An important distinction

I must be going through a C.S.Lewis phase as I’ve now moved on to his book: “The Four Loves”. In the introduction to this book, he makes a very important distinction that could not have been more applicable in his days, then it is for us within the church today.

C.S.Lewis wrote: St. John’s saying that God is love has long been balanced in my mind against the remark of a modern author (M. Denis de Rougemont) that ‘love ceases to be a demon only when he ceases to be a god’; which of course can be re-stated in the form ‘begins to be a demon he moment he begins to be a god.’ This balance seems to me an indispensable safeguard. If we ignore it the truth that God is love may slyly come to mean for us the converse, that love is God.

The idea of love being the be-all and end-all is very popular today. Society has set love up in the place of God, and we in the church must be careful not to do the same.

GOD IS LOVE, BUT LOVE IS NOT GOD!

Popular media constantly produces new movies about relationships, with “love” as the central theme. Unfortunately, all too often the “love” portrayed in these films in no way reflects love as defined in Scripture. Love talked of in Scripture brings unity, faithfulness, good will, kindness, forgiveness, patience, and so on.

“Love” and happiness are portrayed in the media as what we must pursue before all else. The love referred to here is love that makes us feel good, and is changeable. If someone we once “loved” no longer makes us feel gooey inside, then we can drop them from our lives without guilt. The Bible calls us to “love one another”.  The love referred to here is self-sacrificing, laying down one’s life for others.

GOD IS LOVE, BUT LOVE IS NOT GOD!

“Love” is also being used as the call to mingle all religions together; the idea that: “it doesn’t matter what you believe, or who you serve, so long as you love”, is being used to promote universalism. This mingling of faiths is called syncretism, and Apostle Paul fought strongly against it in his time, as we can see through his letters (e.g. Colossians). The church today must continue the fight against syncretism of faiths.

A couple of posts ago I included a link to a video put out by the pope. In this video, he has leaders from different religions declaring: “I believe in love”. What are they trying to imply by this? My personal interpretation is that they are promoting universalism of religion – that it doesn’t matter which god you believe in, or what you practise, so long as you believe that love is what binds us together. The Bible makes it clear that there is only one True God, and that we are to be faithful to Him alone. It is being in Him that we learn to love – to love as God loves. 

GOD IS LOVE, BUT LOVE IS NOT GOD!

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. (1 John 4:7-12, emphasis added)

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:13-15, emphasis added)

Let us hold fast to the True God. Let us stand firm in our faith. Let us love as commanded in Scripture. And let us remember that it is God who teaches us how to love.

GOD IS LOVE, BUT LOVE IS NOT GOD!

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