"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « New Highly Recommended Books | Main | Christ's Use of the Law to Promote Piety in the Christian »

    Love and Knowledge by Pastor John Samson

    "Which commandment is the most important of all?"
    Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' - Mark 12:28-30 ESV

    If you love someone, you want to know all about them don't you? You want to learn of their likes and dislikes, their interests and hobbies, as well as their hopes and dreams.

    How different this is from our culture's mindset. Love is portrayed as merely a feeling (which it certainly is, but it is far more than that). A pop song of a former era describes the essence of love in many people's minds today. The title, "Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name?" says it all. But is that true? Can love exist without knowledge? I don't think so. Loving someone does not mean merely feeling something, but also knowing something. Could someone truly love another person yet have no interest in knowing more about them? I don't think so.

    When it comes to God, Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. We often hear sermons telling us to love Him with our hearts, and even our strength (having a passion to spread His Gospel through our life and testimony). But what of the soul, and what of the mind? We love God with our minds by consistently thinking right thoughts about Him; by finding out what He has revealed about Himself to us in His Word.

    Ever since I came to Christ as a teenager, there has been a burning desire, planted in my heart (by God) to know more about God. My heart's cry is to know Him more - who He is, what He likes, what He dislikes, and how He operates. How I wish I could plant this same desire in every person's heart - but that is something only God can do. For me, the greatest joy in life comes in knowing and loving God. You see, I put the two together not just knowing, not just loving, but knowing and loving. Loving God with our minds means loving the truth He has revealed about Himself. Does this mean merely listing the attributes and characteristics of God on some piece of paper? Does it mean putting the list on the refrigerator so we see it each day? No, it means far more than that. It means a radical shift in focus - being engrossed with thinking about these things, and allowing the Bible's revelation about God to permeate our own thoughts, as we go about our daily business. All of us should be setting aside time to study His Word - not only for the practical benefits of putting His Word into effect in our lives, but also for the wondrous joy of simply knowing Him.

    As Dr. R. C. Sproul stated so well, "No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian has a theology. The issue, then, is not, do we want to have a theology? That's a given. The real issue is, do we have a sound theology? Do we embrace true or false doctrine?" When we get our thinking right about God - when we comprehend, for instance, that He is infinite, eternal, unchanging, Sovereign, holy and just, as well as love and abundant in mercy, we can then begin to get the Gospel right. God in His love sent His Son to save all who believe in Christ from His just and holy wrath. When the beginning point in our thinking is a correct understanding of God, the ripple effect is a right understanding of all other doctrines, which is a central component in loving God with all our minds.

    Posted by John Samson on March 1, 2007 12:32 PM


    Pastor John, I have long recognized a deficiency in my walk regarding this very commandment. I find myself always fighting the flesh to make time for study and prayer. More often then not and increasingly so the flesh wins. My wife will inquiringly ask if I am going to do my bible study tonight and in my heart I respond to that as if she were asking me to do a chore. Immediately my heart is convicted yet I am still sloth to do it. Often in the prayer/study closet I find my mind wandering or even falling asleep. What is wrong with me? I once had such a hunger. How did I get here?

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