Perfect love

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Perfect love

Postby Resurrection Torchlight on Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:58 am

(This goes along with the other discussion we were having in the other thread)

So this past Sunday our Pastor preached from Joshua. He focused primarily on the passage concerning the crossing of the Jordan River and the memorial of 12 stones that was built:

Joshua 4:20–24
20 Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal.
21 He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’
22 then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’
23 “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed;
24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”


The application he gave was from the last verse. He made the claim that we as believers are to fear the Lord God forever. He tied it to our sin, and how we need to be afraid of God who has the ability to punish us in hell.

He brought up this verse:
1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.


He made the claim that we will never have perfect love until we die and go to be with the Lord and therefore we need to fear the Lord. He said that multiple times so I know I didn't misunderstand.

I completely disagree with his interpretation of the passage. As unbelievers people should fear God, because He is the one who judges. However, the passage above isn't talking to unbelievers it is to believers and is not about our love being what casts out all fear, it is the Love of Christ that is perfected in us that casts out fear, because when we are justified by Him we no longer have to fear judgement.

1 John 4:10–17
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.


We love because He first loved us, because the holy Spirit is in us His love is perfected in us. This is the reason we do not have to fear, because His Holy Spirit abides in us. We know we will not face judgment. As He is so are we in this world. It is not something to be realized after death, His love is already perfected in us, because He abides in us. Verse 18 clearly says that the one who fears is not perfected in love.

I was just so frustrated sitting there listening to him chide the congregation that they need to fear God when they sin. I just do not see that the passage in Joshua applies to believers under the New Covenant. And he failed completely to even mention the part that does apply to us, that God's hand is mighty and He is able to alter the physics of the natural order to accomplish His will.

In short what my Pastor was claiming is that because we don't love God perfectly and we don't love others perfectly that we are not perfected in love and therefore must fear God, which in my mind means we must fear the punishment of God. Though he stopped short of saying so himself.

What the passage does say is that one who says that he loves God, and hates his brother, cannot in fact love God, which to me demonstrates that that person is not one who is justified by Christ, but remains an unbeliever.


earlier in 1 John, John says this:
1 John 2:4–5
4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:


If we keep His word, God's love is perfected in us. I don't think this means that we have to be perfect at all times, that it requires us to be sinless, but rather that we should strive to walk as Christ walked. And the Holy Spirit who abides in us, makes that possible.

Am I wrong?


RT
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Re: Perfect love

Postby GodsStudent on Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:34 pm

I don't think you are wrong, RT. I completely agree with your assessment. I would credit my time here on FP, with so many believers who "get it"....God's Love for us....(and as a side, those here who have a healthy understanding of fear of the Lord).
Thanks for the post.
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Re: Perfect love

Postby mark s on Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:51 pm

Because the Covenant of Law between God and the Israelites was flawed, not because of it, but because of us, God gave us a new covenant based on better promises. Him instead of us.

You are correct, in my view, that this Scripture states that we are perfected in love when God lives in us, not “when we behave well”. That goes back to old covenant thinking.

So how is it that it states that we can be perfected in love by God living in us, but that if we fear we are not perfected in love? Maybe this is talking about those who do not understand that they already have what they've been told they have to wait for?

“Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Romans 8:30

All past tense. Predestinated, called, justified, glorified, already accomplished in us.

So what sort of people are we, anyway?

Why exactly do we have nothing to fear?

We are God's children.

God has a way with me, and I love His sense of humor. I was talking to my wife earlier yesterday about principles given in the NT and illustrated in the OT.

So last night I asked God to speak to me. I've been worried about money, the usual! I broke a crown on my tooth. Another $1000!

I opened my Bible, Mark 6, Jesus multiplying the loaves and fish. Keep going! Psalm 2, He Who sits in the heavens will laugh at them in derision! “I've installed My King on My holy hill Zion”, something like that.

God changed it up on me. The illustration was NT, the principle was OT. He multiplies our meager resources to become an over-abundance! The principle? This is the Man Who is King of the Universe!

“As He is, so are we in the world.”

How was Jesus? He was the Man from Heaven living in a terrestrial body. The firstborn of creation.

The First in all creation to be born from God Himself. Now we are born from God Himself, Jesus' brothers and sisters. What are we supposed to fear?

Now . . . I have healthy “fear”, if you will, of God's discipline. He can really mess with me when He needs to, but for my good, I know that to be so so true! His discipline, while grievous, terribly difficult, brings with it the peaceable fruit of righteousness, so again, what's to fear? This is what I want more than anything!
So as far as I can tell, the worst that can happen to me is God making me like Jesus, and putting righteousness into my life.

And yes . . . God can change the any of the properties, functions, and form of His creation at will.

And . . . He commands us, be extremely happy all the time, remaining completely care-free.

So, why be afraid? Only because we don't acknowledge the extremity of God's love for us, and therefore fail to stand in His grace, preferring to lean on our own performance, remaining fearful failures.

Much love!

Mark
ειπεν αυτη ο ιησους εγω ειμι η αναστασις και η ζωη ο πιστευων εις εμε καν αποθανη ζησεται
. . . saying to her Jesus, I AM the resurrection and the life, the one believing into Me even dying shall live . . .
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Re: Perfect love

Postby mark s on Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:10 pm

There's another thing to this, I'm glad you brought it up. Because there is a fellow who has been leading a men's group at our church, who is leaving soon. I've spoken with my pastor a number of months ago about leading a men's group.

But I've come to realize that I can't really offer, and if asked, I'm going have to either decline without explanation, or else tell him that I want to, but it must be with the understanding that I would be leading these men in doctrine that disagrees with what he teaches and practices.

I don't think it's what he believes at heart, just that for so long so many have taught a legalistic Christianity, something we have to do, that it's just all mixed up in his mind.

I think if you ask him, are we completely forgiven once and for all, he'd answer yes, with his whole heart, yet he continues to invite believers to confess their sins to receive forgiveness - you can leave here squeaky clean - I John 1:9, the "Christian's bar of soap", Let's all say the sinner's pray together, if you've never said it fore, if you say it, and mean it, you can be saved, and if you're already saved, well, we like to do this as a renewing of our vow. These are his words. As if we "vow", making some contribution!

As if we aren't "squeaky clean" right now!

It could lead to a very interesting meeting, and, if he can receive it, perhaps a transformation to our church. Here's hoping! And I just have to wait to see what happens.

Much love!
Mark
ειπεν αυτη ο ιησους εγω ειμι η αναστασις και η ζωη ο πιστευων εις εμε καν αποθανη ζησεται
. . . saying to her Jesus, I AM the resurrection and the life, the one believing into Me even dying shall live . . .
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Re: Perfect love

Postby Resurrection Torchlight on Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:06 pm

Let us know when that meeting takes place Mark, so we can pray for you and him.

There are just so few pulpits at least around here where I live that really teach doctrine. Our Pastor is a really great person and a friend to my husband and I. His family is awesome too. It's just hard to listen to some of what he teaches. And the gospel is almost never given either, though he could nicely tie it into his sermon if he chose to. It's just very weird to me, that someone who professes to be saved. and wants to share Jesus, rarely gives the gospel and has such a poor command of scripture. Sometimes I wonder if he really understands the gospel. He grew up in church, in a christian home, and I wonder if he is just walking in the culture he grew up with; the culture of legalism?

If you think of it, please pray for him.

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Re: Perfect love

Postby mark s on Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:02 am

I'm wondering what would happen if that room full of people really got a hold of what the true gospel is.

For me, it was, and even is to a point, a scary thing . . . to give myself over to something and someone I cannot see, my only reference point an ancient book, my life not "following all the rules", but knowing God knows me, and knows what I need.

Wondering, is it really really true?? Can it be true?? How can it be true! How can it be that we just get a free pass on everything, all we've done, all we're doing, all we will do?

Oh! But that means you can just go out and sin all you want! Cheap grace!

No!

False paradigm insisted upon by the fearful. Because that's not what we want, and it's not what He wants.

I've been thinking on the concept that I have the full force of God's power to enact His Will. And when you consider what His will is! Like . . . Wow!

The Man who multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the people until they were stuffed is the King of all creation. I like the way Be Still My Soul puts it, "the waves and wind still know His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below."

I was literally afraid of the idea, but I was scheduled to teach Colossians 3 to a group of people, knowing God's warning in James, that teachers will be judged more strictly, and Colossians 3 says we all will be there.

But it's true! And that's the Gospel. Trust in Jesus' lordship and resurrection, and everything will follow from that. To be released into the liberty enjoyed by the children of God!

One of my new faves, Hebrews 6, we have an anchor sure and steadfast, piercing through the veil. We are God's celestial children, for a time occupying terrestrial bodies. But our anchor is in the celestial. It doesn't matter what kind of storms blow through this world.

There is a part towards the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says something to the effect of, go and enjoy your life, for God is pleased now with your works.

I don't know how that fits into the passage, but I know how it fits into the New Covenant. God is now pleased with our works. That's because He's counted Jesus' righteousness as ours. So go and enjoy your life, only remember, there is one who will pass your works through the fire. We need to stay focused on the eternal things.

But what better way to do that then to know as an absolute fact that God loves you, receives you, supports, you, blesses you, always, at every moment, no matter what?

And to realize we are the happy recipients of God's loving and tender care, at all times, no matter what, and that God remains patient and completely committed to making us what He wants us to be, which just so happens to be what we, as His children, in our heart of heart, it's what we want so much!

Life becomes completely different. But so many have lived so many years in the old way. Like I did. My greatest desire is to bring this knowledge of the Gospel back to the Church.

Much love!
Mark
ειπεν αυτη ο ιησους εγω ειμι η αναστασις και η ζωη ο πιστευων εις εμε καν αποθανη ζησεται
. . . saying to her Jesus, I AM the resurrection and the life, the one believing into Me even dying shall live . . .
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Re: Perfect love

Postby Resurrection Torchlight on Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:51 pm

So beautifully said Mark, brought tears to my eyes and a spark to my soul. Thank you for sharing that, I feel your burden as well.

God bless you

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Re: Perfect love

Postby GodsStudent on Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:35 pm

Agreed, RT. It was a compelling post, Mark. Thank you for your willingness to open up and talk about what goes on in your heart and head....it's the same for all of us....who are aware of ourselves and the true gospel message. Its comforting and reassuring and scary to hear another talk about these things that we don't talk about, because we dont want to be judged or criticized or ....gasp.....wrong about something.
Its hard to open up and put it.....put ourselves......out there.
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Re: Perfect love

Postby Sonbeam on Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:50 am

Hi RT,

I really enjoyed your post and agree with it.

I would have been just as frustrated as you were listening to your legalistic pastor. Is it possible that you could
confront him with the truth? Gently. :grin:

I was just so frustrated sitting there listening to him chide the congregation that they need to fear God when they sin. I just do not see that the passage in Joshua applies to believers under the New Covenant. And he failed completely to even mention the part that does apply to us, that God's hand is mighty and He is able to alter the physics of the natural order to accomplish His will.

In short what my Pastor was claiming is that because we don't love God perfectly and we don't love others perfectly that we are not perfected in love and therefore must fear God, which in my mind means we must fear the punishment of God. Though he stopped short of saying so himself.


:blessyou:

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Re: Perfect love

Postby Sonbeam on Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:55 am

Hi Mark,

I also enjoyed reading your post. The grace of our Lord is so awesome ... beyond our full comprehension really.

You asked the question:

Wondering, is it really really true?? Can it be true?? How can it be true! How can it be that we just get a free pass on everything, all we've done, all we're doing, all we will do?


And I agree with you. It is true. This is biblical.

There is a lot more to be said on this. The nuts and bolts of why this is such a gospel truth, but that would require another thread. :grin:

Then you wrote the following:

I was literally afraid of the idea, but I was scheduled to teach Colossians 3 to a group of people, knowing God's warning in James, that teachers will be judged more strictly, and Colossians 3 says we all will be there.


The idea that "teachers will be judged" conflicts with the first statement since teaching would be one of the things that is "done, " "it's being done" ...... an action, a work.

How do you see it Mark?

:blessyou:

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Re: Perfect love

Postby mark s on Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:29 am

Hi Sonbeam,

I just go with what it says:

James 3:1 (ESV)

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.


Of course, we will all be judged for what we've done in the body of flesh. But we will not be condemned as sinners.

Our works will "pass through the fire" (1 Cor 3), what remains will be our reward.

I think the point from James is my fire will be turned up a little hotter.

:oops:

Much love!
Mark
ειπεν αυτη ο ιησους εγω ειμι η αναστασις και η ζωη ο πιστευων εις εμε καν αποθανη ζησεται
. . . saying to her Jesus, I AM the resurrection and the life, the one believing into Me even dying shall live . . .
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Re: Perfect love

Postby Resurrection Torchlight on Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:23 am

Sonbeam wrote:Hi RT,

I really enjoyed your post and agree with it.

I would have been just as frustrated as you were listening to your legalistic pastor. Is it possible that you could
confront him with the truth? Gently. :grin:

I was just so frustrated sitting there listening to him chide the congregation that they need to fear God when they sin. I just do not see that the passage in Joshua applies to believers under the New Covenant. And he failed completely to even mention the part that does apply to us, that God's hand is mighty and He is able to alter the physics of the natural order to accomplish His will.

In short what my Pastor was claiming is that because we don't love God perfectly and we don't love others perfectly that we are not perfected in love and therefore must fear God, which in my mind means we must fear the punishment of God. Though he stopped short of saying so himself.


:blessyou:

sonbeam



Hi Sonbeam,

Well I have given that some thought. But my experience is that he doesn't take criticism very well, even when done gently. My husband and I have tried in the past with some other dubious interpretations, showing him from scripture why we disagreed. Here's a for instance: One of the elders went on a missionary trip with a group of veterinarians to provide free care for people's animals- a worthy cause. But When he shared what he got out of the trip he told the congregation that he was able to share the gospel with animals. (Yes- animals). He used the passage in Mark 16:15 that says to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation, to justify this idea. So we had a casual chat with the pastor about it and he graciously accepted what we shared with him and why we disagreed with this elder's interpretation. But the following week he preached a sermon that totally defended what this man had said and even praised him from the pulpit. There have been other times we have tried to show him as friends where we feel he got it wrong. And though he says from the pulpit that he welcomes accountability the reality is that he doesn't so much. He is young and insecure so we have taken a wait and see approach with him for now. If God opens a door for us to say something then we shall.

Our experience with pastors has been the same wherever we have attended, it usually ends with us being sidelined or maligned in some way and eventually having to leave.

For now I will pray for God to open his heart to knowing the truth of His word.

RT
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Re: Perfect love

Postby Sonbeam on Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:34 pm

Our experience with pastors has been the same wherever we have attended, it usually ends with us being sidelined or maligned in some way and eventually having to leave.


Yes, with one exception, unfortunately this has been our experience too. I will be praying for your pastor as
led by our Lord.

God bless you,
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