I find that our concept of love, sovereignty and eternity has a great impact upon the way we understand God and, consequently, human beings and their relationship with God and role on earth. When developing a working definition of love we must understand that love is purposing and pursuing the highest good possible (which requires wisdom, self-control [especially over emotional reaction, good or bad]) and, at times, self-sacrifice) and that it involves both “kindness” and “severity.” In reference to the latter, Charles G. Finney stated, “It is one of the most shallow of dreams, that the Divine character is all softness and sweetness, in all its manifestations and in all circumstances.” As well, “It is impossible that love to the whole should not manifest severity and indignation to the part which rebels against the interests of the whole.” To be kind when the situation calls for severity is not to operate in love. To be severe when the situation calls for kindness is, as well, a failure to operate in love.
Our current, prevailing, cultural concept of love is shallow and anemic. In large part, this is because, as a culture, we have turned our back on God and set about creating our own definitions. We have “…exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Ro.1:25) and “…though (we) knew God, (we) did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but (we) became futile in (our) speculations, and (our) foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, (we) became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man…” (Ro.1:21-23).
Sadly, the popular church does little to nothing to correct this error as it has become too common that we take our signal from our culture instead of being the pillar and support of the truth. Instead of being transformed by the renewing of our minds, we have become conformed to this world and governed by our emotions and sentiments as opposed to being governed by truth and love (in its proper sense).
In an effort to keep these entries short I close by setting the stage for future posts in which we will consider two views of sovereignty and two views of eternity. Sovereignty relates to authority but not necessarily control and causation. Eternity relates to duration, sequence and succession in contrast to the philosophical concept known as “eternal now” and “timelessness.”
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