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Archive for September, 2016

I love learning, but much that is called “knowledge” is either incomplete or false, and even that which is true is often misapplied. Greater knowledge and endless data won’t solve all our problems (1st Corinthians 8:1-2). Adam and Eve would tell us that today, but we wouldn’t necessarily believe them.

Sometimes we are simply unable to do that which we know should be done. I know that my family needs more money coming in than we have going out, but that knowledge doesn’t help me. Organizations that know more about making money than I do are stealing my lunch money. What can I do about it? The devil can keep us so busy swatting at flies that it can become our way of life. Regardless of what I know, try, or pray, I’m living on the verge of simply reacting to the next crisis. The future depends upon the intervention of God.

There is some truth in the saying that it takes money to make money. Instead of striving to make necessities as affordable as possible, the focus of most of those with money is on the greatest return on investments. This means trouble for the “working poor.” It means trouble for our country, for money goes where money is to be made, whether it in the best interest of our neighbors or not. Knowledge doesn’t prevent greed; it only makes it smarter.

Misapplied knowledge is hurtful, but so is a lack of knowledge. Partially conceived doctrines, chiseled into law, can prevent us from understanding the real reasons why the world is as it is. That is true of secular doctrines as well as religious. Man’s abuse of God-given freewill, along with a quest for knowledge and fulfilment apart from God, creates an environment where many evil things happen unforeseen. The Bible says that “time and chance” happen to all of us (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Calling the consequences of all of humanity’s wrong choices “God’s will,” keeps people from understanding the goodness of God.

In many cases, laws intended to counteract evil come to stand in direct conflict with God, even to the point where God and truth are criminalized. Jesus was “counted” with the transgressors (Mark 15:28, Isaiah 53:12). Laws don’t always work out the way they were intended. Just as knowledge fails us, so does the rule of law. At their heart, both knowledge and law can be said to be good, yet both fail due to problems of the human heart, and ultimately the only thing that can pull us through is the grace of love (“God is love,” 1st John 4:16).

Since “God is love,” it follows that a doctrine that isn’t tempered by love can never be purely “Christian.” Doctrines that lift their bearers above question are almost always questionable, and doctrines devoid of love can’t express the character of the inventor and creator of love. Such doctrines can inhibit a real understanding of God, of ourselves, and our fellow human beings.

While I’m on the subject, no human being has ever mastered the art of consistently being sensitive to the feelings of others. That is something that every Christian, on every day of the week, could repent of.

Unfeigned love for others is critical in communicating truth and doctrine. If we “have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge…, and have not love,” we are nothing (1st Corinthians 13:2). It is possible to be versed in correct doctrine without possessing the thing that really counts. Without love our doctrines can become a clanging symbol just as incomprehensible as any unknown tongue (1st Corinthians 13:1).

Some parts of the Bible are “hard to understand,” and can be interpreted in a destructive way (2nd Peter 3:15-16). It follows that if we destroy someone spiritually with our “strong meat” (Hebrews 5:14), then according to Romans 14:15, we are not “walking in love.”

It is so easy to miss the trail when we speak of “walking in love.” Love rejoices in truth, thinks no evil, and seeks the good of others before its own. We often “miss it.” That is what the word sin means; a missing of the mark (ref. the Hebrew word “chata,” and the Greek “hamartano”). Sin is a lack, or an abuse, of love. Other people use the fact the we “miss it” as an excuse to embrace “no religion,” or to invent new religions, or new denominations, but Jesus died for us, and the reason that Christianity exists is because all human beings miss the mark.

Forgiveness must exist because we all fall short of perfect love. By our hand, love is sacrificed, but love is sacrificial. That is what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is all about. Knowledge branches out on all tangents, but can never quite explain the sacrifices of love. According to 1st Timothy 1:5, the goal of the commandment is love, but no law can make us love anyone. The chain of the law can’t bind our heart to the heart of God.

Romans 10:4 says that Jesus is the end of the law for the believer. The broken link between Heaven and Earth is drawn together in the crucifixion of Jesus, one hand holding yours and mine, and the other in the hand of the Father of love.

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