Oct 02

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LOVE (3)

Love does not mean approval nor acceptance! We do not have to look any farther than God himself! The “golden text” expresses this very clearly: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is not one word of approval nor acceptance on the part of God in this text! On the other hand, it does express God’s unconditional love for all mankind. There is no greater love, than is found in the words, “For God so loved the world.” We have the greatest being loving the greatest number of mankind, “the world.” At the same time, Isaiah expresses God’s view of sin and what it does; as he wrote: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2). Did God love those of whom Isaiah wrote? Yes! Was it unconditional love? Yes! At the same time these words show clearly that those who were “sinners,” those who have sin as a manner of life, those who live in a state of sinning, were not acceptable to God.
Paul wrote: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The Greek word translated “commendeth” is “sunistao” and Strong gives us, as one of the meanings to this word, as “to constitute.” Therefore, “God constituted his love toward us, while we were yet sinners.” How did God “constitute” “his love toward us, while we were yet sinners?” Four words answer this question: “Christ died for us!” No greater love, no greater act, for no greater number of people, and no greater forgiveness was ever “constituted!” Now, get this point! We, moral humans, learn from God! We learn about love from God! We learn what love is at its highest level, and we learn how to deal with those who are sinners! Yes, we learn from God how to deal with family members who live in sin! We never stop loving, but we let it be known, that sin is unacceptable and that it has consequences! Do you remember what Isaiah wrote? Here are part of his words: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear!” Dealing with family and close friends who are “sinners,” is one of the hardest things that we, as Christians, must do. Do we learn from God and his love for us, or not? Whoever said, “Loving is easy?”
As we think on the last thought of the above paragraph, we need to recall the words of Jesus: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). Who ever said, “Being a Christian was easy?” As we interact with others, do we keep these words in mind? If not, why not? No, I know for sure, to obey Jesus’ words are not easy! We humans have a way of making it hard, for others to even like us, let alone “do ye also to them.” Oh, we like doing unto others, but not so much, “as” we would that they do unto us! Here is a good question: “Why do we make it so hard for others to obey Jesus’ words? This is a good time to write about a story, true story, that was told to me. A certain preacher was “holding” a gospel meeting in a place that he had done so several times before. In fact, before the nights meeting was to take place, he was eating with a family, which he had done several times before. The father of the family was sitting at one end of the table and the preacher at the other end. As they were eating, the preacher looked at the man at the other end of the table, which he had done a number of times before; he had tried everything he knew, to convert this father. This time, as he by now knew the man well, said unto him,” You are going to hell!” Have you ever been so bold? More than likely not! But, here was a man, who in fact, “Was going to hell, if he died in his present spiritual state.” So, how far would you go, if you sat where this preacher sat, facing a man in such a spiritual state? You know you have been and may in fact, be in such a state as you read this article! Do you know what happened to this man? Of course, not; that is until now. Would you believe it? This man obeyed the gospel that night! Granted, before you ever say the words this preacher said, you MUST know the person well. We do not go around telling people they are going to hell. However, there is a place and time for such, or nearly such! Over the fifty some years of preaching and dealing with people, both Christians and non-Christians, I have learned, that you must deal with people differently. Some people I have learned, that I could be very blunt with but others, I could not! Sometimes, your actions, if true, say all that need be said.
Who ever said: Being a Christian is easy? Keep in mind, “Love is demanding!” The world does not generally understand this point and some Christians do not understand it either!

Frank R. Williams

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