There is a age-old lie sweeping the country and churches today. That the message of the Gospel is love. You won't find it in the Bible. As a matter of fact you will hardly find the love of God in the Bible at all. Genesis: No. Exodus: 1 verse. Leviticus: No. Numbers: No. Deuteronomy: 1 paragraph. Joshua: No. Judges: No. Psalm: some. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel have 1 verse each. And Hosea is the only one of the minor prophets that speaks of the love of God. And I know what you are thinking. The New Testament! It's full of the love of God! Neither Matthew, Mark, or Luke make mention of the love of God. Acts, which describes the efforts of the early church makes no mention of the love of God. Romans has 1 verse. The epistles say very little of the love of God. And Revelations, which literally means: The unveiling of Jesus Christ doesn't say a word about it. As everyone know John does, the famous verse, "For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son." But, we will get back to that in a minute. Out of the 35,000 verses in the Bible only 1,000 speak of the love of God. Do the math that is only 2.85%. And every time the Bible does talk about the love of God it is always agape love.
It is sad that we only have one word in the English language for love. There are four used in the original language of the Bible.
Epetume(not sure on the spelling there)- The love of Addiction, lust
Eros- The love of Attraction, sensual love
Phila-The love of Affection, Brotherly love
Agape- The love of Action, Pity, compassion. Sees a need and meets it.
Agape love is the only kind of love attributed to God in the Bible. "God so Agaped the world that He sent his only son." He acted upon it. Even in John though, Jesus never talked about the love of God in public, only among His disciples. It was a precious thing to Him. That is why He says, "Do not throw your pearls to pigs".
The root of the problem is that we have overused the word like so many others. God is love, God is good. When a man said to Jesus, "Good teacher." he replied, "Why do you call me good, only God is good." But to day we say, "It's a good day." , "My lunch was good.", or, "Good dog." Good isn't okay, or mediocre it means perfect, complete. When God finished His creation He said, "It is good." and about us, "Very good." The best He had ever done. The pinnacle of creation.
But God is also righteous without canceling out the others. And because He is righteous, everything He does is righteous. Whatever you think is wrong, if He did it, it is right. This is a very hard concept for some in the face of terrible times: disaster, destruction, death. But as a righteous God he must also punish. His justice requires it. First He will punish every evil deed, word, and thought. And then He will banish it. This is the good news. God is bringing a universe with no evil and no temptation. It's promised, which He is also obligated to otherwise He would be a liar. He made us good, but we refused. We said we want to be kings, not subjects. We want to be landlords, not tenants. He made us very good, but we choose self-righteousness. And, "Our righteousness is used menstrual rags before the Lord." that is what it means literally.
The Gospel is an offer of righteousness. This is what the second coming and the New Heaven and the New Earth are about, and invitation to be remade into a righteous being once more. And it is a cheap gospel that is going around that says all you have to be saved is pray a sinner's prayer and be dunked in water. Consider the parable of the wedding feast,
"Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.'
'Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'
'But they paid no attention and went off- one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.'
Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out in to the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.'
'But when the king came in to see the guest, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend', he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.
'Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are invited, but few are chosen."
The king asked him, 'Why didn't you bother to change. Why didn't you put on decent wedding clothes?' The man accepted the invitation with no intention to change. God offers an invitation, but you must dress accordingly or you will be thrown out. Many have accepted the invitation, but when they stand before the judgement seat waiting to go into the Feast of the Bridegroom He will ask, "Why didn't you change?" You must make a decision not only to accept Jesus, but to dress yourself appropriately.
God gives us this righteousness. How does He give it to us?
- He imputes it to us, invites us to be apart. He forgives us and treats us as if we never sinned. But isn't it immoral for a just God to forget sin? Yes, it must be paid for first. And this is what Jesus did on the cross. God was able to remain righteous while forgiving our sin. But, this is only the beginning of salvation. The work of atonement was completed on the cross, then began the work of salvation.
- He imparts it to us. Through the Holy Spirit, he convicts us and teaches us what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is. What are we saved from? Evil. We are still subject to it. We are not completely saved yet. We are being saved and will be completely saved when the new kingdom comes.
He is preparing us for His coming kingdom. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy. God's will is that we be Holy, set apart, in this life and happy in the next. But, people want to be happy in this life and holy in the next. Holiness doesn't bring happiness in this life; it brings trouble. It sets the whole world against you. As Jesus said, "A servant is not greater than his master. If they hated me, they will hate you." That is why he says to take up your cross and follow him. Martyrdom is the natural end to a christian.
There are two kinds of people that are very hard to get into the kingdom of God:
1. Unrighteous who like being unrighteous. They are fond of sin. There was only one heavenly creature that offered happiness, peace, prosperity, and satisfaction in this life: Satan. "Bow down to me and I will give you the kingdoms of the world."
2. Self-righteous. A form of pride. You are think you are good compared to others, but don't recognize your own unworthiness compared to Jesus.
"Be holy, as I am holy." That is not a demand. It is the biggest offer ever made.
Feel free to comment or ask questions!
Feel free to comment or ask questions!