Tag Archives: God is love

Think About a Verse

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

—-Deuteronomy 6:4-5

 

  • What difference does it make that the Lord is one, not many?
  • The founder of Islam, Mohammed, claimed that Christians are polytheists. Why do you think he said that? This is supposedly the reason he founded Islam. How would you explain to a Muslim that we believe that God is one God?
  • Why do you think Jews consider this verse so important? Do you think this verse has any special importance?
  • Why do you think the Lord asks for love in this verse rather than some other form of attachment such as loyalty or obedience?  How does a request for love differ from loyalty or obedience or even submission?
  • Where in the New Testament do you find an explanation of the love that comes from God? How does that call forth the response of love for God?
  • If this verse were hidden in your heart, when might you want to take it out and cling to it?
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Naming Sin is Judgment that is Intended to Call Sinners to God

There is a lot of pressure in the public forum now for Christians to stop saying that homosexuality is a sin. The word sin apparently has a lot of power in the public eye. Two things about that fact are interesting to contemplate. On the one hand, for something to be a sin, there must be a god against whom one would sin, and fewer and fewer people acknowledge any such entity. On the other hand, since both the idea of a god and the idea of sin are alleged to be myths, why should anyone care what believers of myths say? In other words, if Christians are just a bunch of ignorant myth-believers, who cares if they say that their god teaches that homosexuality is a sin?

The answer is that God has written in the hearts of humans a message of his love and care for them, and he calls them all to relationship with him. When they arrogantly defy his love and reject his authority in their lives, they nonetheless must deal with that message. They are offended every time someone says, “but that’s a sin,” not because they accept the judgment, but rather, because they cannot really escape knowing that the external words mesh with God’s internal message that will not go away night or day. God never stops being the creator and the savior of every human being, and nobody can escape that still, small voice, the voice that is the silence inside a shell of a person who has given everything to Satan. Why do people become addicted to drugs and sex and thievery and vile speech and all the other obsessions that possess people? They succumb to the obsessions, because they believe that something somewhere somehow will finally drown out God’s message: “I love you. Come home.”

Secular thinkers would have us believe that unborn babies are not human and that they can be treated like trash, because they do not want to acknowledge that even in the womb, God is saying to the babies, “I love you. Come home.” They rip a baby out of the womb and dismember it the way a pack of hyenas might share in feasting on a gazelle, and they do not want to think that there is any consequence to the death of that tiny human being. They must believe that if they do it often enough they will stop hearing God call to them, “I love you. Come home.”

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that lust and homosexuality are equally sinful, and some readers may have felt I was being terribly judgmental. Please recognize that I have no authority or right to judge anyone. I am a sinner, too. I deal with sin every day. I suffer temptation, and I succumb to sinful desires or to sinful attitudes or to sinful obsessions just as anyone else does. Every day. When I identify lust and homosexuality as sin, I am using my head to read the Bible and opening my heart to listen to God’s guidance to help me understand the words. I am not the judge. God is. What the culture wants is for God to evolve along with human beings. The culture wants God to get on the right side of history and stop being so hateful about sin. Why do they act this way? They may say that they are mad at me for trying to be judge and jury by calling homosexuality a sin, but they are really trying to drown out God’s message inside each of them, “I love you. Come home.”

That is the real message of the Bible. When God points out our sins and shines his light on them so we cannot fail to see them, it is not for our destruction. God does not tell us about the punishment for sin in order to crush us. He does it in yet another attempt to help us stop covering our ears when he calls out, “I love you. Come home.”

Ancient Israel was no different from twenty-first century USA. The people liked sex in a thousand different forms. They did not like God’s expectation that they would enjoy sex in faithful marriages of one man and one woman as he had ordained at creation. They liked to have fun with sex and to experiment and to find out what they liked and then do it night and day with whomever. They were just like the LGBTQ advocates today, scorning all of God’s rules and hating God for presuming to make rules. They behaved with such promiscuity that God grieved deeply.

In the book of Isaiah it is recorded that God mourned what Israel had become, and he must just as surely mourn what the USA has become. He gave Isaiah a message to be written down for ancient Israel, and then by the power of the Holy Spirit, he preserved that message for thousands of years in order that it would be ready for the USA in this age. He said, “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name” (Isaiah 65:1 ESV). God called sin sin in the days of ancient Israel, and he still calls a sin a sin today. He doesn’t do it to harm us; he does it to help us. When we recognize that we are sinners, then we can begin to recognize how much we need him.

In plain language that everyone can see in black and white, God wrote this ancient message that is the same message he writes upon every human being at the moment of conception, a message that every human hears, like it or not, “I love you. Come home.”