What is clear in the Bible to you? What do the Scriptures say?
There are a variety of interpretations as witnessed to by the thousands of denominations.
What is clear to me is that we are commanded to love.
John writes, “For God so loved the world…” He didn’t write, “For God so hated the world, sin, or sinners.”
Jesus told us in John 13.34-35 that we are supposed to love each other like Jesus loved us. It was a clear command from him. How did he love us? The clearest demonstration of that is the cross.
Paul writes in Romans 5.8 that God demonstrated his love for us on the cross, while we were still sinners…heretics…pagans…blasphemers…idolaters…tax collectors…worshipers of false gods and of ourselves…selfish, covetous…envious…rude…murderous…barbaric.. .self-righteous.
He also showed us what that love looked like and Paul wrote about if for us. God’s love is patient, kind, It is not envious or boastful. It is does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking or easily angered. It does not keep a record of wrongs. Love rejoices with the truth but not in evil. And this love never fails.
Paul also reminds us in Galatians 5 that the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
We are commanded to love and empowered to love. We are not commanded to judge. Actually the empowerment to judge comes from our disobedience to God, “You shall become like God knowing good and evil” Genesis 3.
Jesus demonstrated this love on the cross. He was slowly dying and in excruciating pain and looked down on those who were sure that they were doing the right things and forgave them for their lack of understanding. How upsetting must that have been to those that were so self-assured in their understanding of the Law.
Saul/Paul was positive that he was defending the honor of God only to find out that he was persecuting God.
Many people proclaim that they are doing things for God and in the name of loving God. But ff the Truth and Love in which I believe does not look like the cross, I am in real danger.
That is what is crystal clear to me.
I think we all need to be wary of false teachers and false teachings. A false teaching is anything that excludes the cross from the discussion of our enemies. We are not commanded to hate others that are different than us.
If you want to see what happens if our actions do not reflect the cross of Christ just read Foxes Book of Martyrs.
Here are two stories of those danger:
Dirk Willem: Dirk was an Anabaptist. They did not believe in infant baptism, which was the official stance of the government. He was burned at the stake for that believe as were many other Anabaptists.
Michael Servetus: Was a heretic. He was burned at he stake.
These incidents show what happens when we look for false prophets in the name of Jesus without the cross. These men burned heretics in the name of Jesus. Jesus gave himself up for these men.
If my actions in rooting out, warning against, and all that is stated in those passages does not look like the crucified Christ, something is wrong.