FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
April 18, 2014
Are We Preparing for the Latter Rain?– Part XXVI
A Loving People (continued)
If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. John15:10, K.J.V.
A truly loving people, according to the Bible are those who abide in God’s love because they keep (do or obey) His commandments. Abide here is the Greek meno, “to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy):–continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand tarry (for), thine own.” – Strong’s Greek Dictionary.
It is possible to love family, fellowmen, and country and even die for them without loving God but it is impossible to love God without loving as Christ loves all sinners.
Leslie Hardinge, M.A., M.Div., M.Th., Ph.D., points out in his book, With Jesus in His Sanctuary, that there are three Greek words for love.
“The Greeks had three words to describe love. Eros was the name of their god of sexual love, and so eros came to mean love which was an outgrowth of his [eros’] nature. Eros is driven by sexual drives and emotions, and is a longing, a yearning, desire for the unpossessed. Eros thinks only of self and self-preservation. Our English words erotic, erogenous and erotica are derived from this Greek word. Eros or its derivatives are never found in the New Testament. R.C. Trench sagely observed: ‘Their absence is significant’ (Synonyms of the New Testament, 43). In the Septuagint two of its forms occur, but rarely (Est. 2: 17; Prov. 4: 6; Ezek. 16: 33; Hos. 2: 5).
“The common Greek word for love between people,–friends, children and companions, and often based on blood-relationship,–was philos. Several English words have sprung from this root combined with its objects. Phil-adelphia means love of a brother. Phil-anthropy means love of mankind. Philo-sophy, love of wisdom, &c. While this love is actuated by emotions, these exist on a different level from those which drive eros. Philos often occurs in the Scriptures. Respect and reverence are not involved in philos.
“The third Greek term is agape, ‘a word born within the bosom of revealed religion; it occurs in the Septuagint (2 Sam. 13: 15; Cant. 2: 4; Jer. 2: 2), and in the Apocrypha (Wisdom 3: 9); but there is no trace of it in any heathen writer whatever’ (Trench, op. cit. 43). A peculiarly Christian term, agape, it describes God’s relationship with man. As a consequence of relationship with each other on a richer plane (1 John 4: 7-11). Agape is not driven by emotion or feeling but solely by principle. It describes the forming of relationships on a carefully considered intellectual level with a view to bringing about every good result to all concerned. It ‘expresses a more reasoning attachment, of choice and selection . . . .respect and reverence. . . . while men are continually bidden ‘agapan ton Theon’ (Matt. 22: 37; Luke 10: 27; 1 Cor. 8: 3), and good men are declared to do so (Rom. 8:28; 1 Pet. 1: 8; 1 John 4: 21), the ‘philein ton Theon’ is commanded them never. The Father, indeed, both ‘agapan ton Huion’ (John 3: 35), and also ‘philei ton Huion’ (John 5: 20)’ (Trench, op. cit. 41, 41). God requires mankind to show Him agape-love.
“God’s love, agape, created the universe ‘in the beginning,’ and everything was ‘very good.’ Goodness contains the idea of universal well-being. There is nothing of self in agape. God’s love-creation required the setting up of all the relationships necessary for the maintenance of every from of existence in a state of perfection.
“Relationships Defined by Law
“When these billions of relationships are studied and analyzed they are all found to be explainable by laws,–chemical, physical, mathematical, astronomical, civil, social, religious, &c. Webster suggests that a law is ‘a formulation describing a relationship that presumed to hold between or among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met.’ In short, a law is the description of a relationship of some kind. The moral law covers relationships between man and God, and between man and man. . . .
“Love Exists Only in Relationships
“As we have already noticed, the Divine principle which devises, makes and maintains these relationships is agape-love. Love does not exist in a vacuum. As soon as love come into being it is revealed in the form of alliances. In fact, the true love which springs from God is observable only in such ideal relationships. Since these may be described by law, and law defines and legislates them, law is a codification of the principle of love. In fact, law is loving reduced to a set of rules. John was perfectly clear about this: To obey the law is to love, he declared. To disobey the law, and claim to love is lying (1 John 2: 3-6; 4: 10-12; 16-21). In short, if man wants to learn how to love as God loves, he must study His law.
“We live in a world of sin, which is, by its very nature, the fracture of relationships which God has set up. In other words, ‘sin is the transgression of the law’ (1 John 3: 4). But through years of satanic conditioning we are no longer capable of deciding what are ideal relationships [as mortals proudly deny, claiming advancement in the arts and sciences, etc.]. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. We need to scrutinize the law [the Decalogue, as originally written by the finger of God] carefully in order to understand how the love of God is to be expressed through our thoughts and actions.
It is impossible to know how He wants us to love without this kind of study of the principles of His law.” – Leslie Hardinge, With Jesus in His Sanctuary, pp. 228, 229, American Cassette Ministries, Book Division, P.O. Box 992 , Harrisburg , PA 17108-0922 , Printed in the U.S. by Review & Herald Publishing Association.
The Law Reveals the Gospel and the Gospel the Law!
After citing parts of the Decalogue, particularly of the duties of man towards his fellowmen, Apostle Paul concludes, “Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom. 13: 10, see verse 9). Fulfilling here is the Greek pleroma, “repletion or completion, i.e. (subj.) what fills (as contents, supplement, copiousness, multitude), or (obj.) what is filled (as container, performance, period):–which is put in to fill up, piece that filled up, fulfilling, full, fullness.” –Strong’s Greek Dictionary.
Thus Romans 13: 10 can be restated: “Therefore fulfilling the law is love”– that love or “charity” which the apostle describes so eloquently in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. “Now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” v. 13.
“Jesus attaches a weight of importance to the obedience of His people to the commandments of God. They are to have an intelligent knowledge of them, and bring into their daily life. Man cannot keep the commandments of God, only as he is in Christ, and Christ in him. And it is not possible for him to be in Christ, having light on His commandments, while disregarding the least of them. By steadfast, willing obedience to His word, they evidence their love for God.
“Not to keep the commandments of God is not to love Him. None will keep the law of God unless they love Him who is the only begotten of the Father. And nonetheless surely, if they love Him, they will express that love by obedience to Him. All who love Christ will be loved by the Father, and He will manifest Himself to them. In all their emergencies and perplexities, they will have a Helper in Jesus Christ.” –Ellen G. White, Manuscript 44, May 13, 1897.
“The law of God existed before man was created. The angels were governed by it [Ps. 103:20]. Satan fell because he transgressed the principles of God’s government. After Adam and Eve were created, God made know to them His law. It was not then written, but was rehearsed to them by Jevovah [as Jesus was called in the Old Testament before the incarnation]. The system of sacrifices was then established, to keep before the fallen race that which the serpent made Eve disbelieve, that the penalty of disobedience is death. The transgression of God’s law made it necessary for Christ to die as a sacrifice; for only thus could He redeem man from the penalty of the broken law, and yet maintain the honor of the divine government. The sacrificial system was designed to teach man humility, in view of his fallen condition, and to lead him to repentance toward God and faith in the promised Redeemer for pardon of past transgressions [Acts 20:21; Rom. 3:25].” –Ibid, Signs of the Times, June 10, 1889.
“The man who discovers the law of anything possesses a power in regard to that thing as limitless as the law itself. And the soul that has come to the knowledge of ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ’ is as truly, as the Apostle Paul says, ‘made free from the law of sin and death.’[ Rom. 8:2].” – Everyday Religion, cited in Adventist Review & Sabbath Herald, Aug. 29, 1899.
The psalmist says, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God!” Psalms 84: 2. Are we truly longing for the heavenly home where agape-love reigns? In order to be at home in heaven and its pure atmosphere of love divine and excelling, we must first have it enshrined in our hearts now, and only because: “We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4: 19. The compelling power of this love manifests itself in its own fruit of obedience.