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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Thursday, June 16, 2011
The Law and Love
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' - Mark 12:28-30 [ESV]

I want to show two, radically different things from this text today. There is a string that binds the two things together, but it may not be evident until I am through, and then again, only if I succeed in what I set out to show you.

First I want you to pretend that Christ returned five minutes ago, and you are standing before the judgement seat of God. Christ asks you two questions: [1] What was my greatest commandment? and [2] Did you make that, your greatest pursuit on earth?

I mean, if you're reading my blog the chances are good that you attend church regularly, read the bible, have a "prayer life", and would answer a hearty, "Yes!" to the question, "Do you love God?". Yet how many of us could answer Christ in the affirmative if that second question were put to us on judgment day?

I think, deep down, some might console themselves by thinking secretly that their lack of love was not truly their fault. I mean, you can't force genuine affection, it is either there or it isn't, and if it wasn't there, well... you surely wanted it to be, and isn't that the best you could have done anyway? So these console themselves in the conviction that even if they aren't pursuing daily the most important command given to men, that it doesn't really matter in the end, since they are going to heaven when they die anyway, and so what if they get a little less reward? There wasn't much they could do about it anyway, since faking love would be more offensive than failing to show love at all.

Now you might think that following a thought like that I would immediately encourage you to buck up, and make this commandment your live verse or something. Maybe you are expecting that I am going to tell you, in no uncertain language, that you have to start making this the priority if you ever want to be certain of your salvation, or maybe just if you ever want to have life more abundantly in the here and now.

Instead I would rather remind you that this command - the command to love God, is an old testament command, and part of the Mosaic Law. You can no more keep this command in your own strength, than you can keep the command not to covet in your own strength.

Which is really a nice segue into the second point: Telling believers that they must start loving God more is tantamount to preaching the law over and above the gospel.

The gospel is the news that [1] Jesus has come and done what we could not do (He kept the law), and [2] that Jesus saves (from their sin and God's wrath) those who put their trust wholly in God's promised provision, and that [3] all that was accomplished in and by Christ is ours if we are united with Christ by faith.

When we tell a believer that they must love God, or else! We are saying that whatever Christ did on behalf of the believer will only be applied if the believer keeps the law.

We call that sort of stuff the Galatian Error because it basically presumes that sanctification is accomplished by keeping the law.

The fact is that if you have come to God in Christ, it is Christ's love for God that you must stand upon and not your own. Whatever affection you are, or ever will be, able to muster will never suffice to satisfy the command of God.

Here is a delightful twist for you however. The more you learn to rest in what God has done - the more you will love Him, the more inclined you will be to obey Him - not to satisfy the law, but as an act of worship - the very thing that the law couldn't produce in you.
posted by Daniel @ 6:59 AM  
  • At 8:48 AM, June 16, 2011, Blogger David said…

    This is a difficult truth to live. I get it, but making it a reality eludes me.

  • At 10:34 AM, June 16, 2011, Blogger Daniel said…

    Well, it should elude you because Christ makes it a reality, and not you. :P

  • At 11:31 AM, June 16, 2011, Blogger David said…

    I can't win.

  • At 9:26 AM, June 17, 2011, Blogger donsands said…

    Good word my brother. I was thinking this morning, "God what do I love most in this life?" And it wasn't God. Yet, I do love our Lord, and our Father. And so maybe I do love Jesus the most, and don't really know it. Or perhaps my love for Christ is mingled with the remnant of sinful desires in my heart. The wonderful truth to stand on is that Jesus loves me in spite of myself. That makes joy joyful.

    Thanks for the lesson to cause me to cogitate God's truth.

    Have a terrific father's day Daniel.

  • At 8:18 AM, June 19, 2011, Blogger Daniel said…

    Don, I think it is the yearning of the Spirit within that makes us want to love God more than we do. How can it be otherwise? The work that our Lord is doing in each of His children is profound, and praiseworthy. I find that my own love for the Lord waxes and wanes, and never seems full, and yet, as I rest in Christ, and learn to rest in Christ more, so my love increases - and this not to my merit, but as the promised blessing that comes with rest --a gift of love.

    What a great God we serve! I hope your father's day is a good one as well.

  • At 8:07 AM, June 20, 2011, Blogger donsands said…

    I agree Daniel. In church yesterday we sang a song, "For the Glory of Your Name", and I was moved to tears of joy. Surely it's the Holy Spirit who makes our soul's affections godly and focused on Christ our loving Savior. And the words and melody also help stir love & joy in our hearts. God gives us so much.


    ps I did have quite a fine father's day. I am very blessed to know I am loved, in spite of who I am.
    May we both have a joyful week in knowing Christ loves us more than we will ever know.

  • At 7:54 AM, June 21, 2011, Blogger Bob Johnson said…

    This was a blessed and welcome word for me, today... you have no idea how much so.

    Thanks, brother.

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