God’s Equation

mathFor what has seemed like an eternity BuddyO and I have been battling over the differences between how we each perceive God’s character. Recently he had this to say on the subject: http://rev22.org/index.php/archives/108

Which got me to thinking; perhaps he is on to something here. This provoked even more thinking on my part, causing a loss of consciousness. Right after coming to I had something like an epiphany:

Throughout the Bible (not just the OT) there are plenty of references to the holiness, righteousness and exacting justice of God. Even the Gospels have passages that some find a bit ‘hard to swallow’ given the forgiving nature of Jesus. There is a part of one passages that clearly speaks of God’s sovereignty and his intentions for us:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27)

In many ‘conservative’ churches great emphasis is placed on personal righteousness, striving to show God the full respect that he deserves as well as the obedience that he requires. It is often remarked that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, that he came to fulfill it, so to trivialize or disregard God’s laws as recorded in scripture is not only unbiblical but dangerous as well. There is a concern that God is being misrepresented as soft, weak and less than holy.

Then there are the mandates of Jesus (also found throughout the Bible, including the Old Testament) concerning the sacrificial service he expects of us in regards to our relationship with others. This one in particular is quite well known:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

Many ‘liberal’ churches today consider the commands of Jesus to care for those in need (as well as the natural world we have been given) as his highest priority. The emphasis here has been on the mandate for social justice that is found again and again throughout both Old and New Testaments. To them, a fervent devotion to Biblical doctrine and the law is considered misguided and counter to serving God’s kingdom. To portray God as wrathful and angry with the world is to misunderstood the message of Jesus; that strength is found in surrender and weakness.

Of course neither one of these commands of Jesus is meant to stand alone. What is often forgotten is the importance of one little word – “and”. Taken separately, each part of this command is certainly worth considering and devoting one’s life to. Apparently Jesus did not mean for this to be the case as they are irrevocably tied together with that one little conjunction. I guess we could look at it as two very important requests that God has made of us. If only we would obey both of these rules, keeping them both sacred and secure in hearts, how much better would the world be?

But it seems that, at best, we can only concentrate on keeping one command at a time. Church history has proven over and over again that this tactic is not very successful. Many of us find it difficult to keep even one of these commands, much less both of them. Some of us have a hard time understanding ‘who’ this distant God is so we may find it impossible to love him as we do our spouses or our children. (After all, we aren’t saints, are we?) Others may have a very tough time being able to ‘love’ others, especially those that they don’t like. (But we aren’t God. W can’t be expected to do what Jesus did, can we?)

The secret is that little word –“and”. Jesus did not intend for us to carry around two new laws in our hearts, to take the place of the 10 or the 600 already on the books. There has always been only one law and that law is ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind AND Love your neighbor as yourself.” That ‘and’ is like the plus sign in an equation – each part standing alone is deficient without the addition of the other. The harmonious conjuction of those two simple sentences equals the entirety of God’s Law. And the Law = Love. When we take them together, realizing that each part’s value is dependant on the other, our world opens up to infinite possibilities. It was on the cross that Jesus showed us how to bring those two parts together as one.

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  1. #1 by Christian on December 29, 2007 - 4:35 pm

    Perhaps theres a third option…. maybe they are both making the point perfectly….

    Yes I believe they are making the point (albeit not perfectly) and both points are correct but they are also not complete. It is the combination of these two points that is the command. Or to put it another way – if either command is being followed faithfully then the other command is being followed as well. One cannot exist without the other. Perhaps that is your ‘third option’.

    If one were to devote him or herself to nothing but prayer and worship and forsaking all communion with others (like a hermit- not an occasional retreat) then the second part of that command is being forgotten. An essential part is missing from that person’s life and his relationship with God. When did he visit, feed or clothe Jesus? Where does he practice hospitality? God does not ‘know them.

    Likewise if all one does is serve others and has no idea, no inkling of why he is doing this other than it ‘feels’ right then there is perhaps an even greater component missing from his life as he doesn’t enjoy any relationship with God. They do not ‘know’ God.

    Greetings DEBORAH. Agreed. Ditto and ditto.

    So Bruce if the fall had not happened in this alien world can I assume that this was a race of robots? (Oh and only the male aliens have tentacles.)

  2. #2 by logiopath on December 29, 2007 - 8:08 pm

    I dunno Chris. In in the dream the people looked like people.

    What do female aliens have?

  3. #3 by logiopath on December 29, 2007 - 11:10 pm

    BTW The movie is Hangar 18

  4. #4 by 1godsgal on December 30, 2007 - 11:17 pm

    Christian, you have been on my heart all day today. I’ve been praying for you, and I really tried to ignore it…LOL But, anyway, wanted you to know that. We’re headed for Vegas for a week to a Christian Convention to get supercharged…so I won’t be back til next Sunday….but keep the blog world spinnin and know that you’re prayed for!

    Happy New Year and love ya!

    Debs 🙂

  5. #5 by Christian on December 30, 2007 - 11:36 pm

    A Christian convention? In LAS VEGAS?! I think maybe I’m the one should be on my knees for you guys. 😉 Seriously, thanks for the prayers. I can use them.

    Have a great time in Sin City! (I couldn’t resist that.)

  6. #6 by Darla on January 1, 2008 - 6:08 pm

    Love Love love love love….isn’t this the call of the Christ follower? I am glad that He completes the work HE has started in us. I agree that there are many characteristics and attributes to God, the hard part is remembering that HE is all those things all at once. Guess that is why HE is God! 😯

  7. #7 by 1godsgal on January 6, 2008 - 8:19 pm

    Last blog entry…..December 28th……Helllllooooooooo? 😉

    Hope you’re doing super!!!! I’m back…get busy!

  8. #8 by Christian on January 7, 2008 - 2:10 pm

    Thanks, Deb. I’ve been working on something real special. It’s taken all I have (which ain’t much). It should be my magna opus. I will be posting it today.

  1. Everybody’s Doing It « inWorship

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