Saturday, May 19, 2007

Secondary, Tertiary, or Essential? (part five)

Why Do We Love God First and Our Neighbor Second

Much of religion talks about loving one’s neighbor, meanwhile ignoring the love of God. Of course, if everyone loves his neighbor, then obviously some of that love is going to be coming our way. On top of that, loving God is controversial. If we are to love God, then we have to agree on Who He is and there is a lot of argument today about that. People tend to like religion that enhances the value of their own lives. As a result, God doesn’t just not get loved, but He generally gets disregarded or even mistreated.

For instance, in churches today, often people choose their worship based on what makes the people feel good. Again, they are "loving" people without loving God. And that’s fine with them, and they figure that God will understand. After all, "does anyone think that God wants us to feel bad?" Or that "He doesn’t want us to enjoy ourselves?" However, even though people might like the worship, is it actually benefitting them? Are they better off in the long run making themselves feel good in the short term? In other words, can we really love people when we don’t love God?

Jesus said in Matthew 22:38 concerning loving God, "This is the first and great commandment." Loving your neighbor is the second commandment. I think that we should assume, based upon the word "great," that loving God is first in importance. The term "first" (protos) is also used to indicate something first in sequence. Actually, first, or earlier, is the by a huge margin the primary way that this word is used. It mainly has the understanding of being first in order. On just a handful of occasions does it carry with it the extra idea of importance. I believe that primarily the word relates to the time element. Before we can love our neighbor, we must love God. Loving God comes earlier than loving our neighbor.

The ten commandments have two halves. The first half of the ten commandments (1-4) deal with God and the second half (5-10) deal with man. Before we can obey the second half of the commandments, we need to obey the first half of the commandments. Loving God comes before loving man. When we rank importance, God is more important than man. This simple division in God’s law does not mean that now we should rank all of the laws in matter of importance. God is more important than man is. God is greater than man is. No one can love man without God. God created us. We can’t even live without God. Everything is dependent on God. Therefore, the first and great commandment is to love God. Love of neighbor comes second.

Generally, Satan wants to rid the world of the love of God, even if it occurs by means of placing love of man ahead love of God. When people start making love of man more important than loving God, God will not be worshiped and man will not be saved. Satan opposed the plan of God and God’s plan includes putting Him first. In the end, men will worship another man, the Antichrist. Man’s interests will come before God’s. God will destroy all of those people in that entire system.

Part of the Satanic deception that I see today is turning the love of God into the love of man. Men say that they love God, but they do not obey everything that He says. Some of what God says does not fit into what man wants to do. Instead of doing what God said, men do what they want to do. Then they say, "What’s important is that I love God. And I do love God. And I really don’t like your judging whether I love God or not." Men don’t want to be judged by others for their love of man (themselves). They want you to assume that they love God based upon their profession, instead of judging them based upon what God said. Many passages of Scripture expose this faux love of God for what it is, love of self. Among these, 1 John 2:3-5 reads: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."

The secondary/primary doctrine advocates turn this "first" and "second" commandment reading into permission to rank all of the commandments of God into essentials and non-essentials. Ironically, by ranking them, they are undermining the first of God’s commandments—love God. We can’t love God if we don’t keep His commandments. He that loves God will keep all of His Words, Sayings, and Commands (John 14:15, 21, 24). Who are we to tell God what is important and what isn’t important? God said that He was more important than man, but that was it. Of course, if we don’t receive Him or believe in Him, we will be eternally punished. Those who receive the greatest punishment will be those who had the greatest opportunity to receive Him, but didn’t. For those who do receive Him, they will be judged based on their faithfulness to what He said—everything that He said.