THE RIDDLE OF 1 CORINTHIANS 13:3 SOLVED – WHAT IS REAL LOVE? Part 2

Love (the real thing) happens in your soul when you understand/believe Pure Grace.  When you understand that all of those good things that you have felt obligated to do to please God have already been done as far as God is concerned, credited to your “account” – those and even more than those – such that your account is already in perfect standing with God.  And that He wants nothing more FROM you.  He wants to give TO you.  You are not His employee.  You are his favorite child.  He wants you to return to the Garden of Eden, so to speak, where all was provided, work was done “for fun”, not to try to gain any good thing since all was already provided.  Work was done as more of a hobby.  Work was done out of joy.  It was indistinguishable from play.  And in the state of believing those things, the joy that wells up in your soul is so great (I believe this is also called being Filled with the Spirit) that you naturally want to start spreading around all the blessings around in the direction other people.  And you start doing it with the kind of joy you experienced when you played kickball with your friends outside on a beautiful summer day. It’s kind of like you don’t have any unmet needs anymore.  Your dream has come true.  You have everything you want.  Your soul is content.  You live in peace and joy. You can’t screw it up now.  It’s permanent.  Forever. You “made the grade” in your life.  You’re a success. The story is over. You are the most valuable person in the world (tied with others). And when you are this happy, when there is no more work to do to improve the quality of YOUR life.  Then you will find you naturally want to start spreading all the goodness around.  Trust me. That’s what happens. In fact, you might even sell everything you have and give it to the poor (reference the last post please).  Do you see how this solves the “riddle” of 1 Cor 13?

Here’s the bottom line.  True love (as spoken of in 1 Cor 13) can grow as all of your needs get satisfied.  As you come to understand that you already have or will be given every thing you’ve ever wanted (as you grow to believe this), you are freed up from fretting about your own life. No worries about your own life.  That is being handled by Someone Else. All that’s left to do is to try to get all the people you know to be as happy as you are.  It’s a fun hobby to introduce the people you know to greater happiness than you (or they) have ever known. If you were born in the 50s you may remember the TV show The Millionaire.  The main character spent all his time finding people to whom he’d give a million dollars.  What a fun job. I feel like that’s my job, too.  But I have something worth way more than a million dollars or a billion dollars. One difference is that everyone accepts the million.  Most don’t accept what God offers.  God must have a solution to that problem.  But that’s not a subject for this post. Image

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THE RIDDLE OF 1 CORINTHIANS 13:3 –WHAT IS REAL LOVE? – SOLVED! Part 1.

In 1 Corinthians 13 it says that Imageeven if you give all your possessions to the poor and offer your body to be burned up, if it’s not with Love then it is of no profit or benefit. God would be just as pleased if you hadn’t done it.

At first read, this can be pretty confusing.  Because I would think that if you were such a “good person” that you took your $350,000 net worth of possessions/money (random example) and gave them to needy people, that would be a great act of Love.   Isn’t that love?  How can that be of no value if all those poor people got some money, food or whatever? So, to help us understand what is being said here, we should first make sure we understand what Love is.  On the next post, we can discuss what Love IS.  But first we must discuss what love is NOT.

I bet being on good terms with God, believing that He’s pretty pleased with you, is a main focus of your life (and likely it is since you are reading a blog like this one).  Right? It is a main focus for almost all “religious” people.   And if such an act of giving all your possessions to the poor were to be done believing that you will in any way be on better terms with God, then this is SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS, not Love.  Actions/works done out of this self-righteousness are of no value to God.

You know why?  Because He never wants you to live under such a heavy, painful burden as this. He knows that living/believing this way will bring about a life of emotional pain. He knows this is a losing cause.  He knows this path leads to a bad life. And He wants you to live with wonderful thoughts/beliefs/emotions of peace, joy and contentment.  Not burdensome thoughts/beliefs/emotions of obligation, fear (of God’s expectations) and fatigue.

I had a Pastor friend who had a Pure Grace awakening before I did – while I was still largely pursuing self righteousness.  I didn’t understand his viewpoint very well but we discussed them at length many times. One day he said something that shocked me big time.  He said, “You should never do anything you don’t want to do.”  Well, all I did all day long every single day!!! was to do things I really didn’t want to do.  But I believed they were right to do!  So I did them consistently. This was self righteousness, to a large degree.

This was his way of trying to help me see I was missing the blessing of God’s Pure Grace.  He was trying to help me see this by showing me my self righteousness.   If I had believed at the time what my Pastor friend told me, my whole life would have fallen apart (and ultimately it did but I was raised to new Life – talk about that later).   He was tugging at the true foundation of my whole life.  And to a great extent I had it wrong.  He was right. But I couldn’t see it.  I didn’t believe it. It was threatening. I was sure he couldn’t be right on this.  It made me angry. But eventually I started understanding this Truth about 2 years ago.

CONCLUSION: Self righteousness usually masquerades well as Love. Self righteousness, looking like Love, will certainly get you TONS of kudos from your “Christian” friends who watch all of your great accomplishments.  It might also give you temporary peace of mind because you think you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. But it is a counterfeit of the Love as referenced in 1 Cor. 13: 3.   And it will NOT effortlessly bring about the Fruit of the Spirit.  Or a joyful life (joy, of course, is a Fruit of the Spirit).

So, let’s move onto the next topic as we’ve planned.  WHAT IS LOVE?  NEXT POST COMING SOON.

FEAR OF BEING LEFT BEHIND

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If I were a Christian who hadn’t understood the incredible grace of God (read other posts if you don’t know my reference) and I read a blog like this one, I MIGHT be afraid to pursue it for fear of failure.  Fear of trying to find this peace/joy and in not succeeding fast enough coming to FEAR that God might be excluding or ignoring you.  I agree that if you believe God is really there and if you believed that He was not interested in you, it would be very scary.  But, I don’t think that is even possible. If the Spirit of God weren’t in you or trying to draw you to HImself, you wouldn’t be worried about spiritual matters like this.

 

WHICH GOSPEL IS TRUE? – PART 2

I have tried for 35 years (until about a year ago) to figure out which version of the Gospel is True-est.   As you know, there are many variations of the Gospel on significant points. How do you figure which one is most True?

I’ve always favored the “Let’s compare verses” approach as a way to figure this out.  However, I never DID succeed in building an iron-clad, indisputable case for one view or the other by this method.

But, the first day I listened to Joseph Prince’s “Pure Grace” or “Radical Grace” view/sermon on the internet (perhaps 18 months ago), something happened in my soul. If I recall correctly, I actually stood up from my chair, all alone, vigorously thrust my fist into the air and shouted  something like “Yippee!”  or “Alright!” or “Now I understand.”.  A revelation!  The most spiritual experience I’ve ever had.  Since then, I spend hours each day drinking in the Grace of God by all the great blogs out there authored by people who have had the same “Aha!” experience I had.

Today  I’m less upset by the fact that there are some verses  where a case could be made (by those who disagree with my view) that they don’t line up with the Pure Grace point of view.  BECAUSE…my personal EXPERIENCE of this Gospel (which was never my criterion before) made everything new inside of me.  I am a different person now. I’ve seen all 9 Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace,patience, goodness, kindness, faithfuless, gentleness and self control) grow effortlessly and significantly.  AND, so many scripture now seem to make total sense when viewed through the lens of the Pure Grace viewpoint. My spiritual experience was SO strong that I have had to accept the Pure Grace viewpoint, even though I can’t totally explain all the verses that opponents site and claim disqualify the Pure Grace view.

About 9 months ago, I decided to start blogging so I could document what was happening in my soul.  I thought it could help my family members and also so many non-relatives (like you, reader) who may read this blog.  I’m still interested in those verses that are controversial.  But, I’m not relying on that to entirely convince me.  Although evaluating scripture is certainly an important element in seeking God’s Truth, the message of Pure Grace was the very first viewpoint that changed my life almost immediately.

I blog because I want to point the way to peace and joy.  I know there are many people with severe depression/anxiety like I had for 30 years before finding this Truth.  My recovery was quite quick and is continuing.   And, I’ve asked people (bloggers) who are farther down the road on this Grace message if I will continue to grow and grow and gain new insights as the years go by. And they say that this growth will continue in the years ahead.  The Grace of God just keeps getting better and better.

At 61 years old, I have found true peace and joy.  I am not afraid of God.. I’m convinced He knows me and is my Friend.  And that He is eager to bless me whether or not I happen to be behaving very well at any particular point in time.

If this resonates with you, please continue pursuing this.  I think the best blog for someone in the early stages of pursuing this is http://www.escapetoreality.com.  But there are many more that I can refer that are also excellent.  And this one may help you, too.

Note This Photo

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This photo reminds me of how I feel during much of my day since I’ve understood the Pure Grace of God.  And I’m getting better and better at staying in this place.  I call it my Grace Space.  And remember, I’m the guy with 30 years of depression/anxiety.  Gone almost entirely.  I urge you to continue to pursue this Radical Grace Gospel. My life has changed. I really want yours to change, too, because I understand how much it hurts emotionally to be afraid of God. It kind of ruins your whole life.

WHAT GOSPEL IS TRUE? THE ONE THAT EFFORTLESSLY PRODUCES FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.

THIS IS COPIED FROM AN EMAIL EXCHANGE I HAD WITH A PASTOR WHO HAS A STRONG WORKS ORIENTATION WITHOUT ETERNAL SECURITY (IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT ANY OF THESE TERMS ARE, PLEASE GOOGLE THEM).  WHAT IS BELOW IS MY RESPONSE TO HIM. THE TOPIC OF THIS EMAIL EXCHANGE WAS WHETHER THERE IS ANY “WORKS” ELEMENT TO THE TRUE GOSPEL OR IF IT’S PURE GRACE. THE TOPIC I’M WRITINGON BELOW WAS THE EXTREME PEACE AND JOY PURE GRACE BELIEVERS EXPERIENCE AND WORKS BELIEVERS DON’T.  I’VE BEEN BOTH.

Frank – I may have something to learn. I’ve never heard or read of any person who had a theology where they could lose their eternity GUSH about how incredibly wonderful their life is, peace beyond understanding, set free by the Truth, the Abundant Life, a “light yoke” . I arrived at this conclusion after going to many churches through the last 35 years, reading scores of books, watching thousands of sermons on TV and listening to multiple thousands on the radio, etc. If there are people without a belief in eternal security who are as happy as I’ve described, I have never talk to them.  People who believe as you do just don’t talk about how much joy they are experiencing. Actually, they are usually very burdened, although they do try to hide it because you can’t really mope around. I know because I was sad and wanted to mope for my first 30 years after conversion before I understood how pure and beautiful is the Grace of God.  People with a works element in their theology almost always talk about what they have to do to be a better Christian than they are currently. I also know this (that “works” Christians tend to lack joy) because almost all of my Christian friends over the years have had an element of a works-view.  And I would say that, as a group, that was a sad group of people.  In our intimate private conversations, we would not talk about how beautiful life is with God.  Instead we would talk about our problems and how we could do more things “right” and fewer things “wrong”.  But we all put on a happy face in public, as we all tend to do.

If, for example, you would go to a Joseph Prince video (a Pure Grace teacher) and read the comments made by people who watched it and believe it, you will see that these comments are qualitatively ENTIRELY different (on the level of joy) than those that follow sermons/videos by those who believe our eternity can be at risk. The joy in these comments is literally palpable. I’ve never in my life read comments by such a happy crowd of people. And, as you know, joy and peace are Fruits of the Spirit that you can’t produce yourself.

A REBLOG FROM ESCAPETOREALITY.ORG – AN EXCEPTIONAL GRACE BLOG

Paul,
I look forward to the day I can give you a big hug in heaven! And this Hufford guy too. The things I am learning here- I can’t even explain what it’s doing to me! I have just been crying with joy over these revelations of God’s grace that are setting me free from things I’ve learned in church! The change on the inside of me is so overwhelming, I feel like I’m going to burst! And I want to burst with frustration too, that others can’t see it.- And that your teachings are called “false doctrines” and “slippery slopes” in my church. They would say you are a false prophet leading me astray, setting me up for disappointment. They think the Bible verses that warn of false prophets who tickle your ears, are referring to teachers like you. I am starting to see the irony though is they may unknowingly be the teachers of false doctrines we are to be aware of. I have always thought mainstream Christianity had to be the right way. But maybe the road less traveled is truly the way- the way that is rejected, even by most churches. Maybe the ways we’ve always been taught are not right after all. That’s why we have to seek God amd truth and find out for ourselves… Not just go with what we’re told.

Have you ever read David Platt’s book, Radical? We studied it for months in Sunday School. I was thoroughly confused and depressed and guilt-ridden during that time. Through reading your site here, the answers are starting to come together, and the Bible is starting to make sense. I think there were some good points in the book Radical, and the end result of what Platt was trying to achieve was good. But we as Christians will have a much easier time getting there if the work is done through an understanding of love and grace. Radical seemed to be very law-based, striving based, self-denial based, we owe Jesus based. You get the point. There was talk of forsaking family for the Gospel’s sake, with scriptures backing this up. That just tore me apart. So reading this review of Hubbard’s book literally made me sit up, put the iphone down, and weep! This is truly too-good-to-be true news!
Now how to get others to see it? Do I try to change my church’s mind? Or do I change churches?