This week we are going to look at how LOVE is the ultimate EFFECT of Right and Just. (I will add to this post every weekday.)
This discussion will involve the Reward Model and the Salvation Model.
The Reward Model is based on justice. Justice will equal everything out eventually. The Reward Model guides ALL our interactions with other people. Last week we ended the discussion with several scriptures showing LOVE is quantitative...that it followed the Reward Model.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Notice, the person gives EVERYTHING he has AND there is NO WAY for him to get it back. This would be the ultimate value that could be obtained according to the Reward Model...according to Justice.
EVERY OTHER instance follows:
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).
We saw this means give to evil AND don't fight it. This is the SAME as "love your enemies". The ONLY way to overcome evil is with LOVE.
LOVE is the RIGHT way to handle EVERY situtation.
Handling a situation with ANYTHING LESS than LOVE will cost you.
TRUTH IN LOVE
When we are confronted with unjust behavior, the Reward Model says the best way to receive a Long Term value is to forgive and forget. The quicker you forgive and move on, the greater the spiritual value you will retain. Does this mean we OUGHT never confront unjust behavior? Actually, we OUGHT to, but only if we can do it in love.
There are two ways we can confront unjust behavior. The most common way is to retaliate. Even if what we are saying is a fact, if we do it in order to feel better about ourselves, then we are gaining the value back. ANY action that results in us receiving an immediate short-term value is REALLY some form of retaliation.
The less common way to address unjust behavior is in LOVE. This means we confrom the unjust behavior with the attitude we are trying to help the people who are behaving unjustly. In essence, we are giving them a value. If they don't want to hear it or don't want to agree with us, then we respond according to the Reward Model: we quickly forgive and move on with our lives without resentment towards the unjust people.
If our attitude was TRULY "in love", we would not care whether we go a value back from the person we were helping.
If we can't approach this person with this heart attitude, or more likely, if we can't walk away from this person after they've refused to hear us, then it is best in the Long Term for us to avoid the confrontation and follow the Reward Model.
Furthermore, we OUGHT to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Recall, in the TRUTH post, we saw that speaking truth is more demanding than speaking facts. Now we see the Bible makes a further demand. How do we speak the truth "in love"?
One example: a congregation member could tell their pastor that people think another preacher is a better speaker. This may be a fact. It is ONLY truth if it can be used to create something of value in the Long Term. Even if this were a truth, how would it be spoken "in love"?
If the member told the pastor with an attitude he was giving the pastor a value, then this is "in love". If it was spoken in order to make the member feel better or to make the pastor feel bad, it was not spoken "in love".
GOD IS LOVE
Everything Jesus said concerned either the Salvation Model or the Reward Model. He either spoke of following grace to get the same ultimate value (salvation) as everyone else or doing works to use justice to accumulate more or less reward than everyone else. Most books focus on one model and ignore the scriptures describing the other.
Some people try to say Salvation covers BOTH models.
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 6:1)
If someone wants to equate "reward" with salvation, then Jesus said we LOSE our salvation if we give before others in order to been seen of them!
Clearly, this is NOT talking about salvation. This is talking about a completely separate concept: rewards. Making "rewards" scriptures a condition of salvation is known as "works"...as in, we can be saved by works. There are two completely different models at work: Reward and Salvation.
Jesus summed it up when he said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).
The first commandment covers the Salvation Model. The second covers the Reward Model. Notice, both are made perfect in love.
Giving a value and not expecting a return from that person goes against our nature. The ONLY way we can act in love is to act apart from our nature. This ONLY comes from God and occurs through GRACE. Grace and love are the "how" and the "what" to achieve perfection.
HOW: We love by letting God work through us.
WHAT: When we give a value and don't expect ANYTHING back, we CANNOT sin AND we will eventually receive the maximum profitability from that situation (perfection).
This completes the Model for God!
ALL of God's attributes have been shown to be derived from Right and Just, with LOVE being the ULTIMATE EFFECT! That is why the Bible says, "God is love" (I John 4:8,16). We will trace these steps more clearly on Thursday. However, this conclusion leads to an interesting question:
God loves EVERYONE.
(John Piper and other sovereignty people say God ONLY loves those He pre-chose to be saved.)
LOVE is unconditional.
(Again, the sovereignty people quote this to prove God CAN'T take back His love and, consequently, your salvation. In fact, they say love is causeless...God loves BECAUSE He loves! We are seeing that LOVE is ACTUALLY the ultimate EFFECT and on Thursday we will see that there are many CAUSES that come before LOVE. Again, we will see on Thursday that it is OUR FAULT when we aren't saved...not God's.)
If God IS love, how can God HATE?
(Isn't this a contradiction?)
The discussion about HATE is a perfect opportunity to practice removing contradictions.
Remember, contradictions don't exist; conflicts exist.
Contradictions appear due to one or more faulty assumptions.
What is the assumption?
Assumption: HATE is the opposite of LOVE.
IF HATE is the opposite of LOVE, then it is impossible for God to HATE, because GOD IS LOVE.
So, HATE must NOT be the opposite of LOVE when it is used in the Bible. What is the non-contradictory definition of HATE?
HATE in Greek is "miseo" 3404 from a primary root "misos"
MISEO means "to love less".
WOW! Now we see the importance of a non-contradictory definition of LOVE as well as realizing LOVE is quantitative.
John Piper and the sovereignty crowd loves to quote how God LOVED Jacob, but Esau He HATED. This means God loved Esau less than Jacob, NOT that God did not LOVE Esau...God is LOVE.
In fact, here is a Bible passage talking about this concept AND IT INVOLVES JACOB!
"And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren." (Genesis 29:30-31)
Jacob loved Leah less than Rachel AND God called this HATE.
"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)
WOW! This is a condition of being Jesus' disciple! This verse includes wife and children! Clearly, this means to love less...and more specifically, to love less than God (whom we are to love with ALL our heart, mind, and soul).
Jesus also said:
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24)
Now you can see that Jesus ISN'T saying that you will be repulsed by money if you LOVE God. He's saying that in EVERY situation, there is one option you will love more and one option you will love less (hate).
This verse goes further and equates HATE with despising. What is the non-contradictory definition of "despise"?
Despise is kataphroneo which means "to think against"
Again, this has NOTHING to do with emotions! This means you will be for one option (LOVE) and love the other less (HATE) to the point you will think against it because you have to think for the other option. This is making LOVE a choice...to actively choose to think for!
The MOST important conclusion from this discussion of HATE is that HATE is NOT the worst thing!
God hates me compared to His love for Jesus.
Preachers and teachers who focus on the verses indicating what God HATES are teaching a contradictory doctrine. God is LOVE, so He does NOT "hate" the way our culture and traditions mean. He just LOVES those things LESS.
What is the WORST thing?
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16)
LUKEWARM is the WORST thing!!!!
God would rather you be cold or hot. God would rather you blatantly state what you believe and go all out...EVEN if you are wrong.
Being LUKEWARM results in God removing you from His presence!
Being LUKEWARM results in God removing you from the site of creation: God's mouth.
People who won't: state their beliefs, follow through on their beliefs, live their beliefs, come to conclusions on explaining their beliefs, explain why they don't agree with your beliefs, etc. are in the MOST trouble with God!
HATE is NOT the worst thing...LUKEWARM is the worst thing!
Thursday we will bring this together by looking at the connection between LOVE and Salvation...
LOVE AND SALVATION
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (I Timothy 2:3-4)
God's Will is for ALL to be saved AND for ALL to come unto the knowledge of the truth...God wants ALL to UNDERSTAND. God is NOT preventing people from understanding. It is NOT God's fault when people don't understand. He has given us access to everything we need. God LOVES EVERYONE.
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)
Last week a friend gave me a CD by a preacher in NYC who used this verse to say that people who aren't saved weren't drawn by God. This means that once God draws someone, there is NOTHING that person can do about it...they HAVE to accept God. Then later in the sermon, he tells the listener that if they feel a drawing the listener HAS to take the step to receive it. WHY? If God is drawing me, I don't have to do ANYTHING...in fact, I CAN'T resist it!
The non-contradictory interpretation of this verse is that God is drawing EVERYONE. Jesus is stating that the people who accept God did so BECAUSE (causality alert!) God FIRST drew them. Jesus is right. However, Jesus could also say everyone who doesn't come to Him did so by choosing to ignore God's drawing them.
The bottomline is: Whose fault is it that ALL men aren't saved?
It is either our fault or God's fault.
To say, "God determines it, BUT it's not His fault and we just don't understand it" is contradictory. It is contradictory to God's Will being ALL are saved. It's contradictory to God's Will being ALL understand. This is just one reason why God CAN'T be wrong and unjust...He provides everything AND it is OUR fault when we fall short.
To say God has two OPPOSING wills AND God can DO ANYTHING is non-sensical. God cannot make two contradictory wills occur. This is LUKEWARM to say God can do ANYTHING EXCEPT His number one Will because He chooses to do ANOTHER Will more than His first Will. This is saying there is something God can't do. (I agree God cannot be wrong and unjust, but this group wants to say God can overcome your will AND is unable to bring about His Will. It is one or the other.)
We can oppose God's Will.
God DOESN'T know FOR SURE what will happen UNTIL IT HAPPENS.
This group is trying to make it God's responsibility WITHOUT making it His fault. If it is God's decision who gets saved THEN it is ALSO God's fault who didn't get saved. The ONLY way around this is to suspend the four principles: non-contradiction, contrastive thinking, causality, and growth. Yet these same people use these four principles to PROVE their other points.
Regardless of the rationalization, this philosophy makes it God's fault and not ours. It justifies us instead of God. Worse, it is LUKEWARM because it doesn't have the guts to state: It is God's fault. Instead it says it looks like God's fault but it really isn't AND it definitely isn't our fault because THAT would be thinking too highly of ourselves. Talk about LUKEWARM!
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
The ONLY thing missing from this list is OURSELVES. We can choose to separate ourselves from the love of God and end up in the lake of fire...we can choose not to have salvation.
The preacher in NYC tries to state that God ONLY loves those who He pre-determined were saved. So, this would mean Christ ONLY died for those God pre-determined were saved.
Love and salvation are intimately connected. The "God is love" passage actually gives this quote twice because John is explaining the connection. Here is the passage with commentary in parentheses:
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
(Powerful statement stated contrastively. John is saying he knows for sure a person doesn't know God if they don't love. It kind of makes it important to know the non-contradictory definition of LOVE.)
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
(God providing a way of salvation is PROOF of God's love. God gave a value to ALL and doesn't require us to pay back. Notice, we didn't initiate this giving...we didn't love God...God loved us FIRST. Notice also, "live through him" is mentioned.)
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
(Commandment #2 is a result of God first loving us.)
"No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
(This passage alludes to faith because it is a belief in something we can't see. John is saying we can increase others' faith in God by demonstrating a tangible effect: loving one another. This is a choice we make! We choose to let God's love be perfected.)
"Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."
(Again, faith is being alluded to this time it is our faith. Also, there is a choice in these verses...to testify.)
"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."
(John again brings up an effect that is a choice. You choose to make this confession. We know this is a confession unto salvation. John started by showing how love and knowing God are connected. Now he has worked his way to showing how salvation and knowing God are connected.)
"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (I John 4:8-16)
John finishes with a powerful conclusion.
We cannot love without God!
LOVE goes against our flesh. Our flesh wants to even out justice NOW. Our flesh doesn't want to give. If our flesh gives, it wants to receive as soon as possible, if not before we give.
What would make our society perfect? LOVE
If EVERYONE focused on giving and didn't expect ANYTHING in return, this would be paradise.
Why is the world such a mess? Lack of LOVE
What is the ONLY way we can love? Choose to let God love through you.
Are there people who REALLY think God DOESN'T love EVERYONE...AND is also justified in condemning the world when He is the one who intentionally holds back His love?
Be very careful what you teach to people about God's love. This is the most crucial doctrine and I don't believe God is slack in dealing with people who misrepresent His Nature.
On Friday we will look at the two causes of LOVE.
THE TWO CAUSES OF LOVE
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; And to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; And to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (II Peter 1:5-11)
First of all there is a progression with charity (agape) being the perfection of the person...the ultimate effect. Notice the steps it goes through. Faith is first. To this faith that God gives us, WE OUGHT to add virtue...also referred to as excellence and valor. This is commitment to finish the progression.
Next we add knowledge...information. Information can throw people off if it doesn't immediately make sense...that is why we need valor.
Temperance means self control. We need to be in control of our self...this process is involving US to high degree. It doesn't just happen. It is based on the will of the individual.
Patience is having a good attitude while you are waiting. Patience ISN'T the waiting...you are going to wait whether you have a good attitude or not. Patience is HOW you wait. Self control is absolutely necessary if we are responsible for demonstrating patience.
Godliness is also called piety. It is being Right and Just. You would think this would be the ultimate effect of this progression, but notice what comes out of being like God...
Brotherly kindness is "philadelphia"...also known as brotherly love. This is love for the believers. Being like God results in the second commandment towards the people who OUGHT to be easiest to LOVE...the believers.
Finally, the ultimate EFFECT is charity (agape) to everyone! This is the second commandment!
There are two causes to love: right and just.
LOVE is the right way to deal with everyone. It ALWAYS results in profitability, because if you give and don't expect a return then JUSTICE gives you a reward.
LOVE is also the proper response to LOVE! When God LOVES us, the moral thing to do is give without expecting a return. Why? JUSTICE! We are giving back, otherwise, we are behaving like God's enemy...the person who is loved and doesn't give back. What is the result of LOVE that begins in justice? Righteousness!
LOVE that is an effect of RIGHT results in REWARD because of JUST.
LOVE that is an effect of JUST results in SALVATION because of RIGHT.
The first LOVE is the second commandment.
The second LOVE is the first commandment.
When God LOVES us, our response is:
"Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." (John 8:42)
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (John 13:34)
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
"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." (John 14:23)
"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." (John 15:10)
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
The way we prove we love God is to keep his commands...
"For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:" (Hebrews 8:10)
Jesus' commands being in our minds and hearts is GRACE!
And salvation is obtained by grace through faith.
There is one more way the FIRST and SECOND commandments are related:
The reason Jesus gave TWO commandments in answer to a question asking for the greatest (ONE) commandment is because it is ONE commandment. The FIRST commandment is the CAUSE and the SECOND commandment is the EFFECT. You can't have CAUSES without EFFECTS. Loving God will result in you loving your neighbor. Loving God will result in you doing His commands to love others!
Next week, we will look at what it means to say, "I love you".