Wednesday, May 02, 2007

So What Exactly Is Salvation?

There are three events that stand out in the history of salvation. They are the fall in Eden, the redemption from Egypt and the redemption at the cross. To understand the full meaning of salvation we will look at each of these events and trace the usage of words for salvation throughout the Bible.

Matthew 1:21

"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

Here at the beginning of the New Testament we see why Jesus came. This is Jesus' mission statement. Names were very important in this culture and the name describes His purpose. His people needed salvation from their sins. We must look back to the beginning of the Old Testament to begin to understand what salvation from sins means.

Genesis 2:15-17

Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

There were two trees in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. I believe these trees represent two ways of relating to God. One is bad and the other is good. These ways of relating to God will continue to be the theme throughout the entire salvation history recorded in the Bible.

Notice that it is not called the tree of the knowledge of evil. If we wrote the story today I'm sure that is what we would name it. When Adam ate the fruit of the tree he is said to have fallen. So why is it also called the tree of the knowledge of good?

Genesis 3:20-24

Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"--therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The result of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was that man became like God. How was man like God? Was God ashamed of being naked. Did God sin? No, because he had eaten the fruit, man now knew good and evil just like God. Now in what sense is it bad to know good and evil just like God does? I can only think that it is because man has fallen from a state of innocence regarding good and evil to a state of responsibility regarding good and evil. Before the fall man was dependent on God. After the fall man is responsible before God.

The two trees represent two ways of relating to God. The tree of knowledge of good and evil represents a relationship of performance in order to be pleasing to God. The tree of life represents a relationship of dependence in order to be pleasing to God.

Luke 1:67-79

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant-- as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old-- salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, and FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US; to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Remember that earlier we said that Jesus' mission statement was to save His people from their sins? In this passage we add the words "redemption" and "rescue" to our list of salvation words. But before we look at these new words let's think about what the sin is that the people needed to be saved from. Think back to Adam in the garden. What was his sin? Wasn't it that he wanted to be like God, knowing both good and evil?

Now, the word "redemption" literally means "buying back". It paints the picture of a person being bought back out of slavery. It is also being "rescued" out of slavery. When man ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he fell into a kind of slavery. This was the slavery that comes from the responsibility to perform for God. Mankind lost the freedom of innocence in the garden. Jesus came to redeem, to save, and to rescue us from that slavery and to return us to the freedom we had before the fall.

Also notice that this salvation is by the forgiveness of their sins. The word "forgiveness" literally means "sending away." Once the old slave master was paid off he was sent away forever. The price for our sins has been paid and sin is no longer our master. We have been rescued!

John 3:16-18

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Here we see that the opposite of "saved" is "judged." We are judged by our master. If we are under our master, the Law, then we will be judged guilty. If we are under our master, Jesus, then we will be judged innocent since He has set us free from bondage to the Law.

Do we believe that we have been set free? Does belief set us free or does Jesus?

Acts 15:1-11

Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses." The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? "But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."

The men from Judea claimed that salvation came through observing the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders made it clear that salvation comes through believing the word of the gospel. Peter describes salvation as "cleansing their hearts by faith." I think that Peter is saying that the Law of Moses was a way of cleansing their hearts or consciences through works of obedience. That is, if one keeps the Law then one's heart or conscience will never become dirty. The way of the new covenant is to cleanse our hearts through the work of believing Jesus.

Notice also that salvation is through the grace of the Lord Jesus. This is in contrast to the "yoke" of the Law of Moses which was unbearable.

Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil defiled the heart of man. He fell from innocence. He became ashamed and guilty before God. The Law of Moses heightened the sense of guilt before God as men failed to perfectly obey the Law which they so eagerly accepted from God.

Through belief in Jesus as the new way to purity before God, mankind is restored to the innocent purity of the pre-fall Eden.

Romans 5:8-10

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Here we see that salvation is the result of being justified by His blood and being reconciled to God. Justification and reconciliation are presented as past events that precede a future salvation.

Romans 6:4-7

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

This passage speaks of the future salvation of Romans 5:8-10; "we shall be saved by His life." We are saved by His life as we walk in newness of life. This newness of life is to walk in the likeness of His resurrection. Walking in the likeness of His resurrection is further described as being no longer slaves to sin. Our post-cross salvation is accomplished as our minds transform from the old life of trying to please sin, our old slave master, to the new life of resting in the constant pleasure of our new master, Jesus.

Romans 12:1,2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

"Conformed to this world" refers to the Old Testament system of earning God's pleasure by our actions. We are to renew our minds to an attitude of resting in His pleasure with us. This resting in Christ's work is that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Christ is the sacrifice that is good and acceptable and perfect. As we rest in Him we, too, are good and acceptable and perfect in God's sight.

Romans 10:1-13

Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: "DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, 'WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or 'WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

This passage clearly (to me) implies that the Law of Moses was the way to righteousness under the old covenant. Jesus came to show that the way to be righteous (right with God) was not through obedience to earn His love but rather through believing in His love for us as demonstrated on the cross. Righteousness is not through zeal for God (our obedience), but through the knowledge of God's unconditional love for us. Christ died for us while we were crucifying Him.

Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. Salvation is the end of the law for righteousness. Our salvation is the transforming of our minds from reliance on the law of Moses to reliance on the work of Christ. Salvation is being restored to fellowship with the Father. Our self-reliance (law-reliance) kept us from intimacy with God. Our guilt separated us from God. When our minds are transformed from self-reliance to Christ-reliance our relationship with God is healed and we again have the intimacy of innocence.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

Unearned salvation is foolishness according to the world's wisdom. It is not only foolishness but it is hard for us to accept. We want to do something to earn our friendship with God.

The message that Christ has done everything for us is what saves. Believing that Christ has restored us to friendship with God transforms our minds. This knowledge enables us to rest in God's gentle care and transforms us into a people who are able to love as He has loved us.

2 Timothy 2:3-6

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

Salvation is the knowledge of the truth that Christ has ransomed all from slavery to the Law of sin and death.

1 Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

Salvation is having a good conscience before God. This good conscience is the mind transformed from relying on the Law to gain access to God to relying on Christ. The wall of separation has been ripped open from above and now access is free to all.

John 8:31-36

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free'?" Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. "The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

We were first born as slave to the law of sin and death. In the rebirth we are adopted into a heavenly family where we are free of sin. The son has set us free from the law of sin and death.
Knowledge of the truth of what Jesus has done is what makes us free. Once we realize that Jesus has provided us with unconditional access to the Father we are free from ever being separated again by our sins.

Acts 13:38,39

"Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

This verse indicates that our salvation involves our freedom from the guilt of our sins. Notice that Paul says that "forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you." He does not say forgiveness is available. He does not add any condition. Forgiveness has been accomplished.

The condition is that we believe, but belief does not create forgiveness. We believe that we are forgiven and then our minds are transformed from guilt to innocence and our lives are transformed from striving to rest, from battle to peace.

Romans 6:22

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

Salvation involves a change of masters. We were enslaved to sin and are now enslaved to God. We no longer live to please the law of sin and death. We have been freed from sin and death and are now under God's rule.

Romans 7:3-6

So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Salvation involves being released from the Law. When were we released from the Law? We were released from the Law when Christ died on the cross. We were joined to the Law as in marriage and then we died with Christ on the cross. Now we have been raised with Christ and are joined in marriage to Him.

Romans 8:2-4

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Christ condemned our efforts to keep the Law in order to be pleasing to God. This passage is referring back to Adam's fall from grace (the tree of life) and into Law (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Our salvation is being released from the slavery of trying to earn God's favor through the flesh and being given the freedom to enjoy God's constant presence.

Galatians 5:1-6

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

Salvation is being set free from obligation to the Law and standing firm in the freedom of grace.

Hebrews 2:14,15

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Fear of being separated from God gave the Law its power to enslave us. Salvation is resting in fellowship with God.

John 15:1-3

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

Salvation also involves cleansing. The disciples were clean because of the words which Jesus spoke to them. How can words make one clean? What words were these that Jesus had spoken? It seems reasonable that they would be words found in the immediate context. Preferrably they would be found in the preceeding verses and in the following verses.

Jesus' words are found sandwiched between John 14:21

"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."

and John 15:9,10

"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

The words that cleanse are "The Father loves you." The disciples had moved beyond the guilt produced by the futility of obedience to the Law of Moses and moved into the innocence produced by Christ's commandment to believe in his work.

Acts 15:7-9

After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. "And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.

Peter summarizes salvation as "cleansing their hearts by faith." Hearts is a metaphor for minds or, more specifically, consciences. Salvation is having a conscience freed from guilt before God.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

God's word that He loves us unconditionally cleanses our consciences and restores us to the state of innocence where Adam was "holy and blameless" before God.

Hebrews 9:13,14

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Our consciences are cleansed from the guilt resulting from trying to obey the Law of Moses. Works of the Law are dead because they are powerless to produce life or to earn God's love. The problem is not with the Law itself but with our inability to keep it. The Law came into play to convince us of our inability so that we would rely on a champion to keep the Law in our place.

Hebrews 10:1,2

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?

This cleansing removes the guilt from our minds so that we are no longer even conscious of sins.

Hebrews 10:19-22

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

An evil conscience is one that is enslaved to the guilt of the Law of Moses.

Galatians 1:3,4

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

Salvation involves rescue from the Law of Moses. The age of the Law was still present when Paul wrote to the Galatians. It was replaced by the age of grace when Jerusalem and it's temple were destroyed in 70ad.

Colossians 1:13,14

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The age of Law is also referred to the domain of darkness because the Law was a forshadow of the grace to come. Darkness refers to the shadowy nature of the Law. Christ brought to light the unconditional love of God which was darkened by the conditional nature of the Law.

John 1:13

who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Salvation involves a new birth. When Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he fell from grace and life to law and death. Belief in Christ raises us up from the death of Adam to life in Christ. That is the rebirth. We are not reborn by following the Law. That is by blood or the will of the flesh or the will of man. We are reborn by following Christ and believing in Him. We are reborn by the work of God.

John 3:3-8

Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

We describe salvation as being "born again". "Born again" is actually a translation of born from above. It does, of course, mean born again but the emphasis is on the nature of the new birth. We are born from above. It is a spiritual rebirth. It is a heavenly rebirth. It is a rebirth by the Spirit who comes down from heaven. It is a rebirth from the kingdom of Israel to the kingdom of heaven.

Salvation is a rebirth from the kingdom of the Law to the kingdom of the Spirit. We are born again into a new family with a new relationship to the Father. We no longer need to earn acceptance. Acceptance is guaranteed in the Son.

Galatians 4:1-7

Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

We were all born under the Law since we were descended from Adam. Now we have died with Christ and have been reborn under His grace. Now God is our Father instead of Adam.

Galatians 4:21-29

Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. For it is written, "REJOICE, BARREN WOMAN WHO DOES NOT BEAR; BREAK FORTH AND SHOUT, YOU WHO ARE NOT IN LABOR; FOR MORE NUMEROUS ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND." And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.

The first birth is according to the flesh. That is, born into a world or struggling in the flesh to keep the Law in order to please God. The second birth is according to the promise or according to the Spirit. The Spirit and the promise are the same thing. We are born according to the word of God that we are unconditionally loved by Him.

1 Peter 1:23

for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

Peter says that we are born again through the word of God. This word is the promise and Spirit which tell us that we are unconditionally loved by God. Salvation is resting in this love.

1 John 5:1-4

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.

We are born again when we believe the promise, the Spirit, and the word of God that we are loved unconditionally.


At 8:21 AM, Anonymous mitchg said...

1 John 5:1-4

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

But arent the commandments burdensome? If we are under a yoke,which represents the law, does'nt that imply burden?

This verse confuses me. Can you add any clarity?

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Hey Mitchg!

Thanks for your comment. I wonder if John was referring to the commandments of Moses or the commandments of Jesus. I agree that Moses was burdensome.

Jesus' yoke is easy though. I think that all that John and Jesus were concerned with was loving God and loving our neighbors.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous mitchg said...

Thanks for the insight Bill. However, allow me to posit another thought regarding loving your neighbor... is it possible to "love' someone you don't know well, if at all? What if your neighbor is a royal pain in the a#@?

In all seriousness, how can you truly love those around you, when in may ways that may be next to impossible?

And as an aside, isn't it sometimes difficult to love God?

At 10:43 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Let me answer your second question first please. I think it's easy to love God. How could you not love someone so lovable? He loves us so much He gives up His own Son for us. He works everything that happens in our lives for our good. I think that the more you get to know God the more you love Him

Loving your neighbor is nothing more than loving God. Your neighbor is either God in disguise or else someone God has brought into your life as part of working everything together for your good.

I think that the reason it's hard to love sometimes is because we miss the big picture. Our neighbor isn't a pain. Our neighbor is there to bring us closer to knowing God. As we love the unlovable, we come to appreciate God's love for us. ;)


Post a Comment

<< Home