GOD IS LOVE
"God is Love." This simple yet complex statement is found only twice1, 2 in the Bible and is commonly presented out of context. It is generally misunderstood and often circulated in a fashion that leads many into Hell. The statement –while very easy to make and accept when presented in its undefined form– has a depth of reality far beyond what the average person wants to know even though such knowledge is critical to salvation. 1. "Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love." [1 John 4:8 ] 2. "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us*. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him." [1 John 4:16] * This usage of the term "us" refers only to men of faith. In the following important prelude to the above passages the term "if" is used five (5) times. Entry into eternal life must always be considered as conditional: "Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, "We have fellowship with him," while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, "We are without sin," we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins,3 he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, "We have not sinned," we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." [1 John 1:5-10] 3. "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." [John 20:23] — This authority was given by Jesus to the eleven apostles –even though only ten were present at the time– and to their validly ordained successors on Easter Sunday during His first visitation with them. All validly ordained priests (also known by the terms presbyters and elders) have this authority even though not materially present during this visitation. NOTE: The references in the book of Hebrews to Jesus being High Priest should be seen as a clear statement that there were other priests serving under His authority. (Priests can only be ordained by someone with demonstratable authority from God to ordain. They can never be elected or self-appointed.) It must be understood that true love reflects the totality of goodness. Absolute goodness resides in God alone and is shared by Him with those who have sincerely sought association with Him. When one honestly seeks out God one is looking for that fullness of truth found only in God. A fullness of truth that few have any real desire to put into practice. Those who eventually reach Heaven have all truth present to them and can utilize any truth they seek, but they remain incapable of possessing at any given time the totality of truth. Goodness is dependent upon truth and truth leads to justice. Not only must one desire truth and make a sincere effort to acquire all of the spiritual truths that are available and within one's capacity to understand, but one must also be willing to put them into practice as opportunities present themselves. Without truth their can be no understanding of goodness and goodness demands service to God and neighbor according to the teachings of Jesus, Son of Man/Son of God. Justice is a cohort of goodness and has as its foundation the Word of God that is always truth. Justice is the exercise of works in the service of both positive and negative commands of God – what one must do and what one must not do to obtain eternal happiness. Good deeds are meritorious works (witnesses to faith), benefitting the Heavenly Kingdom, that are performed by those who still reside in this life. While no quantity or quality of works can substitute for the salvific act accomplished once by Jesus on the cross – that allowed access to Heaven to those judged worthy (Matthew 25:32), they are...
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