Monday, 26 March 2007

Loving lenses

A Ref21 reader reminds us of a comment MLJ made about the order of the 1st & 2nd great commandments, and the danger of reversing them: "Seeing our love for God through the lens of loving our neighbour vs. seeing our love for our neighbour through the lens of loving God."

I think that may be one mistake we're quite prone to. In Chalke's infamous title which I've just read, perhaps one of his mistakes is to understand God's love through the lens of our love. It ends up being a nice love, rather than a holy love, and thus is at odds with anger or punishment. (It also means he redefines holiness.) Whereas if we understand God's love as he's revealed it rather than through our lens of fallen human love, we see love the right way round. God is love. But we don't then get to define what that means: God does (in the same paragraph, which is handy, if you don't completely ignore it) -
[1 John 4.7-12] Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

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