The Law of Love

Law of LoveDuring our last meeting Elaine asked, “Why focus on Christ’s commandments?”  We discussed what some refer to as the Great Commission.  We also discussed James writings regarding the “Law of Liberty”.  Adding to this, here is a review of John 14.  John 14:15 to 26 provides insight regarding the roles of Christ’s commandments and the Holy Spirit in producing love.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.   I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.  John 14:15 to 17 NASB

When I first read this passage, “another Helper” was brought to my attention.  The first helper must be Christ’s commandments.  The other Helper is the Holy Spirit.  Both Christ’s commandments and the Holy Spirit help us learn, grow and manifest God like love.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.  In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  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.” John 14:18 to 21 NASB

Hear we see the ability to advance in the knowledge of God.  If we keep Christ’s commandments we are meeting part of the love objective.  We love God.  We also have the promise that if we love God, Christ will disclose Himself to us. 

Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.  “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  John 14:22 to 26 NASB

In these verses, John discusses how God will disclose Himself to us.  The Holy Spirit will teach us.  A promise I commonly rely on in times of trouble is provided at 1 Corinthians 2:15.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.  But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.  1 Corinthians 2:14 & 15 NASB

Here Paul re-enforces what John wrote.  Understanding comes by the Holy Spirit.

By our nature we tend to think that law must be binding or restrictive.  While Christ’s commandments appear legal they are not like man’s laws.  They are structured to provide liberty.  To help free us from sin, to help us be spiritual, and to help us love God and to love others.

Next time we meet, I would like to discuss application of Christ’s commandments with respect to manifesting the love of God.  I would like to discuss Christ as our love example.

… but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.  John 14:31a NASB

 

 

Life Principles

roseTo ensure correct application of the Scriptures, it is important to differentiate between God’s Commandments and God’s Guidance or God’s Life Principles.

Believers are often told to obey governing authority, for example:

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.  Romans 13:1 & 2 NASB

Yet we have examples of believers correctly disobeying governing authority, such as:

You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe and all kinds of music, is to fall down and worship the golden image.  But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.  There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”  Daniel 3:10 to 12 NASB

It’s a life principle to obey authority.  It is a commandment not to worship idols.  Disobeying authority should never be taken lightly, whether the authority is our parents, our bosses, law enforcement or our government.  However, when such authority requires that we sin, disobedience is required.

If we continue to read Daniel we will see that Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego did not rebel against the King’s decree to be thrown into the fire.  They only refused to sin.  They only refused to worship the idol.

Today sin is disobeying Christ’s Commandments.  In Daniel’s day sin was disobeying the Law of Moses.  Discerning between Christ’s Commandments and the Life Principles taught in Scripture will help us maintain stability in our Christian Life.  Christ’s Commandments are absolutes.  Life Principles are strong guidance that should be followed unless application causes us to sin.

Why Does God Allow Evil?

IMG_0312Here is a question I received from Elaine and Yuting.

Hey Guy Lee,

At first God was very happy with man, but in Genesis 6 God repented that he made man because mankind became so evil.  But Noah found grace in the eyes of God.  In this it seems that God had been defeated a little, having to destroy every beast and human off the face of the earth.  I can’t understand how God could be defeated even a little bit?  He is all-powerful, all knowing, and omniscient.  Couldn’t He have stopped it or caused something to happen before mankind became so corrupt?

Yuting’s original question was something like this:

She asked why we are being tested in this life because of Adam and Eve’s wrong even though we didn’t do it.  Why punish a child for a parent’s wrongdoing?  And so she said it seems like a game, that some people lose and some people win and she wonders if it is some sort of game since all this suffering could be stopped if God didn’t allow Satan to make man fall in the very beginning.  Now we are suffering because of this and some people will die and go to the eternal lake of fire because Satan was allowed to tempt man to fall.

So I guess she wanted to know why go through all this process and hurt us?  Why couldn’t God dealt with Satan and eliminated him instead of watching man fall?

 Thanks,

 Elaine

2013-07-24 13.24.21-4My response.

 

Dear Elaine & Yuting,

There is a lot to discuss next time we meet.  I may not fully address every question you raise, but I will attempt to address the underlying issues.  The core question typically goes like this, “Why does God allow evil things to happen?”  There are a few errors in the premise.  I’ll start with the errors.

We are born spiritually dead because of Adam’s (not Eve’s) sin.  Eve was deceived.  Adam knew what he was doing.  We are not condemned to the eternal Lake of Fire because of Adam’s sin.  We are condemned because we do not believe in Jesus Christ.  If a child dies before reaching the age of accountability they get a free pass (see story of David and Bathsheba and their first born who died just after birth.  David knew he would meet the child in heaven).

Should God of made man without the ability to choose evil? Some believe if God made man without free will, our life experience would be greatly diminished.  We would be like robots or computers, simply programed to do what we are told to do.  I believe that our ability to understand God’s love and our ability to love others would be limited if evil never came into existence.  In other words, God allows evil so we would learn about more fully about love.

Theologians discuss “God’s Permissible Will”.  This is what God allows to happen.  God is never the author of evil.  God is never less than in full control or less then fully able to stop evil.  God allows evil to exist, for a short time.  God permits it; this is His permissible will.

God’s ultimate objective is to establish a full and perfect creation.  In the beginning God made a perfect creation, but it was not full.  Man and woman were commanded to be fruitful and multiply.  Man’s obedience to this commandment is needed to fill creation.

I don’t like speculation, but should God have stopped Satan before he deceived Eve would it be reasonable to expect that some other angel or some person would never choose against God later?  I’m guessing, but if God stopped Satan there would have likely been more who choose against God over time.  God would likely be in a constant mode of stopping one after the other who, like Satan, initiate sin.

What God is doing is allowing evil to become so evil, that those who choice for God’s will never, ever, want to return to evil (which is anything outside of God’s good and perfect will).  God’s purpose is to establish a prefect and full eternal creation.  This purpose can only be achieved by the full removal of sin and evil.  So rather than battle and restrain evil over and over again at the initial level, God is allowing, for a short time, evil to run its full course.

And in the end, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

I hope this helps you think about this subject more fully.  I look forward to discussing this and the questions I didn’t cover next time we meet.

God bless,

Guy


Naghmeh Abedini – Liberty University Convocation

On September 16, 2013 at Convocation, North America’s largest weekly gathering of Christian students, Naghmeh Abedini spoke to students.  Naghmeh Abedini is the wife of Saeed Abedini, an Irani American Christian pastor currently imprisoned in Iran.

Blessed is a man (or woman) who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he (or she) will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  James 1:13 NASB

Why Focus on Learning Christ’s Commandments?

2013-09-15 Blog - 01 Photo

But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.  When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:16 to 20 NASB

Here is one of the last instructions Christ gives before His ascension to the Right Hand of God the Father.  Jesus first tells His disciples that he has been given sovereignty of creation (that is the heavens and earth).  Next Jesus commands His disciples to take three actions:

  1. Go and make disciples of all the nations,
  2. Baptize new disciples in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and
  3. Teach new disciples all of His commandments.

Guy’s Good News addresses the first two actions.  It is my prayer that the translation bar will help share The Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who cannot read English.  The rest of this web site is focused on the third action, to teach Christ’s Commandments.  When you come to understand that the writers of the New Testament were also focused on obeying this instruction, your understanding of Scriptures will increase.

There are two principles that can help increase your understanding of New Testament Scriptures:

  • Consider the Scriptures in chronological order.  First Christ taught in person as documented in the four Gospels.  Next is the Book of Acts takes us through the early days of the Church.  The first set of new instructions, after Christ’s ascension, is James.  James provides foundational information regarding the roll of Christ’s Commandments (called the Law of Liberty) and Spiritual growth (which is gained through testing). 
  • All the Epistles (Books after the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) build on the Commandments taught by Christ and recorded in Gospels.  The Epistles explain and enhance Christ’s Commandments.  The Epistles are never in conflict or take away from Christ’s Commandments.

The role of Christ’s Commandments is to identify sin.  The role of the Holy Spirit and our new spiritual birth is to overcome sin.  When we are under the control of the spirit, we will obey Christ’s Commandments.  God the Son is never in conflict with God the Holy Spirit.

Translate »