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The Joy of My Beloved

 

There are many other thoughts that I could share with you as to why I delight in my Beloved but there would not be room enough in many volumes to express such things as John stated:

 

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25

 

Yet there is something that I need to share with you as to why I have chosen my Beloved and why He is sweeter than all the world.

 

There are many Christians today who subscribe to the following idea

when they speak of the love of God.

 

“Love is of some one that loves, and with love something is loved.” Augustine. De Trinitite “On the Trinity” Book VIII

 

Springing from this notion of love that is understood to exist within the Trinity, we find the following:

 

If God is truly—in His very essence—the God of “love” (John 3:16 and 1 John 4:8), then we need to consider the following implications. Could one who has existed from all eternity past and who made us in His loving image—could this God truly be called love if He existed only as a solitary being? Is not love especially divine love, possible only if the one


 

who made our universe was a plural being who was exercising “love” within His divine plurality from all eternity past?...[now quotes from Bruce Metzger] “The Unitarian professes to agree with the statement that ‘God is love.’ But these words ‘God is love,’ have no real meaning unless God is at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God were a single person, then before the universe was made, he was not love. For, if love be of the essence of God, he must have possessed an eternal object of love. Furthermore, perfect love is possible only between equals. Just as a man cannot satisfy or realize his powers of love by loving the lower animals, so God cannot satisfy or realize his love by loving man or any creature. Being infinite, he must have eternally possessed an infinite object of his love, some alter ego, or, to use the language of traditional Christian theology, a consubstantial, co-eternal, and co-equal Son. The Trinity, Whidden, Moon and Reeve, page 115,116.

 

The first point to note is the reference to 1 John 4:8 which tells us that “God is love.” Those who support the Trinity would have us believe that this reference “God is love” refers to three persons of equal status that love each other, yet if we read this verse in its immediate context we find something different.

 

1 John 4:7-12 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. (8) He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10) Herein 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 ought also to love one another. (12) No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.



 

As I understand this passage, John defines the love of God in the giving of His Son to die for us. So at the end of verse 8 he defines God as love and then expands this definition into the manifestation of God sending His Son. Would not consistency of usage in this passage


 

point to the fact that the God mentioned in verse 8 is the same God in verse 9-12? Does this not suggest that the God in verse 8 is the Father and that His love is revealed in the giving of His Son?

 

The second thing I would like to mention is that the Greek word for love in 1 John 4:8 is agape. . My understanding from my studies is that agape is a love that invests value rather than seeks it. God giving His Son to us invests value in us and is indeed agape. Yet when we look at the love describing the Trinity, we see that this God needs an object equal to Himself for His full powers of love to be expressed. This type of love is seeking value and fulfilling a need. These are not descriptions of agape but of another type of love.

 

Agape is often contrasted with eros, which is not found in the New Testament though it is prominent in Greek philosophy. Eros can refer to a vulgar, carnal love, but in the context of Hellenic thought it takes the form of spiritual love that aspires to procure the highest good. Eros is the desire to possess and enjoy[the need or desire for another]; agape is the willingness to serve without reservations.... Eros is attracted to that which has the greatest value[the need for equal status or co-equality]; agape goes out to the least worthy. Eros discovers value[seeks equal] wheras[sic] agape creates value.[makes equal] Agape is a gift love whereas eros is a need love. Eros springs from a deficiency that must be satisfied. Agape is the overflowing abundance of divine grace.God the Almighty: Power, Wisdom, Holiness and Love, Donald Bloesch, 2006, page 147.1

 

While it might come as a surprise for many Adventists to think anyone would connect eros with the love of God, this is well understood in the Roman Catholic Church.

 

God is the absolute and ultimate source of all being; but this universal principle of creation—the Logos, primordial reason—is at the same time a lover with all the passion of a true love. Eros is thus supremely ennobled, yet at the same time it is so purified as to become one with agape. Pope Benedict IX Encyclical Letter, 2005, Deus Caritas Est “God is Love.”

 

1. comments in square brackets are supplied


 

Here is one of the vital differences between the Trinity and the Father

and His Son and I really want to underscore this pivotal point.

 

The Trinity seeks equal while the Father makes equal.

 

The unspeakably sad reality of the Trinity is that if perfect love can only be found in seeking one who is equal then anyone less than equal to God can never be the recipient of perfect love. If our conception of God is three persons of equal power that love each other then we can never be worthy of their perfect love. With this notion of God, we become susceptible to seeking pathways for our eyes to be opened and become like gods (Gen 3:5) in order to be worthy of God’s perfect love. The Trinity places me on a platform that forces me to try and be like the Most High that I might win that perfect love.

 

The sweet reality of my Beloved is that all things were given into His hands by the Father.

 

For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; John 5:26

 

If God gave His Son to have Life in Himself, then is this not an expression of agape? God the Father invests value in His Son and makes Him equal. Is this not what 1 John 4:8 indicates? Since my Beloved was given everything by His Father, when I behold the Son of God, I am beholding One who has had everything invested in Him. I no longer behold a picture of one who finds acceptance by being equal, but rather, I behold one that was made equal because He was accepted.

 

I know that my Lord Jesus Christ inherited all that the Father has and is fully divine through that inheritance, and in that inheritance I am able to hear the loving words of a real Father who spoke to His Son. The words Father and Son only find meaning through inheritance which agape allows and eros denies.

 

In these precious words of the Father to His only begotten Son, I find my assurance of sonship. The agape of God flows through His Son and speaks to me.

 

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved

[agapētos] Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matt 3:17

 

And the word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,”


 

Embraces humanity. God spoke to Jesus as our representative.With all our sins and weaknesses, we are not cast aside as worthless. “He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6. The glory that rested upon Christ is a pledge of the love of God for us. It tells us of the power of prayer,--how the human voice may reach the ear of God, and our petitions find acceptance in the courts of heaven. By sin, earth was cut off from heaven, and alienated from its communion; but Jesus has connected it again with the sphere of glory. His love has encircled man, and reached the highest heaven. The light which fell from the open portals upon the head of our Saviour will fall upon us as we pray for help to resist temptation. The voice which spoke to Jesus says to every believing soul, This is My beloved child, in whom

I am well pleased. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2. Desire of Ages, page 113.

 

It is the complete inheritance of Christ that reveals that the Father has agape for His Son. If Christ did not receive an inheritance, then we cannot be certain that God has agape for His Son. If the Son possessed all power from Himself and simply gave Himself then the Father in recognition of what the Son already has, would phileo2 the Son. Yet the Father said that He had agape for His Son. This can only become reality through the inheritance of Christ. Only in giving all to His Son, could the Father truly agape Him, for only then can we be certain that the love of God is not based upon any inherent quality of the Son, and it is this love that sets us free.

 

Through the agape given to Christ, I can take hold of these words in Matthew 3:17 because agape invests value in me and allows me to believe that I am His son through Christ, while Eros condemns me because it seeks value of which I have none. Agape speaks to me with full of assurance when I read:

 

…but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. John 20:17

2 Properly dear, that is, a friend; actively fond, that is, friendly (still as a noun, an

associate, neighbor, etc.): - friend. Strongs Concordance G5384.


 

The Father of Jesus is my Father, and the God of Jesus is my God. All this I possess through Christ, the unique Son of God, who is the greatest demonstration of agape the universe can ever behold. This is why the Father exalts His Son and gives Him a name above all names. Christ Jesus is the highest revelation of God’s agape love.

 

For years the Trinity subtly denied me the joy of knowing I could be truly loved by God. The co-equal, co-eternal status of its members etched into my mind the sad lie that God is seeking value and desires those who are already equal. Now with fullness of joy, I can proclaim to you that my knowledge of the only begotten Son has set me free from this terrible lie, and now I can see my heavenly Father as having perfect love for me and that He has invested in me all the riches of heaven, for He gave His Son to die for me. I no longer need to seek to be “like the Most High.” His perfect agape love is all I need to remain content in the sphere for which I was created.

 

So in Christ Jesus, my joy is complete. As I behold my mighty prince and see Him clothed in His Father’s agape love, I am overcome with delight. I am finding rest for my soul and indeed found His yoke easy and His burden light. 


 

Postlude

 

Dear Father in Heaven, how I praise You, honour You and worship You for Your tender mercies and boundless love in providing Your Son as my propitiation, Priest and Prince. I thank you for saving me from certain death and revealing to me the dangers and wiles of the tempter. You showed me clearly that his promises were empty and his foundation like shifting sand.

 

I thank You for leading me step by step towards Your Most Holy Place. Now I see upon these sacred walls, the beauty of the open flowers and the palm tree (1 Kings 6:20). You fed me with heavenly bread and lighted my path with pure light. You sent Elijah to confront me, and You allowed fiery trials to purify me. Yet through all these things, You sent the Spirit of your Son into my heart crying, “Abba Father.”

 

Dear Father, I cling to the assurances of Your Word. My emotions overwhelm me at the thought of these things. Therefore I am anchored to the surety of your words. Who could imagine that a poor, weak and foolish man as I am, could obtain the favour of my LORD and the gift of His Son?

 

Your throne is ruled in righteousness, justice and truth. Yet above all these You are crowned with mercy, patience and love – Agape love that invests and creates worth rather than seeks worth for itself.

 

Father, let me stay with you in this Most Holy Place; let all my dross be taken away. Let the Spirit of Your Son abide always with me and teach me Your Commandments. I want Your Law written in my heart and desire it to be my meditation day and night.


 

I trust that my Beloved is preparing a room for me in your large house. I am moved to tears that You would welcome me so lovingly into your home and desire me to be there.

 

These things from my heart I present to you in the name of my

Beloved, Your only begotten Son. Amen.


 


Date: 2015-12-18; view: 416


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