Creator/Redeemer knows that one of the reasons for the corruption of our souls, is that we love things with all of our being, which are less than God himself. Spiritually, we are a mess, because we love the wrong things, and in the wrong order of importance.

Everyone has a capacity to love people and things. We all have a lot of “loves”. I love my wife, my children, I love my church, music, fellowship, The Bible, literature, freedom and justice…entertainment, Sports, , I could go on and on.

But underneath all of the ‘loves’ of our lives, there is a master Love, in other words a Supreme Love. Whatever we love supremely , we will always go after. We will pursue in the direction of our master Love, no matter what comes. That master Love is like a gyroscope, it will always head in the same direction and nothing will long deter it.

This is why it is important to realize what your Master Love truly is, and to make sure that you have the only true object as your Supreme Love of your life.

What is it that you Love, “With all of your heart, soul mind and strength”? Anything less than loving God, with all of your heart, soul , mind and strength is corrupting to your soul.

One rival to Loving God, the Father, is ‘Love for the World’. If any one Loves the World, He cannot have the “Love of the Father”in Him. Demas forsook Paul, because he “loved this present World”. He had started out Loving God, but eventually the Love of the World crowded out the Love of the Father. This ‘love of the World’ is a huge subject which I will take up a bit later. Suffice it to say, we are warned of it for a reason.

God allows us to be tried in various ways so that we can know, what is in our hearts. It is not uncommon for a person to imagine that God is first in our heart, and that we love him most of all, but circumstances are arranged that force a decision, in order to reveal the truth that is in us.

 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. ( Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

In this example, God shows us that He will allow for the flourishing of false prophets, who are seemingly powerful and accurate. They perform “signs and wonders”and seemingly help people.

However there is a problem. These same Prophets bring the congregation a teaching, which amounts to a distortion of the concept of the True God. The congregation has a hard choice; do they rejoice in the ‘signs’ and follow the wonder working ‘Prophet’, or do they judge the teaching and reject it as an aberration from the Word?

I have written a book about this called Beware the New Prophets, in which I point to an outstanding illustration of this principle.

A “Prophet” emerged in the late 1940s thru the 1960s whose name was William Branham. He was seemingly able to make predictions, to identify complete strangers by name, relate conversations that they had had in their homes, give details of their lives, and then to pray successfully for their healing!

The Pentecostal Movement was so happy to host and to promote Branham, for He would pack Tents and auditoriums, and his signs and wonders filled churches with eager and amazed seekers.

The problem was his teaching. In fact many of the Pentecostals of the day begged Branham to hold meetings, perform signs and wonders, but could he please refrain from teaching?

Why didn’t they want him to teach at gospel meetings? Because his teaching was scary! Branham believed the the doctrine of the Trinity was of the Devil, that Eve had sexual relations with Satan, and that it is a sin for a woman to cut her hair after the fashions of the day. Branham also taught that the Bible, the Great Pyramid in Gaza Egypt, and the Horoscope were all on the same level.

These Spiritual leaders proved that for the most part they loved crowds, power, acclaim, notoriety, and miracles… more than they loved God. They failed the Deuteronomy 13 test.

God allowed that to happen. He knew what was in their hearts, but he wanted them to know (and to repent of their false love).

To this day William Branham is highly regarded as a prophet within much of Pentecostalism, and in the Word of Faith camp of Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and the ‘signs and wonders movement” which has developed out of it.

God wants us to Love Him. Loving God means putting his word above everything else. To Love God is to Love the Word, and to be concerned that it not be distorted and misrepresented. When False teaching doesn’t bother you, as long as the experience is pleasing, you do not really Love the LORD, even if you think you do.

Always and ever, our true love will come to the fore. It will lead us in a direction for good or for evil because we will always follow our greatest love, no matter what.

There are many who Love money, or who love fame, adulation and acceptance, with “all of their hearts and souls and minds and with their strength…”, even if they are self deceived and imagine that they love God that way. Circumstances will arise to ‘prove’ our hearts.

At the bottom of all of these corrupting lesser loves, it usually comes down to the Supreme Love of SELF. This “Self Love”, is our biggest problem, and it is our lifelong task in discipleship, to put “Love of Self” back into it’s place, underneath Love for God and Love for our neighbor.We will discuss this in the next segment.

I do not want to give the impression, that I “love the LORD with all of my heart, soul , mind and strength” in a perfect manner at present. We all fall short, I certainly have not attained holiness in perfection. But our highest ideal and goal should be nothing less than to Love God to the core of our being.

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Loving God Can only Be a Response… Love God pt 2

We love him, because he first loved us. ( I John 4:19)

The World is heading into a dark night. Daniel chapter 8:23 puts it well, we have arrived at , “… the latter time …when the transgressors are come to the full…” . All of us will be put to the test of our faith and love by circumstances and pressures brought to bear, within and without.

I asked the LORD for a teaching to help us prepare for this, and HE gave me a sermon on “Loving God”. I would like to share some of the highlights of what I consider to be an essential element in enduring the night to come. Jesus is LORD.

First of all we must realize that we can only Love God as a response to His love.

We humans do not by nature Love God, rather we hate Him! God hatred is one of the consequences of the corruption the fall of man has wrought into our souls.

“They Hated Me without a cause” saith the LORD in John 15:25.

A good many unregenerate people vainly imagine that they love God even though they don’t know him. Usually this is because we are all spiritual beings, made in the Image of God, and therefore many have an innate desire to be spiritual, to seek their creator, and to respond to Him. This leads millions of sinners into various religions, false ‘gods’ of their own making, and even into watered down versions of Christianity.

But when God reveals Himself and the Righteous demands he makes upon each one of us, our innate God hatred is revealed.

Why do sinners hate God? Because we are supremely selfish, and God’s righteousness causes him to oppose our selfish projects. Consider an infant, screaming for his or her own way, demanding the parents drop all else to immediately gratify his every desire, as if He is the center of the universe. This is the human condition. Men hate God.

Romans 8 tells us that “The Carnal mind is at enmity with God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be…”.

People hate God because they want to be their own center. They also hate Him because we want to be autonomous, we want our way, on our own terms, and we certainly do not want a “Most High” telling us how to live.

People hate God also because he is just so good. His goodness actually shows us how bad we really are! In his goodness God often upends the shortsighted and self seeking designs we lay our for ourselves, and selfish people really resent this.

God’s Holiness is another reason people Hate Him. They resent the idea that there is another being so “other” and “High and lifted up” that to transgress his will on any point is to render themselves liable to a fiery and everlasting punishment.

Finally people hate God because they know deep down in their souls, that God will one day bring us all into account and He has the Power to cast us body, soul and spirit into hell. No one is autonomous, all of us must give account and sinful man deeply resents this, as it is an affront to his pride.

People invent many ‘gods’, but never would they come up with the God of the Bible.

So how does one go from God hatred to Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?

Only the gospel can perform that miracle.

The Gospel is a revelation of what happens when sinful, God hating, fallen men, actually encountered God. Sinners hated Him, and even tortured and killed Him, but he loved them, forgave them and saved them.

I used to gaze at the crucifix in the front of the Catholic church I was raised in, and wonder what it signified. In a way , I knew that He loved us, and was suffering for us in some fashion. What was expected of me? How should I respond ? Was I to suffer also? Was I supposed to hate myself and grovel in penance?

One day I was reading the Bible, in a very sad state of mind, I was in despair over my sinful conditions and sure that I would be damned for my sins, when I happened upon a verse in 2 Corinthians 5:21, and a shaft of light penetrated the gloom,

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Suddenly I saw it in a flash of revelation. Jesus died as a substitute for me, and my sins. He took my place, He bore my sin and shame, and offered himself as a sacrifice to God for me, on the cross. For the first time in my life, I came to understand the LOVE of the savior. Jesus loves me, and I now Love Him.

We never start out Loving God, we are too fallen and depraved to be able to do so. In fact we have to face up to our God Hatred. The Gospel is the revelation of God’s love for us, while we were yet sinners. This is the only true basis of Christian love.

The Apostle Paul put it this way,

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

No wonder we sing with grateful hearts and trembling lips, “Amazing Love, how can it be? That thou my Good, shouldest die for Me?”.

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