Love and Truth
INTIMACY: God desires an intimate loving relationship with us
- WISDOM: True wisdom calls us to be humble before God.
- HUMILITY: We all need it.
- SAINT PETER: Gives us an important teaching in Humility.
- JUDGING: Judging others is a sin.
- SAINT PAUL: Teaches how even he could lose Salvation.
- JESUS: Believing in Him and being saved.
God identifies Himself as Love and as Truth. Love and Truth are like two sides of the same coin. If we truly embrace one than we have the other. If we reject one, then whether we realize it or not, we are rejecting the other.
God is a God of Love. 1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love." God wants us to know him personally. Jeremiah 31:31-34 "The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more."
God wants us to have a close personal relationship with Him. He wants us to call Him "Abba."
We are called to grow in our knowledge of God, but this knowledge of God is more than just a collection of intellectual information, that is solely cognitive. It is meant to be lived out in our hearts and in our lives. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 "If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing." Colossians 1:9-10 "Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God…" A true love for another human being desires their spiritual well being more than one's own emotional and physical comfort at having them close.
God is not just some cosmic force as in STAR WARS. He is a person - actually three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we put God first in our lives we see that Christianity is not just a set of rules, but a relationship. This relationship is based 100% on the free gift of God’s Grace, God’s gift of Himself to us. Our faith in Him is made possible by this Grace and it enables us to place our trust in His Promises in His Word and Sacraments to which He is always faithful.
Ephesians 3:14-19 "For this reason I kneel before the Father, … that he may grant you… to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge… "
Satan has knowledge and he can quote Scripture, but he does not have Wisdom or Humility. 2 Peter 3:16 "In them (Paul’s letters) there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures." Christ’s Church does not teach error in Her Sacred Scriptures or in Her definitive pronouncements. However, that does not mean that we can be presumptuous about our understanding of them. And even if we intellectually accent to them that does not mean that we fully embrace them with our hearts. The Christian must always ask himself if he is growing in Faith, Hope, and Charity. Is he dying to himself in order to let God’s grace work through him to glorify God’s Holy Name.
Jesus is humble. Matthew 11:29 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves." Philippians 2:8 "…he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross."
He wants us to be humble. Matthew 5:3-5 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land." Luke 1:50-52 "His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly."
Mary is an example of how to follow Jesus. Luke 1:48-49 "For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name."
We shouldn’t be proud of ourselves because of the truths that we see and hold. The credit goes to God because it is only by His Grace that we see what we do. Matthew 13:17 "Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
The truth we see is small compared to God’s infinite Truth. We can know some truth with certainty and we trust in the truth, but we shouldn’t trust in our mastery of the truth. John 9:40-41 "Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, 'Surely we are not also blind, are we?' Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, "We see," so your sin remains.' " We should not put our faith in how smart we are, rather our faith and security are found in God and His Promises. Anyone who thinks that he cannot be deceived is deceived already.
The Bible warns against being proud. 1 Peter 5:5 "… God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble." Luke 1:51 "He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts…" RSV Because we are human we are prone to misunderstand the Bible. 2 Peter 3:15-16 "…Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to under-stand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures." John 7:27 "But we know where he (Jesus) is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from."
Our faith should be in God and how He is faithful to His promises, and our faith should not be in how strong our faith is. 2 Timothy 2:12-13 "…if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us. If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself." Proverbs 21:2 "All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes, but it is the LORD who proves hearts." 1 Corinthians 10:12 "Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall."
Peter had made the mistake of over estimating his own faith. Jesus chastised him for this in order that He might reconcile Peter back to Himself later on. Luke 22:31-34 " 'Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strength-en your brothers.' He said to him, 'Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.' But he replied, 'I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day, you will deny three times that you know me.' "
In John 21:9-19 we read about Peter’s encounter with Christ at a charcoal fire. Now this word "charcoal" - ANTHRAKIA in the Greek, Strong’s #439- is rarely used in Scripture. In fact it is used only twice. This setting implies a growth in the virtue of humility for Peter because it must have reminded him of that first charcoal fire where he had wept bitterly after denying Christ, see Jn 18:18-27 and Lk 22:61-62.
John 21:9-17 " ... they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish you just caught... When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' He then said to him a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Tend my sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' (Jesus) said to him, 'Feed my sheep.' "
Fulton J. Sheen in his book LIFE OF CHRIST pages 450-453 offers this commentary,
"…He (Jesus) turned to the one who had denied Him three times and asked a triple affirmation of love…
"The query was: ‘Do you love Me with that truly supernatural love, the mark of a chief shepherd?’ Peter had once presumed on the greatness of His love, telling His Master the night of the Last Supper, that even though all others would be offended and scandalized in Him, yet he would not deny. Peter was now addressed as Simon, son of John - Simon being his original name. Our Lord thus reminded Peter of his past as a natural man, but especially of his fall or denial. He had been living by nature rather than grace. The title also had another significance; it must have reminded Peter of his glorious confession when Our Lord said to him, "Blessed art thou Simon, son of John," and made him the Rock on which He would build His Church. In answer to the question about love, Peter said:
"Yes, Lord, thou knowest well that I love thee.
And He said to him,
Feed My Lambs. John 21:15
"Peter now no longer claimed any superiority of affection over the other followers of Our Lord, for the other six Apostles were standing about. In the original Greek, the word which Our Blessed Lord used for love was not the same as that which was used by Peter in answer. The word that Peter used implied a rather natural emotion… The man who had fallen most deeply and learned most thoroughly his own weakness was certainly the best qualified for strengthening the weak and feeding the lambs…
"The original Greek word used by Our Lord in the second question implied supernatural love, but Peter used the same word as before which signified a natural love. In the third question, Our Lord used the same word that Peter used for love the first time, namely, the word that meant only a natural affection. It was as if the Divine Master was correcting His own words in order to find one more congenial to Peter and his character. Perhaps it was the adoption of Peter’s own word in the third question that cut him and grieved him most… In the original Greek, the word which Peter used when he said that Our Lord knew all things (in the third reply) implied a knowledge by Divine vision. When Peter said the Lord knew that he loved Him, the Greek word used meant only knowledge by direct observation. As Peter went step by step down the ladder of humiliation, step by step the Lord followed him with the assurance of the work for which he was destined."
"Our Lord said of Himself: ‘I am the Door.’ To Peter He had given the keys and the function of the doorkeeper. The Savior’s function as the visible Shepherd over the visible flock was drawing to an end. He transferred that function to the head shepherd before withdrawing His visible Presence to the Throne of Heaven where He would be the invisible Head and Shepherd." (Emphasis added.)
With Peter no longer placing his faith in his own faith and love of Jesus , he grows in humility. Pleased with his response, Jesus commissions him "Feed My sheep." By God’s all powerful Grace, Peter becomes an instrument through which God will manifest His Glory and shepherd His flock.
Humility and Holiness are vital in our relationship with God. Tertullian, who was born about 160 AD, was a Christian and he went to great lengths to defend the true Christian faith. However, he failed to use the truth that he had to help himself grow in humility, and consequently left true Christianity in the year 205 AD to embrace the heretical sect of Montanism. (Montanists claimed to have received new public revelations from God.)
We are called to judge doctrines as to whether they are true or not. And we are called to judge moral issues as to whether or not they are God’s way (or will.) We have to discern what choices we might make in choosing a spouse or who will be our teacher. And in our efforts to spread God’s Good News we might judge the outward manifestations of another person’s beliefs, his words and/or his deeds -according to God’s Word- in order that we might perceive the best evangelistic approach to take.
However, the Bible makes it clear that we are not to judge a persons heart and soul. That is God’s role (and to whomever He might confer it, Lk 22:28-32 Mt 19:28.) James 4:11-12 "Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. Whoever speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save or to destroy. Who then are you to judge your neighbor?"
Romans 14:10 "Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;" Matthew 5:22 "But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna." Matthew 7:1-3 "Stopjudging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?"
Luke 6:36-38 "Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."
We are not even our own judge as
1 Corinthians 4:3-5 "It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal; I do not even pass judgment on myself; I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord. Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God." The word "acquitted" is a translation of the Greek word dikaiovw -DIKAIOO (Strong’s number 1344) which means justified.
We are saved if we have Christ in our hearts, but we will lose our salvation we lose our faith in Him. Christ holds us in his hand (Jn. 10:28) and no one else can forcibly remove us, but we are still free to leave. When we receive Christ we receive the gift of eternal life, but if we later abandon our faith in Christ and reject He who is Life, then we also reject His gift of eternal life.
When we are "baptized into Christ" (Rom. 6:3), we receive the gift of adoptive sonship. The parable of the prodigal son teaches us that if we disinherit ourselves then we become spiritually dead. Luke 15:32 "…your brother was dead…" 1 John 5:16-17 "There is such a thing as deadly sin…All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly."
Salvation is an ongoing process. Philippians 2:12-13 "So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work."
Just as the Bible speaks of being saved in the past tense of the verb it also speaks of being saved in the present tense and the future tense. 1 Corinthians 1:18 "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Peter 3:21 "This prefigured baptism, which saves you now." Galatians 2:17 'But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves are found to be sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? Of course not!" Matthew 24:11-13 "Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved." (Emphasis added.)
We know that
The word "disqualified" is translated from the Greek word "ADOKIMOS" (Strongs # 96.)
So, the question we must ask is, "What is lost in 1 Cor 9:27 ?" This word "ADOKIMOS" does not modify any reward that
Jesus warns us against judging ourselves or others in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Luke 18:9-14 "He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. 'Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, "O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income." But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner." I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.' "
The Pharisee credited God for his spiritual blessings by thanking Him for them. However, God was displeased with him because he was presumptuous about his own spirituality and he assumed God’s sovereign role as judge.
To accept Jesus means more than to just accept a set of doctrines. The essence of Jesus includes Love, Truth, Life, Existence, and Holiness. For example, consider these verses. 1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; every-one who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love." John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way and the truthand the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' " Exodus 3:14 "God replied, 'I am who am.' Then he added, 'This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.' " Luke 18:19 "Jesus answered him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.' " Revelation 4:8 "The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.' "
The Name of Jesus is more than just an identifier, like say a social security number might be. In the Jewish culture of Jesus’s day a persons name represented the very essence of who a person was. So to believe in the Name of Jesus means to accept with one’s heart the very essence of who Jesus is. It means more than just intellectually accepting that the person Jesus is God’s son. The demons do that but they are damned. We must do better. Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ "
To believe in Jesus is to believe with one’s heart in Love, Truth and Goodness. See Matthew 25:31-46. Even if a person "claims" to be an atheist that doesn’t give us the right to judge his heart and soul. We can judge that his doctrine will lead him to hell if he fully embraces it. However, only God can look into his heart and judge whether or not he truly does. 1 Samuel 16:7 "But the LORD said to Samuel: 'Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.' " Jeremiah 17:9 "More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?"
This in no way takes away from our need to evangelize or the worlds need to hear the Good News. Satan with his lies is still trying to get us to choose hate instead of Love and despair instead of Hope. If we see a person commit a serious sin then we can judge the objective act as evil, but only God can judge the actual guilt of his soul, because only God can look into his heart. Only God knows to what extant Love and Truth have been revealed to him and whether or not he is open to Jesus, who is Truth and Love.