Ever look in the mirror, see your own eyes, and wonder, “Who is that?” Ever stare at a photograph taken by someone who knows you and think, “Is that me? That can’t be what I really look like to others.”William Shakespeare, via his character Hamlet, writes:“To thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou can not then be false to any man.”In knowing your self, being honest to your self; you then must be honest and true with every other person, according to Shakespeare. Logically it follows then to know your self. God says to find your self — your real self — you must turn to Him. Once you find God and thereby your self, knowing both Him and your real self is best accomplished through the Word.“For the word of God is quick, and speedy in working, and more able to pierce than any twain-edged sword [two-edged sword], and stretcheth forth [till] to the parting of the soul and of the spirit, and of the jointures and marrows, and deemer of thoughts, and of intents of hearts.”The mirror is a fine instrument for checking your appearance, but if you want to know who you really are, open your Bible.
“In this thing?” What thing is this? Is the author using this phrase for emphasis, akin to “thing is…” or “see here…” or “verily, verily…” as used by Jesus Himself? Is this why the New International Version completely eliminates this carrier phrase? Or does the author mean “in Christ” when he states “in this thing”?
8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is charity.
9 In this thing the charity of God appeared in us, for God sent his one begotten Son into the world, that we live by him.
10 In this thing is charity, not as we had loved God, but for he first loved us, and sent his Son forgiveness for our sins [and sent his Son helping for our sins].
If we do not love others, we don’t know God for God is charity. God is love. In Christ, the charity of God appears in us because God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, into the world. In Christ is love. God first loves us in Christ. He sent His Son so as to forgive us our sins. And, we live by Him.
Jesus emphasizes one element of life in His statement — that element of life is love: love of God, love of self, love of others. He says to love God “of all thine heart, and in all thy soul, and in all thy mind.” He says this love of God “is the first and most commandment;” it is love itself. The second commandment is like it except its focus of love is on self and others.
“Jesus said to him, Thou shalt love thy Lord God, of all thine heart, and in all thy soul, and in all thy mind [Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, of all thine heart, and of all thy soul, and in all thy mind]. This is the first and the most commandment. And the second is like to this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Jesus doesn’t say, “Judge others as you judge yourself.” He doesn’t say, “Hold everyone accountable for every mistake.” He doesn’t say, “God hates you because you hate Him.” Rather Jesus encourages us to put God first in our hearts, our souls, our minds. In putting God first, we acknowledge His sacrificial love of us. We gather His strength so we are able to love and accept both ourselves and others.
After being healed of his leprosy — healed by his obedience to the command of Elisha to dip himself seven times in the river Jordan — Naaman and all his servants find the man of God. Naaman declares to Elisha:
“Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift.” (2 Kings 5:15, NIV)
Elisha refuses a gift. Naaman presses him, but Elisha is adamant as God’s healing is not for sale. Naaman then asks Elisha for a gift — for as much earth as a pair of mules can carry. Presumably this earth will be ‘holy ground’ upon which Naaman will be able to worship only the God of Israel. He also requests pardon for the assistance he must provide to his king during worship. The king leans on Naaman’s arm when bowing in worship to the god of…
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Naaman, a commander in the army of the king of Aram, is admired. He is a man of valor, but he is also leprous. A captive girl of Israel — serving Naaman’s wife — is bold enough to say to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:3, NIV) Obviously Naaman’s wife tells her husband of the girl’s suggestion for Naaman asks the king of Aram if he may go to the king of Israel regarding this cure. The king says, “By all means, go.” (2 Kings 5:5) He even writes a letter of introduction to the king of Israel for his servant, Naaman. And, Naaman does not arrive in Israel empty-handed. He comes with silver, gold, and “ten sets of clothing.” (2 Kings 5:5)
But, the king of Israel is distressed by the…
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The one who knows the truth; who believes in the Lord — in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — loves mercy. That those who believe in Jesus and His sacrifice also love mercy should come as no surprise. Jesus is the epitome of mercy. The opposite of mercy is evil. “They err that work evil.”
“He that believeth in the Lord, loveth mercy; they err that work evil. Mercy and truth make ready goods (Mercy and truth bring forth good things);”
A lot of wrath rolls off the tongues of those who ought to remember that “mercy and truth bring forth good things.”
In perfect charity, neither fear nor reluctance exists. If we fear or are reluctant to love — or to accept love — then we are still concerned with pain and punishment. Dread means “to fear greatly; be in extreme apprehension of; to be reluctant to do, meet, or experience.”
“Dread is not in charity, but perfect charity putteth out dread [but perfect charity sendeth out dread]; for dread hath pain. But he that dreadeth, is not perfect in charity.”
Jesus says, “Be not your heart afraid [Be not your heart distroubled], nor dread it; ye believe in God, and believe ye in me.” (John 14:1)
Don’t live in dread. Live in love. Jesus’ love is perfect.