Puerile Love vs Mature Love for the Lord
I’ve had occasion over my many years as a Christian to ask several long-time Christian friends and acquaintances what they know of Paul’s “revelation of the mystery” (Rom. 16:25) and they commonly have no answer and exhibit a puzzled look. They seem to have never heard of the phrase. This confirms they have never been taught the core elements of Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) for “the church, the body of Christ” as God’s message for mankind today.
Christians often say ‘I love the Lord; and ‘I love His word.’ Yet, phrases such as “the dispensation of the grace of God,” “the revelation of the mystery,” “a minister of the circumcision,” “the minister of the uncircumcision,” or “fellowship of the mystery” are foreign to them.
These Bible phrases from Paul as “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13) today are intimately connected with understanding the character, eternal plan, and purposes of the Cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who claims to love the Lord and yet is unaware of such core doctrines of “the faith” that we learn from Paul as written to the Gentles is like a wife who says she loves her husband but does not know where he works, when he goes to bed, or what he likes eats for dinner.
By contrast, a mature and substantive ‘love for the Lord’ should encourage us to know and understand what He is doing in this age today. Ah, but this requires reading, study, and learning what the Bible actually says, and that includes respecting the several Biblical dispensational relationships revealed therein. Sadly, most so-called Christian churches today are not Bible centered but rather more interested in singing and entertainment to make people ‘feel good.’ What about teaching “the word of truth” as it ought to be, “rightly divided” (2Tim. 2:15)
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (as seen in KJV only)
Paul tells us there is a way to grow in our understanding the elements of “the faith.”
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing [and by implication, learning] by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17
Many Say We Love Jesus:
Loving the Lord cannot be likened to the days of your high school crush. When people make this mistake, they confuse the nature of their relationship with the Lord as one similar to their girlfriend or boyfriend. They want to feel bubbly inside when they sing his name. They want to say He is beautiful, smart, sweet, exciting, and fun to be with. They want to hold hands as they walk on the beach, or, as the famous poem Christian goes, have him carry them on the beach.
This is a sappy view of our relationship to the Lord of glory and really it is a little disgusting, it is unbiblical. The is the result is an immature church membership that is more sensual and feel-good than spiritual.
Meanwhile, the true “gospel of the grace of God” and its ability to reach the lost is lost. Satan distracts whole denominations and both the church members and mankind from God’s pure Word of the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins). Thus, unbelievers and Christians are prevented from really knowing the Lord, His plan and His will. Paul here suggests knowing the Lord, not just knowing about the Lord.
“But ye have not so learned Christ; - Ephesians 4:20 (KJV)
The devil uses man centered religion to draw them away, seducing them away from the truth of God’s Word by substituting vain ‘feel-good’ words, religious tradition, and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3). Paul here below describes the false apostate Christian religion that will exist “in the latter times.”
1 Now the [Holy] Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats [as does Roman Catholicism], which [foods] God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. - 1 Timothy 4:1-3 (KJV)
God today is not trying to give a big hug to everyone on earth. He is offering Salvation to lost and dying souls “by grace through faith” in the finished Cross-work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ… that they may enter a genuinely intimate relationship with Him.
How Many Really Love Him with Understanding?
God has been operating with humanity for thousands of years through several dispensational ages. Today, God has commended his love toward us in such phrases as “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2). For “the grace of God” is the manifest expression of our loving and merciful God the Father who gave His Son at the Cross to be the sin-bearer and sin-offering for all who will believe.
Salvation is offered by Christ’s cross-work in which the Lord provides ungodly people Christ’s own righteousness imputed to them, without any ‘law requirement,’ IF they will believe. (Rom 3:22, 4:5).
Jesus did the work that we could not do to obtain for us what we did not deserve. We as believers have eternal life as a free “gift of God” through Christ (Rom 6:23). This is the teaching of Jesus Christ “according to the revelation of the mystery [Gk. musterion, secret plan of God]” (Romans 16:25) as result of the Cross.
Salvation … was not offered to us because of our passionate pursuit of the first commandment ‘to love the Lord God with all our heart, mind, soul’… hoping for a candlelight dinner with chocolates and roses someday in heaven.
Loving the Lord means to know Him and be interested in what he is doing today, not what we want him to do. This means we ought to be seeking to know Him and His eternal plan and purpose for the whole of creation.
Let’s compare some Bible facts concerning “the gospel of grace of God” for today.
- When Jesus taught “the law” to Israel while He was on earth (Matt. 15:24), He was performing His function as “a minister of the circumcision [Israel]” (Romans 15:8).
- But now, in this age of “the grace of God,” Jesus from heaven is ministering to us, “the uncircumcision,” that is to the Gentile members of “the body of Christ,” … Taking That Which Was Against Us … Out of The Way.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances [laws] that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Colossians 2:14 (KJV)
Paul also said, today we ought not to know Christ “after [according to] the flesh,” according to His human ministry on earth as Jesus of Nazareth to Israel. Rather … we know Him after His resurrected and ascended position in “the heavenly places” as “the Head” over all things to the members of “the One body of Christ.”
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have [past tense] known Christ after the flesh [as Jesus of Nazareth], yet NOW Henceforth know we him no more.” (2 Corinthians 5:16 (KJV)
Since we ought not to know Christ after the flesh as He was in His earthly ministry to Israel, then we should stop trying to hold his hand and rather, understand the truth, knowing that we today are his hands and feet on earth.
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” (Romans 12:5)