Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Love Redefined...or Defiled?

I won't convince or convert; no soul will be lost,
I've found the answer in my own mind;
“love” is my religion; you can take it or leave it...

I begin this post with a sample of human wisdom recently coined by a very liberal thinker. All I can say in honest response is that “love” not based on truth is delusion— who has authority to decide in their own mind what truth is, so that no soul is lost? Take or leave all faiths being wrong, with no soul being lost? Does anyone critically evaluate their philosophy?

This snippet of New Age thinking is the fruit of pluralism/universalism. Pluralism is an effort to find a synthesis for all religions, a commonality for truth claims that disregard the core of any truth such claims offer. The idea of promoting a general “love” in religion, or to replace religion is both poorly thought out and highly ineffective. Such a love cannot provide purpose or meaning, nor will a generic salve of this type of love remedy the genuine guilt within the human soul. I know that love covers a multitude of sins, but the type of religion described above doubtless does not acknowledge sin. There is no “wrong;” that has to be jettisoned for liberality to operate effectually. If you remove “wrong” then you remove all moral accountability, and anarchy results. No soul being lost, no matter the wickedness committed by such, is an outrage to a thinking mind. We demand justice against murderers, pedophiles, terrorists, rapists, etc. We want justice to be done, because we know in the back of our mind that the world should be just, and that some transcendent form of law and justice ought to punish the wrong doer.

To accept “love” as the answer, in this form, is intellectual suicide, not to mention nihilism. True, God offers love, an amazing love exemplified in His Son, who came to earth and lived as a man, so He might as a man suffer and die on the cross to fulfill divine justice and demonstrate fully the love of God. God, in His spiritual essence, could not die; that is why the incarnation had to be a reality. Only God could suffer the infinite debt of sin mankind as a whole has incurred. Only God as a man would be capable of dying, and likewise capable of representing our race, since He condescended to become one of us. Being found in the form of a bondservant, He humbled Himself to death, even the death of the cross. Here love and truth were at once displayed. In love, that God came down and suffered so much agony at the hands of His creatures, and despite the hatred we bore Him, He redeemed us from our eternal debt of sin. His amazing love has captivated the hearts of millions for hundreds of years. God dying for man! The Bible defines death as separation, especially when the soul is separated from the body. On the cross Jesus suffered separation from the Father for three hours when darkness shrouded the earth. Eternity separated from God is Hell, the place where our sins and our rejection of the Lord will bring us if we die unsaved. It is more than fire and brimstone; these are descriptive terms to make us realize that we will suffer an unquenchable thirst for God and His presence, and will forevermore be denied it, because we utterly spurned and rejected His love while on earth. God offers free pardon through His Son, who already suffered the infinity of Hell on the cross, so we don't have to. How? Being God and therefore being infinite and eternal, He alone was qualified and capable of suffering finitely what mortal man (or the angels) will have to spend eternity suffering: namely payment for sins that were not paid for by our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

We live in a sad age when absolute truth, or objective truth is a non-reality to so many. The claims of Christ's uniqueness fall on deaf ears when someone has been properly reared up to accept the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth, and to objectively believe that objective truth isn't real. Consider carefully. No one can invent truth in their own mind. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but you are not entitled to invent your own truth. Truth is something that exists outside of us, it exists whether anyone believes it or not. Truth, properly received, reaches within and changes what cannot be changed otherwise. Christians are called on to speak the truth in love. For a believer, the two are inseparable. To have truth without love is cold and clinical; it is lifeless. To have love without truth is to embrace a lie. Without truth as a solid foundation, there is nothing at all to build love upon. We are in love with a romantic, false notion of love that never judges, never finds fault, never speaks rebuke...never cares enough to apparently do anything, but is smothered in apathy.

Pardon me if I demonstrate my love by telling people of their danger for not believing on Jesus Christ for their salvation. My love acts, and it acts upon a secure, eternal truth. This love my be critiqued and judged or maligned, but I know that the truth on which it rests will never change, and the God who commands Christians to love and reach out to a dying world will never fail. Rather than seeing sinners in the hands of an angry God, I would prefer to see redeemed sinners in the hands of a rejoicing Shepherd. God agonized on this earth, coming as a servant to redeem Israel, and all the world, so that anyone, anywhere, can by faith attain to eternal life by believing the gospel. Jesus knows human suffering; He was intimately acquainted with it in its many forms. He was rejected, maligned, mistreated, hated, feared, misunderstood, robbed of due justice and finally brutally killed. He wept for Jerusalem when the Jews rejected Him. He wept at Lazurus' tomb. He weeps still, through us His children, calling and pleading for a fallen race to come out of this world, away from the coming wrath of God, to the safe harbor of His salvation. The call is universal. God so loved this world that He opened a door that cannot be shut by any but Him. Christ receives sinners! He came to this earth the first time exclusively to seek out and save the lowly, sinful, and sick. He was unpopular in His day, and He is again unpopular today, even in Christian circles. Oh, He is well spoken of by many, but they do not address Him as God the only Savior, so their complimentary language is insulting.

Man will continue on this path of melding religions together in some vain effort to find a flavor palatable for everyone to swallow. The Bible warns that in due time, in the end days, mankind will accomplish exactly this. It will be love without reason, it will be faith without evidence, it will be unity with no purpose. It will be superficially harmonious and disastrously useless. God can speak, and has chosen one method of revelation to give humanity as a whole a clear and untainted picture of His person, purpose, and glory. He inspired Jewish prophets to pen its many pages, putting down and fulfilling prophecy to reveal that He alone is the true God. And through Israel came Christ, the fullest revelation of God. Christ was the fulfillment of the Law, the completion of all sacrifice, the sum of all prophecy. When God Himself came as a man, no greater revelation could hope to be given. He also inspired apostles to write about the mystery of the church, the secret God had kept hidden from previous generations and prophets, revealed to all the world. The Jews were included; the Gentiles were included. All was made one under Christ, who is the Head of all things. Here is a speaking God, reaching out in genuine love, revealing His nature and intention for mankind and all the universe. The Bible is the written revelation of the word of God, whose purpose is to display the perfection of Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. In Him there is purpose, meaning, identity, love, and truth.

The path to genuine salvation, not an invention of the mind, is perilous, and it is narrow. It is perilous because precious few people do not stumble over the exclusive claims made by this man, the Christ. It is narrow because the broad road of destruction that incorporates all religions and truth claims is much more appealing to mankind. But this road, which seems right to men, leads only to death. Jesus is the narrow way, the straight gate, the way, truth, and life. Those who find Him, truly find eternal life.

The quote above basically conveys the idea that we may now speak on God's behalf about who will be saved, who will be lost, and who plays judge. Perhaps we just think that we have replaced Him entirely. What begins as sounding broad minded, truly isn't. One may make this claim all they wish, but like all truth claims (which is what this is) it must permit itself to be open to rigorous inspection and argument. Its validity does not rest on how it makes me feel, how popular it is, or how effective it seems to be; it's about whether or not something is true. It may be something that excites emotional fervor. Or it may be something that's in vogue. But the historicity of the Resurrection is fact. An empty tomb, a continuing church, and millions of radically transformed lives attest to it. There is proof for the honest seeker. May God grant understanding. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. your content is interesting.

    However, may I make a suggestion that will make your posts more readable and appealing at first glance?

    Break up your content in smaller chunks-- shorter paragraphs with spacing between paragraphs.

    Personally, I have a more difficult time reading content on a computer screen than on the printed page. Currently your content is one massive block of printed words. Smaller paragraphs would be easier to consume and ponder.

    My opinion-- what do you think?

    Tossing It Out


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