Tag Archive | love

Hate Week Essay #7: Hating Jesus, once

 

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Hate week essay #6

For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. Titus 3:3

I was saved in my early 40’s. I vividly remember my antipathy toward Jesus for most of my adult life. I conceded that there was likely a God, that part was easy. Just look at the Creation. It’s obvious someone made it all.

A distant God who didn’t meddle in my affairs, but was intelligent, provided this earth to dwell on, and was amiable in His looking down at us was the God I’d made up in my mind.

The notion that God judged, was involved in our affairs, and created heaven and hell as well as earth, was unconscionable to me. I was a good example of the people described in Romans 1:21.

The Jesus, blood, sin, wrath, resurrection thing was beyond me. I thought the cross was ridiculous and gross. I wanted nothing to do with any part of the Jesus story. I hated Jesus with all my body, soul, strength, and mind. As a result, I hated others too, as the verse says. This world is full of haters, the satanic hatred only the unregenerate, darkened heart knows.

I was a terrible sinner, going about my sins, cherishing them, justifying them, and loving them. I hated Jesus and I loved my sin. I hated others, as the verse today states.

Thus, unbeknownst to me, I had many woes laying on my shoulders, for doesn’t the scripture say-

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

I was in this wretched state when in His timing, God sent the Holy Spirit to open my eyes. I suddenly saw my sin and it was terrible. I cried out to God, yet He had even given me the voice and the urging to do it. Though I’d spent so long in the wilderness, darkened and debased, He loved me. My hate for Him was deep and abiding, but His love for me was everlasting.

Anyone who is saved now hated Jesus once, also. In our daily lives we often get so busy that we forget this great love and our former great hate, at least I do. Would you love anyone who hates you outright? My goodness, that’s a tough one. We’re called to, but actual implementation of it, even to our death, is something that mystifies me. Yet Jesus did it. He lay down His life for His friends, gave himself totally to His Father for our benefit. He died for people who hated him with a worldly, satanic hate.

Let our hate go. We should harbor none of it in ourselves after salvation. We should only hate the things that Jesus hates. As our sanctification grows, our worldly hatreds diminish because love increases. The scale should be moving in the other direction. Giving up worldly hatreds is hard, but look at the sweet exchange. We can all cry out as David did,

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! (Psalm 25:7)

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Hate week essay #1
Hate week essay #2
Hate week essay #3
Hate week essay #4
Hate week essay #5
Hate week essay #6

Hate Week Essay #6: When will we hate Jesus? Answer inside

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

Jesus is an all-or-nothing proposition. This is because He is all. He is the all in all (Colossians 3:11). He is everything good, He is sufficient. Nothing should compete with Him. Hence the warning about two masters.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

No man can serve two masters … – Christ proceeds to illustrate the necessity of laying up treasures in heaven from a well-known fact, that a servant cannot serve two masters at the same time. His affections and obedience would be divided, and he would fail altogether in his duty to one or the other. One he would love, the other he would hate. To the interests of the one he would adhere, the interests of the other he would neglect. This is a law of human nature. The supreme affections can be fixed on only one object.

Please be aware of any growing idols in your (and my) life, whom you (and I) are serving. We cannot have two masters else we will hate the one. Jesus is too precious to risk hating Him, even if for a short while before realizing and then repenting.

Answer to the Title’s question: We will hate Jesus when we serve another master.

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Hate Week Essay #5: Jesus said to hate our family? Can this be true?

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26).

This seem harsh. This seems contradictory to the God of Love that we know Jesus to be. So what can it mean?

By the way, that its the first question we should ask when we see something we don’t understand in the Bible, or when we see something that seems to contradict. There are no contradictions in the Bible. If we can’t reconcile two verses, i.e. ‘God is love’ and ‘hate your mother’ or ‘Honor your mother and father’ but ‘hate your mother’ then there is something I must do to understand it, because I’m wrong.

I like Gill’s Commentary. Many commentaries are available for free at biblehub.com. There are concordances, lexicons, devotionals, and more.

Gill’s says of the Luke verse:

and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple: not that proper hatred of any, or all of these, is enjoined by Christ; for this would be contrary to the laws of God, to the first principles of nature, to all humanity, to the light of nature, to reason and divine revelation:

but that these are not to be preferred to Christ, or loved more than he, as it is explained in Matthew 10:37

Ohhhh! Getting clearer now.

A parallel verse was mentioned so let’s take a look at it. Scripture interprets scripture. Commentaries are helpful, but scripture is best. That’s where parallel verses come in.

He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)

Christ should be primary in life and love. Paul carries this sense of highest love for one, that by comparison it’s hate for the other in Romans 9:13-

As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

The verse to which Paul was referring is from Malachi 1:2-3. GotQuestions is helpful here,

So, considering the context, God loving Jacob and hating Esau has nothing to do with the human emotions of love and hate. It has everything to do with God choosing one man and his descendants and rejecting another man and his descendants. God chose Abraham out of all the men in the world. The Bible very well could say, “Abraham I loved, and every other man I hated.”

Yes, context is king when studying scripture. The Malachi/Romans verse isn’t referring to one man, but nations from one man.
There’s one more parallel verse to the Luke verse I’d posed at the start. John 12:25-

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

S Lewis Johnson of Believers Chapel Dallas had preached on this verse. He’s a preacher I like.He explained

What does he mean by that? Why, you know he means that it is possible for us to be so desirous of life as we want to live it that we actually are unfruitful in our lives. We may desire the kind of existence that we desire, we want the world’s wealth, we want the world’s power, we want the world’s pleasure, we want the world’s glory, we want to live our lives as we wish to live them and that’s right, you may live for a time but you abide alone. … In other words, if you want to keep your life you can keep it, but you’ll lose it. And if you’re willing to lose your life, if you are willing to have your set of priorities such that Jesus Christ is first in your life, then you’ll gain it. And furthermore, you will gain it unto life eternal and fruitfulness.

Hate is complicated, isn’t it? There’s things God hates, things we should hate because God does, the world’s hate, our hatred of even our parents or our own life in comparison to the life we should live in Christ…

The Bible is an endless wealth and treasure of precepts and doctrines, all pointing to the One alone who is worthy: Jesus Christ. Emmanuel, God with us. Our love for Him should be the primary orientation of our lives.

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Hate Week Essay #4: Hate Equals Darkness

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. (1 John 2:9)

What does this mean? Can we hate our brother if we’re saved? I thought our lives were supposed to be characterized by love?

Yes, that is true, but the sin nature is still inside us, crouching at the door and waiting to leap. Since our lives are supposed to be characterized by love, our lives should reflect the highest and best love: love for Jesus and love for our brethren. Sadly, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Else, as Paul put rhetorically but actually to the Corinthians,

For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. (1 Corinthians 12:20)

Else, why would Jesus and Paul admonish those who take the Lord’s Supper to reconcile with brethren or examine one’s self before doing so, in order that taking the Supper would not be done in an unworthy manner? (1 Corinthians 11: 27; Matthew 5:23-24).

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary puts it simply

his brother—his neighbor, and especially those of the Christian brotherhood. The very title “brother” is a reason why love should be exercised.

The command to love one another is an old one, says John in 1 John 2, but with a new twist. John uses the analogy of light and dark throughout his epistle. The command to love is nothing new, but it is a specific and foremost spiritual test to determine who is in the faith and who is not. John MacArthur here in his sermon Live Life By a New Love:

If you hate your brother, if you hate others, if you hate those in the Kingdom, if you hate anyone essentially, if you don’t see people the way God sees them then He’s not in control of your heart. Love proves everything when connected to sound doctrine.

But in 1 Corinthians 15, if you don’t have love it’s all noise, it’s all noise. So the practicality of it is, if you’re a true Christian it’s going to show up in your love, not perfect love, love is not going to be the perfection of your life but it will be the direction of it. You’re going to have a heart of love for those around you, not a heart of hatred. You’re going to want to serve those around you, not demand from them. You’re going to want to help those around you, not harm them. You’re going to want to come to the aid of those around you, to lift them up not to step on them. And particularly is that true among believers. If you don’t have a love to be with God’s people, it’s a clear evidence that you’re in the darkness no matter what you claim.

The Light is warm and bright, it’s where love is.
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Love week essay #7: Conclusion

All this week we’ve explored the blessings of love.

We looked at God’s love through the lens of Psalm 136.

We looked at the meaning of love through the lens of the Apostle John’s epistle.

We looked at how there are different words to express love (which is not a feeling.)

Yesterday we looked deeper into how love is not a feeling, but a choice of the will.

Yesterday we explored the difficult concept of loving our enemies.

In #6 we looked at how Love fulfills the Law

The number one topic of songs, they tell me, is love. The world, which does not know love, sings about it. In 1984, Foreigner sang I Want To Know What Love Is. As Wikipedia describes,

The song hit number one in both the United Kingdom and the United States and is the group’s biggest hit to date. It remains one of the band’s best-known songs and most enduring radio hits… and is listed as one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s greatest songs of all time.

When Mick Jones of Foreigner wrote the song, he later described it as one of those things where, at 3:00 in the morning, it all suddenly came to him. He said it ‘was like a higher force’ just gave it to him in toto ‘as a gift’. Later, he attempted to enhance the song in a spiritual way, contacting The New Jersey Mass Choir to perform another version, which also earned numerous awards and lots of radio play.

If ever there was a man of Ecclesiastes howling into the darkness of his soul for clarity on love and meaning of life, this song is it. I sang it myself as an unsaved young women who had the same yearning amid the strong sense of vanity and emptiness. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS I’d sing at the top of my lungs, and I really meant it.

In His grace, He eventually showed me. Love is Christ. God is love. There is no other love that is real, permanent, eternal, and sure as the love of God to His person of the Trinity and to us, whom He has invited into His circle through Christ. The world does not know love. They want to know what love is.

Love is explained and shown in the Bible. Read it. It is shown in answered prayer. Pray it. It’s demonstrated among brethren, receive it. It fulfills the commands when you choose it.

Psalm 103 is a song of love toward our God. He is great and worthy of all our love and attention and obedience and praise.

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Love week essay #6: Love fulfills the law

All this week we’ve explored the blessings of love.

We looked at God’s love through the lens of Psalm 136.

We looked at the meaning of love through the lens of the Apostle John’s epistle.

We looked at how there are different words to express love (which is not a feeling.)

Yesterday we looked deeper into how love is not a feeling, but a choice of the will.

Yesterday we explored the difficult concept of loving our enemies.

Today we look at how love fulfills the Law. First, the scriptures.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)

As we have looked at previously, love is a distinguishing characteristic of the Christian. It marks him or her out from the world. Yet we go even further, that the kind of love Jesus expects of us to display is a law-fulfilling love. The two commandments are to love Him, and love people.

But how can God command us to feel something, one might ask. We can’t command feelings, can we? Again, as we have looked at previously, love isn’t a feeling that comes on its own like the wind and blows away when it wants, leaving us either filled and romantic, or dry and loveless. We have the will to choose to love. We gain that will by adhering to the precepts of the Father, who said to love all, even one’s enemies. The will to love comes from the fountain of grace that indwells us, AKA the Holy Spirit.

Now, commandment one is to love the God with all our strength, soul, and mind. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Love doesn’t harm a neighbor. Love protects a neighbor. Love doesn’t slander him, or murder him with ill thoughts, or take his wife. Love doesn’t harm a neighbor by harboring covetousness over his new car/riding lawnmower/pool. Love wants the best for people, always.

It is upon us to rely on the Spirit, ask the Spirit, pray for the Spirit to cultivate in us Godly desires that squeeze out even the desire for violence against our neighbor, violence even in the form of sinful thoughts, never mind sinful actions. The goal is to love one’s neighbor enough so that any desire for harm against him is not even present in our heart.

When we do that, when we love our neighbor as purely as possible, it cycles us back to the first Law, loving God with all our strength,mind, heart, and soul, because we are obeying Him.

Love fulfills the Law.

Now I need to get to work. It seems I have a lot of heart work to do… 🙂 Do you?

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Resources

In this devotional, Alistair Begg wants us to Make Him Glad with our Love

Hugh Binning’s book Christian Love is recommended at Banner of Truth Trust, Monergism, Reformation Trust, and other sources. Here is the book blurb-

In this Treatise of Christian Love, the Scottish Covenanting minister Hugh Binning movingly presents the need for Christians to show by their love for one another that they belong to Christ. Basing his remarks on John 13:35, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another, he argues, ‘This badge that Christ left to his disciples: if we cast this away on every disagreement, we disown our Master, and disclaim his token and badge.’
Binning describes the excellence of Christian love, demonstrating its nature from 1 Corinthians 13. He gives strong reasons why Christians should love one another, and shows that love is rooted in Christian humility and meekness, after the pattern of Christ himself.

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Love Week Essay #5: Loving our Enemies?

All this week we’ve explored the blessings of love.

We looked at God’s love through the lens of Psalm 136.

We looked at the meaning of love through the lens of the Apostle John’s epistle.

We looked at how there are different words to express love (which is not a feeling.)

Yesterday we looked deeper into how love is not a feeling, but a choice of the will.

Today we’ll look deeper into that, loving not only those who are easy to love, or loving who we are supposed to love, but loving those who actively hate us. Enemies.

I’ll take a moment here to let you all know something. I enjoy writing, but that’s not the only reason I write blogs every day. I process the Word by writing. When I post a blog essay, I’m not telling you all how to be Christian, though there is some exhortation with each essay. Mainly, I am preaching to myself. I don’t find it easy to love the way the Bible tells us, even to friends and brethren. I certainly don’t find it easy to love enemies. I fail in many ways, every day. So please don’t ever think that I have it all together!

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:35).

And again in Matthew:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Barnes’ Notes explains:

We are bound to love our enemies. This is a law of Christianity, original and unique. No system of religion but Christianity has required it, and no act of Christian piety is more difficult. None shows more the power of the grace of God; none is more ornamental to the character; none more like God; and none furnishes better evidence of piety. He that can meet a man kindly who is seeking his hurt; who can speak well of one that is perpetually slandering and cursing him; that can pray for a man that abuses, injures, and wounds him: and that can seek heaven for him that wishes his damnation, is in the way to life. This is religion, beautiful as its native skies; pure like its Source; kind like its Author; fresh like the dews of the morning; clear and diffusive like the beams of the rising sun; and holy like the feelings and words that come from the bosom of the Son of God. He that can do this need not doubt that he is a Christian. He has caught the very spirit of the Saviour, and he must inherit eternal life.

It’s easy to love those who love us. It’s simple to treat others lovingly who treat us well. Jesus said even the Gentiles (who do not know love) do the same.

A Christian’s love must be different than what is expected. It has to be different from the kind of love the world is used to. It must be perfect.

But how can our love be perfect? We’re imperfect sinners!

John MacArthur here in his sermon Love Your Enemies part 3:

The point is this: you are to be like God.  You say, “Well, that standard is too high.”  You’re right, and that’s exactly what He wanted the Pharisees to know. You can’t make it. … What Jesus is saying in the Sermon on the Mount is the same thing, “Be perfect.”  They’re supposed to say, “But I can’t be perfect.” And that’s when He says, “Right; and if you fall short of perfection, you need a Savior.” And that’s where Jesus comes in, and brings to you what Peter calls the divine nature, and makes you like God, a partaker of His nature. Then God, in a miracle of salvation, does for you what you could never do for yourself – be like God. When you came to Jesus Christ, positionally, you were made like God. You were given His eternal life, His righteousness, you became like Him in that sense. And now you need to bring your behavior into harmony with your position.

Oh no! I still can’t!

John MacArthur continues:

Listen: a Christian is not someone who keeps the Sermon on the Mount. A Christian is somebody who knows he can’t, do you see – and comes to Jesus Christ for forgiveness for the sin of falling short, and receives from Christ the forgiveness, and then the power to begin to live these principles. That’s the point of the message.

If that makes you cry, good. It did me. His standards are holy and high, and we can’t make it. It makes me cry out Abba! Father! Help me! Help me to love like you would have me do! And He will.

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A note about the photo: It was taken by a friend of mine who works with the American Legion, an American veteran, who was in NYC for a conference on the day of 9-11. He took this photo the day after. He gave this picture to me and spent some time telling me how the day was for him and his colleagues. It was an emotional day for all of us, though it’s hard to believe it has been 17 years since then. I watched in shock as the towers fell (and knew many were dying at that moment), the pit in the ground in PA where the plane dove in, the Pentagon ruptured and a Navy man who lived in our town was killed inside. Whether it’s an individual enemy at work, or a national enemy out to destroy America, and every enemy in between, it is very hard to love your enemies. Yet Jesus did, while He was being nailed to the cross, He pleaded for mercy upon those who nailed Him and wanted Him dead. The truth is, before salvation we were all enemies of God and we all have that depravity in us that wants God dead. Praise Him that before we knew Him, He first loved us.