There are some things I just can’t grasp. One thing that I just can’t grasp or might not agree with is Leron Shultzs’ idea that we cannot analogize God. I see his point to a degree, yet the Bible is full of “God is like a…” statements. Yet, God does not have a beak or wings and Jesus is not a literal lamb… and Peter as dense as he could be sometimes was not a literal rock. So if one takes analogies to their extreme results… they will fall very short. Though I do like his idea of God as “Being in relationship.”
Now, one area I have thought about since High School was the concept of opposites. I had a teacher that asked the question one time, “What is the opposite of love?” we all stated “hate” just like you probably just did. Yet, he pointed out that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy or the lack of emotion.
The opposite of hate is not love, the opposite of sorrow is not joy but all being emotions, are opposite to apathy.
Now, I am not sure if that helps me or hurts me as far as theology.
Yet let’s look at something in scripture called the Higher Law of Love.
1 John 4:16b “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
God dwells in the emotion of love. He calls us to live in those attributes that are of love. Grace itself can be best understood as the emotion God has for us, or knowing that God loves us.
Many people are quick to state that we are to “obey God” or it’s variation, that we are to “obey God’s Law”. Yet miss that to obey as they teach is actually “works”. For example, if you read this article you will note the author quotes verses on “He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching” yet misses that we cannot be obedient, for if we could, then we could obey the Law and would not have needed Jesus to die on the cross for the author only has half the teaching here… which is dangerous if one claims to be a teacher to only give half the teaching that one might mislead others down “works” salvation instead of total dependency on Christ Jesus for salvation. Though Jesus states “He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching” we must recognize a few things…
Jesus is talking to Judas who had his own agenda. Jesus knew Judas would betray him, yet, still gave Judas all the chances to turn. Jesus is stating that Judas to be filled with the Spirit of Truth by the Father because Judas believes on Jesus. Yet, most importantly one must understand what it was that Jesus “commanded” us to be obedient to. Here is what the bible teaches as to what the commands we are to be obedient to.
1 John 3: 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 4:21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Galatians 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
Note that some seem to teach that we are still under the Mosaic law, while the bible teaches quite the opposite for Believers in Jesus.
Again there is more to obedience that so many miss, and that we as mere men, have no obedience in and of ourselves. Romans 5: 19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
Though many quickly accept that we have no righteousness except Jesus as well as holiness of our own outside of the Holiness of Christ all imputed to us, for some reason many still believe wrongly that they have the ability to be obedient on and in their own power, or worse that they are “helped” by the Holy Spirit to be obedient. Now, there is some merit to the last one, yet we must realize that yet we must keep it in the biblical perspective. In a book by Chuck Smith “Charisma Versus Charismania” Chuck gives an example of lifting a table. We are on one side while God is on the other side and we lift and God helps. That is a terrible example… sorry to be so blunt.
The truth is any “works” we do will be tainted, yet the works God does are always good and perfect. So, if God is helping us God is defeating His own good and perfect will. Yet, if we understand that God lifts the table and we may look like we are lifting it, we are to only give God the glory in what He is doing by lifting the table. We are to be no less dependant on God than Jesus was Himself. In His own words he states in John 5: 19 “Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
Again if we look at Romans 5:19 we will notice that “through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners”. This many readily accept and have not issue with, yet, when we get to the second half many seem to balk at the very idea they cannot be obedient! They seem to hold to that our righteousness comes from our own obedience yet we read, “so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous”. It is from the obedience of the one man (Jesus) that we are made righteous. In Hebrews 5 we read, “8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Jesus learned obedience Philippians 2: 5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Again we see that Jesus was obedient even unto death.
The only obedience we can give is the obedience to Love God and one another. Yet, even that is with the understanding that Love is not generated from us, but is a response to what God has already done. That God loved us first, 1 John 4:10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Since we have responded to the love of God, then we receive the Holy Spirit. God is love and if we have responded then God lives in us, (1 John 4:12)
Once one grasps that truth, then we can allow God to work in us and through us. The sign in that this is happening in us is how we treat others. God does not care if you “repent” to Him, if you have harmed someone, yet do nothing to bring reconciliation. If you do not have reconciliation in your heart, which is driven by the love of God, then whatever you do is really worthless no matter how good one can teach.