The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 2/13

Posted on | February 13, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 2/13

Scripture reading: I John 4:7–21

A Little Lesson in Logic

God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)

The apostle John gave us one of the most profound statements ever made about the essential nature of deity when he said, “God is love” (I John 4:8, 16). Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the vocabulary and grammar. These words are explosive, mind-boggling and revolutionary. One reason many have failed to grasp the enormity of what John is saying is because they assume his statement is reversible. If “God is love,” then “Love is God,” right? Isn’t this just two ways of saying the same thing? No one has helped me to better understand the perversity (not to mention the irrationality) of such an assertion than Peter Kreeft. In his book The God Who Loves You, he writes:

A fourth misunderstanding of love is the confusion between “God is love” and “Love is God.” The worship of love instead of the worship of God makes two deadly mistakes. First, it uses the word “God” as only another word for love, so that God is thought of more as a concept or ideal than as a person. Second, it divinizes the love we already know rather than showing us a love we do not know, a new kind of love. To understand this last point, consider the following little lesson in logic. “A is B” does not mean the same thing as “A equals B”, for “A equals B” is reversible. But “A is B” is not. If A=B, then B=A, but if A is B, that does not mean that B is A. “That house is wood” does not mean “Wood is that house.” . . . When we say “A is B,” we begin with a subject, A, that we assume our hearer already knows. Then we add a new predicate to it, B, that he does not yet know. “Mother is sick” means: “You know Mother. Well, let me tell you something I think you do not know about her. She is sick.”

So “God is love” means: “Let me tell you something new about the God you already know. This God is essentially love; he is love through and through.” But “Love is God” means: “Let me tell you something about the love you already know, your own natural, human love: that is God. That is ultimate reality. Seek no further for God. You have already gone as far as anyone can ever go.” In other words, “God is love” is the most profound thing we have ever heard. But “Love is God” is idolatry and deadly nonsense.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ invites you to discover a new kind of love that comes from the God you already know. This love (agape in Greek) is so new and revolutionary that the writers of the New Testament had to find a “new” word to describe it. There were three other Greek terms for “love” that they could have theoretically chosen: eros (desire), storge (affection), and philia (friendship). But none of these adequately expressed what God had done or who he really was. They chose a word (agape) that had hardly been used at all in classical Greek so that they could give it a unique and explosive meaning!

In your worship of God, allow him to reveal himself to you for who he really is: love. Set aside your own personal agenda for worship and let him accomplish his. He wants to pour into your heart an ocean of his own agape-love through his Spirit dwelling inside of you. He wants you to be like himself!

 

Love begins to be a demon the moment he begins to be a god. —C. S. Lewis

point to ponder If God is love and lives inside you, if your life is not characterized by love, something is tragically wrong.

prayer focus More of God; less of me.

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