My life for yours

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This death provided the capability for mankind to live real, complete whole life. Not only temporal existence, but a spiritual life never before experienced by man. Jesus lives.

In John 14:19-21 we find the Lord promising the disciples life is not over for them. In fact, His promise is that they will be fully and completely alive, they will live in a way that they cannot presently envision. In their lives, right then, that moment, that night, they saw life as honoring God and honoring their commitments before mankind through the heartbeat in their chest. Though the second part of that would not change, the first principle would change dramatically. From this night forward, the view of honoring God would transform from a physical building as a temple, to a personal bodily temple. Jesus is talking about an entirely new existence for mankind.
Jesus lived before man. Jesus is God. Jesus is love. Jesus is good. Jesus is righteousness. From this day forward, Jesus would instill the capability of these attributes in man by the indwelling Father, Son and Holy Spirit. My book, Knowing You Are Saved, discusses this on pages 228-230:

Those whom you see practicing righteousness must be of Christ. The word we see translated here [1 John 2:29] “doeth” does not give the actual use in this sentence justice. This phrase is constructed in such a way that the “doing” is the adjective. … indicates a continuing practice – a habit; something that marks the individual’s normal activity in life. We could say, everyone that is doing, or practicing. … John is saying, “If ye know (oida, in your heart, in your soul knowledge) that He (Jesus Christ) is righteous, ye know (ginōskō – in your mind, through experience, through learning) that every one that doeth (practices) righteousness is born of Him. (emphasis added) …This statement almost has a commonsensical flavor to it. You experience Christ’s righteousness in Christians because they are Christians. Those who have been born of Jesus Christ in faith practice or do this righteousness. In his commentary, Hiebert makes the point that the grammar here indicates a life-long effort. … Those who practice a lifetime of righteousness give others an understanding of Christ Jesus. … The overall characteristic of a life without God is still godlessness, even if there is a smattering or even a predominance of moral aptitudes, attitudes and activities.

Jesus gave His life so we could live our’s with Him, for Him, through Him, in Him. Not just Him, but the humility of Jesus also invites the Holy Spirit and ultimately does all things for the Father in Heaven by inviting Him as well. All three indwell the believer whose life then changes exponentially, dynamically, personally and experientially. Now, there is no longer just life, but a life fully alive in Christ! Our life with God indwelling us changes from a binary life, living in this body, serving in this body, to a multifaceted life to include serving from, to and through our body, our soul, our spirit, God’s spirit, God the Father and God the Son. Further, God provides all the strength, instruction, encouragement and power to accomplish His will in us. Go, live out the life Jesus died to provide you.

Spirit of Truth – John 14:17

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Thank you for your sacrifice. We all suffer loss fighting for freedom. None more than the friend in the foxhole or family at home. It is an honor and a privilege to call you brothers in arms.

Do you know PFC Ross A. McGinnis? You should. He was attached to 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. PFC McGinnis made a decision on December 4th 2006 that saved the lives of four fellow soldiers. While patrolling in the Adhamiyah area of Baghdad, an insurgent lobbed a grenade perfectly past his gunner’s seat, down into the Humvee. As the gunner, he is to immediately evacuate out the top of the vehicle, saving his life. He had trained repeatedly for that event, always getting up and out of his position as directed. On that fated day in December, PFC McGinnis made a different decision; he chose the life of his four comrades over his own. He went down into the vehicle and laid on the grenade.

Like our Savior Jesus, PFC McGinnis lived out John 15:13 as he gave his life for his

The Holy Spirit with the Son comforts, exhorts, encourages, strengthens and loves us. What a glorious God we serve!

friends. When we think of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, consider PFC McGinnis. His choice to give his life to save his friends parallels our Lord. Consider an illustration where PFC McGinnis’ father, could somewhat parallel our heavenly Father and his mother could somewhat parallel the Holy Spirit. Father being the leader and organizer and mother being a moral guide imparting civility and compassion upon PFC McGinnis, being his moral compass. Consider a twist to this story.

How would Mr. and Mrs McGinnis’ respond if the four soldiers came to their home, desired to serve in their own way, from their own perspective, regardless Mr. and Mrs. McGinnis’ personal desires or home organization and standards. Consider that these four soldiers might not only impose themselves without invitation, but also sought to deny PFC McGinnis’ sacrifice because of peer pressure, but instead only wanted to exalt and pay homage to Mr. and Mrs. McGinnis because people accept them, but have for whatever reason turned against PFC McGinnis. How would Mr. and Mrs. McGinnis react? They would be offended, maybe even perturbed. They might possibly take legal action and seek a judgement against these soldiers to keep them off of their property and away from their home.

In the world, these soldiers would never consider this horrendous action. They would never consider denying PFC McGinnis’ sacrifice. Why then do we think just claiming to know God or seeking more of the Holy Spirit’s influence in our lives is acceptable to God. This effectively ignores the Son, Jesus. How can we shy away from His name and consider it an acceptable action. God is triune, in perfect harmony. Neither God the Son, God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit would promote themself above the other, nor would they accept our misguided or unbalanced worship.

Honor the Father. Honor the Son. Honor the Spirit of God. Honor them as scripturally appropriate taking nothing from one to promote the other.

Jesus Exaltation

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Jesus has been spreading God’s love throughout Judea. He has healed many, brought many to new faith in and a better understanding of Jehovah God, and pointed many to purity in life. (Jhn 9; Mat 9) Jesus has raised people from the dead. (Mat 9; Jhn 11) Jesus has comforted the ostracized. (Luk 7; 17) Jesus has been ministering throughout Judea for three years.

We remember the events surrounding Lazarus resurrection a short time ago. (Jhn 11) Remember, many attended that resurrection. People from around the area, as well as people from Jerusalem just a little less than a mile away from Bethany. There were many that came to comfort Lazarus’ family. There were many in attendance that supported Jesus, they came only to see Him. There were many that came to see Jesus’ reaction to Lazarus, these constituted mostly Pharisees, those loyal to the Sanhedrin and Sadducees.

Of these groups, we find those loyal to the religious leadership in direct opposition to Jesus to support their livelihood. We find the oppressed general populace Supporting Jesus. Therefore, those connected politically, materially or financially to the leadership, or those that see their life’s identity and dependency through the lens of material and financial success, side with the leadership. This is akin to individuals who vote for candidates that appear beneficial to their business interests as opposed to what may be more pressing national needs. This is why we vote for more secular candidates. What a parallel. The scriptures evidence and instruction of 2000 years ago is directly applicable to today.

The people flocked to Jesus because He gave them truth of a loving God that was involved in their lives. Jesus shared His loving Father with the people (Jhn 14:7; 9) They saw a loving Father in Heaven. The people knew the attitudes of their worldly leaders and that they would be exploited by them for profit. This was normal in the life of the first century. The people of the time knew what they were dealing with. They needed other hope, they needed a savior.

Jesus was brought to Jerusalem on Sunday morning the week of the passover with exaltation, pomp and circumstance. He fulfilled many scriptural prophecies in the events that we today celebrate as Palm Sunday. The Scriptures are true. Jesus is the Messiah. This final week begins this Palm Sunday.

Loving Obedience

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Throughout the entire Bible there are many threads of consistent testimony. One we find everywhere is that God will send a Redeemer, a Savior, One whom will come to forgive us our sins and save us. Another is that there are rules God sets down, there are standards He has for life, for worship, for parenthood, for our professional actions, for relationships and even for every day life. The overarching and governing expectation, the one new commandment, the standard by which this is all accomplished is love. Love born through the life of the Savior. Love exemplified in His activities on earth. Love shared by and through His life given for our eternal life. Love He showed His Father in Heaven as He submitted to all the trials, tribulations, threats, false witness, and ultimately His complete obedience to God’s will. In John 14:15 Jesus simply states a life principle for Him. He shows His love to the Father most poignantly through obedience, through the submission to His commandments.

There is not a lot to say concerning this very simple request. Jesus simply says, if you love me, keep my commandments. He does not demand your love. Jesus does not order your obedience Jesus does not put conditions on His love for us, He will love regardless. He puts no conditions on His Father’s love either, the Father loves us regardless. There are no limits to love that proceeds from God, the only limit is our returning love to Him. We can choose to obey, or not. However, what we choose does have a testimony. We speak with our actions. We’ve all heard that we can vote with our feet. The action we take shows engagement or apathy. Action shows support or neglect. To Jesus love is active, thoughtful, careful, contemplative and involved.

When we seek wisdom in God’s word and apply it to our lives, we show how we love Jesus. When we seek to implement God’s standards in our lives, we show how we love Jesus. When we share God’s love the way He shared God’s love, we show how we love Jesus. Ultimately, when we obey God’s commandments, we show our love for Him, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Do you love Jesus? Search His word, seek His commandments, implement them in your life. Show Jesus you love Him, He’s already shared His love for you through the Cross.

Do you dwell in Christ as Christ dwelt in the Father?

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This is picture is only half of the reality. Christ dwells in every believer as well. The power of that truth is that in every believer exists Jesus love, forgiveness, strength, steadfastness, compassion, wisdom, care, faith, provision, holiness, faithfulness and finally, the most glorious thing of all, salvation unto eternal life! Shouldn’t we just rejoice every day! Let Christ dwell in you richly! Dwell in Christ every moment of every day! Praise Him!

Do you live in the Father as Christ lives in the Father, as the Father lives in Christ? Is your every movement, your every thought, your every motivation presented to the Father for consideration, review, council and approval? This is abiding, living and remaining in the Father as Christ dwelt in Him. (Jhn 14:10) See “Knowing you are saved,” published by Xulon Press, pages 189 and 216.

The Greek word “menō” which is pronounced almost like “minnow” but with an “e” means to remain, stay, or abide. It has the connotation of living in, existing in and enduring. It indicates steadfastness or a stick-to-it-iv-ness. One puzzling aspect of this verse is that the first time you see menō in the first sentence, it is an imperative. An imperative is a command. In addition, the predominant verb or action word is the word for hear, which is in the past tense. The sentence could read more like, “Stay with what you heard from the beginning.” This takes on the more commanding sense in the sentence. (Pg 189)

AND

When we look throughout 1 John, we find this word used 24 times. Outside of “love” and “knowing,” it is the third most frequently used word. This was a very important word to John. Ladies and gentlemen, living in Christ is probably one of the most vital things with which John is concerned. Some other biblical facts will help you understand. The word translated “remain” is used over 118 times in the New Testament, and 24 times here by John. John’s writings use menō 68 of the 118 times or well over half of all the times it is used in the whole of the New Testament. John’s first epistle uses menō fully 20% of all of the New Testament… where a believer is concerned, remaining in Jesus Christ during persecutions and trials, as well as just a normal testimonial life with Him at the center, is a vital part of our assurance of salvation. That abiding life at the center of your spiritual life is what produces the fruits of the Spirit that Paul talks about in Galatians. We cannot know man’s heart, but His fruits do belie him. (Pg 216)

Many claim Christ, but just live a life in the world and seldom actually seek God’s approval for anything in their lives, let alone how they should rear their children, spend their funds or orient their spare time. Many see opportunities in their lives and leap through those doors for vacation, for business, for relationships, for entertainment, for all sorts of things considered normal everyday elements of life.

Christian, you are to remain in Christ and in the Father as Jesus remained in Him. Christians, we are supposed walk in Jesus feet as He tread upon the earth. Jesus was intimately in contact with the Father. So in His counsel was Jesus that being separated from the Father for a mere three hours was excruciatingly painful (Psa 22:1; Mat 27:46; Mar 15:34).

If you were denied access to God’s word, would it really bother you? If you were denied the privilege of prayer, would it really bother you? If you were denied any aspect of your relationship with God, would it really hurt you? That is what Jesus is talking about when He says, “I am in the Father, and the Father in me.”

God’s spirit is part of Jesus. Jesus is part of God. Every aspect of Jesus is exposed to and exists in coincidence with the Father. Every aspect of the Father is exposed to and exists in coincidence with the Father.

Dwelling in one another makes the Father and the Son one. On the cross, when Jesus is forced to be separated from His Father it is as though His very being is divided, ripped apart He is being violently divided from himself. It tears Him apart. We have to ask if we would feel this way if any aspect of our relationship with the Father or the Son were affected in just such a way.

Christian, is your relationship so intertwined with the trinitarian Father, Son and Holy Spirit that the absence of any one would feel as though you were being torn apart. Is your life dependent upon the regular, faithful, devoted communion with God? This is what dwelling is in John 14:10.

Everyone worships the same God?

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One god is not about God. One god is all about self. This belief actually admits limited intellectual and spiritual abilities. It says I may not be right, so I better be inclusive. In other words, “I” don’t know what “I” believe or why “I” believe it therefore, “I” have to be inclusive.

John 14:7 has always been a challenging verse for man to submit too. Man realizes that if he truly believes, especially Jesus final phrase, then he must be somewhat dogmatic. Man does not like being dogmatic, unless he likes the dogma. Resting in the truth of God incarnate is difficult mostly because it makes us aware that God may  have standards, He may limit access to His kingdom, He may have requirements, He may not be interested in our defining Him, He may not be as open to allowing everyone before Him because of what they think individually, He may not respect our thoughts on what He might do, worst of all we might not be able to define God’s design for ourselves.

The statement, “no one comes unto the Father but by me” is definitive, final, dogmatic, absolute, unwavering, without ability to alternatively analyze or contemplate. There is only one path to God the Father, that is through the Son. There are more scriptures that tell how zealous the Father himself is about this truth.

In my book “Knowing You Are Saved,” I wrote about this verse on pages 175-186,

You can think what you want, but God is God and your thoughts about who He should be and how He should act do not change Him (Is 55:8-9). Just as we can deny truth in our lives, denying eternal truths will not affect the truth itself. This denial will however affect our lives eternally.

The fact is that God the Father wants us to focus upon His Son. Neither the Father, nor the Holy Spirit went through the trials and challenges, neither were tempted in all ways like we are, neither suffered the cross, neither left their heavenly abode to live here and experience man’s challenges. Both the Father and the Holy Spirit have great respect for the Son’s personal sacrifice from the moment He left Heaven. I also wrote about this in an article titled, “A Story.” Where people are uncomfortable with truth, they insult those whom may have to live, or have lived, through those truths. They also insult anyone honored and even saved by those truths. Where politicians take credit for the heroism of first responders is simply reprehensible. This is the same thing people do when they deny Christ to say they are God and they individually determine their entrance into Heaven or the entrance of others. (1 John 2:23)

Ultimately, man is afraid to commit because he knows he does not have all the answers. But the answers are available to us in the scriptures. They reveal God to us. God is clear, He alone makes rules for Him. Just follow them, and trust Christ to help you do so. (Matt 19:26)

Following Christ

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No mode of transpiration, no cell phones with bibles on them, you have your feet and your mind and your faith in the leader of the universe, Jesus Christ.

When we consider following Christ, we should consider those who have already walked those paths and given the investment involved in doing so. When we do so, our most direct examples, the most impactful lives and testimonies are in scripture and in the early church.

When we look over scripture, we must fact the fact that every single disciple was persecuted and killed for their faith in Jesus. If we consider the rich young man in Mark 10:17-31, we see the level to which we are called to sacrifice. Jesus tells this young wealthy individual whom has been a very good man,and obeyed the commandment. By his testimony, which is not disputed by Jesus, “all these things have I observed from my youth.”

As we consider this testimony, we are wise to be observant concerning the circumstances and events surrounding it, the context of the scripture. The wealthy young man is concerned about his eternal life. He wants to live forever. There is certainly an air of self-interest in his exchange with Christ. This is Meeism in worship and Meeism in Christian liberty wrapped into one package. Meeism in worship because the young man claims to want to do what God wants, but for his benefit. Meeism in Christian liberty because he wants to do what he wants, but still find a way to shuffle both desires into the same deck. Jesus cuts to the quick in His response.

Jesus asks How far are you willing to go? You obey laws, you work hard, you acquire wealth, you show humility and seem even to try to esteem another better than yourself, but this wealthy individual seems to miss what faith really means.

Serving God, giving one’s life to Christ, means personal, complete, wholehearted sacrifice. Sacrifice on all levels is what is being displayed in the scriptures. We are encouraged not to give all up, but to be willing to give everything. In Mark 10:22 he went away saddened because he was not willing to sacrifice everything, he was not willing to do what Jesus would do, he was not willing to emulate the Savior, he was not willing to be like Christ.

Everyone committing to Christ must ask this question of themselves and answer honestly. This is where walking by faith and not by sight becomes operative. (2 Cor 5:7) Jesus will challenge every believer. God will put the believer through tests to strengthen us and accomplish His will. (1 Thes 3:3; Heb 11:17-19, et. al.)

If we are not willing to lay it all on the line for Christ, how can we with a clear conscience accept His atonement for us where He forfeited everything from His life in Heaven to His life on earth. He forfeited rights to the universe to walk among mankind’s most meager. He forfeited perfect comfort to feel cold, heat, scrapes, cuts and freezing winter nights. How far will you go Christian? Jesus will help you get there just ask Him.

Your life speaks

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When you walk with Jesus, your life speaks of His path, His joy, His peace, His salvation. Your life speaks.

John 13:35 speaks of how all men will know Christians. All mankind can recognize christians through many different stereotypical observations. If you think about it, our lives activity mark what we believe in. That is why, right or wrong, people of the world see people who are hard workers, don’t swear, don’t smoke, don’t drink, believe in life at conception, go to church regularly, believe in the nuclear family see these people as Christians. Christians are seen as traditionalists.

Christians are also seen as loyal, faithful, trustworthy, loving, caring, dedicated and above all individuals who pour their hearts out to those in their church. Consider how Christians in the first century were identified. The Church at Cenchrea (Rom 16:1), The Church at Corinth (1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1) even the church at Babylon (1 Pet 5:13). The people of Jesus are known as kind, generous, humble, self effacing, hospitable and compassionate.

The church is also commonly  identified in another way – the church of God (Act 20:28; 1 Cor 1:2; 10:32; 11:22; 15:9; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:13; 1 Tim 3:5). The Christian Church is identified with all the attributes of the people within those churches. We should always be concerned with how our church is identified and not run from it, but seek to change the perception because it is born from us, right here in these walls. In other words, if we are not properly identified, we should be striving to change our testimony to change the testimony of the church in which we worship.

The truth is we need to see how our part individually effects all those around us. Ephesians 5:25 tells us that Jesus so loved the church that He gave himself for it. You, too, Christian should give your life out of love for your church. Many question the definition of church in this verse. It is not a building, but it is the group of believers you regularly identify with and they worship in the same place you do.

Ladies and gentlemen, the commandment is that we love one another. This prevailing sense, that we are, we embody and we exemplify those things listed above through that love is vital. It not only stigmatizes and identifies us, it gives the pigments, the varying hues and colors to our lives and the lives around us. Yes, you are, whether appropriately or not, identified by those you keep company with.

We must not shy from the public. Where we have failed, we share Christ’s loving forgiveness. Where we have success, we share His loving provision. No matter the circumstance, bemoaning our life is self defeating. We, as Christians, must stand up, change for Christ and properly identify with Him to properly identify His church. If we do not, we violate 1 John 1:6 by claiming fellowship with Christ, but walking in darkness and not doing the truth. Doing the truth is doing the things of Christ. Actively loving as Christ actively loves is the key to a successful Christian testimony. Christian, love one another as Christ loves you.

Just lost until enlightened

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And they hear, "South."

And they hear, “South.”

In John 13:18-29 we find a very strange occurrence. Jesus tells the whole lot of disciples that one of them will betray Him. In fact, He tells them twice. (18, 21) They all murmur amongst themselves doubting whom it might be. (22) None of them believed that any one of them would betray Jesus. All seemed to have confidence in one another mostly, and in themselves most of all as they look upon one another to analyze those around the table. So, Jesus tells them they have a traitor amongst them and none of them believe it, certainly none believe it of themselves.

Amazingly, the entire table of disciples seem to ask Jesus whom the betrayer is in verse 22. In verse 24 Simon Peter specifically asks, as does John in verse 25, for a name, specifically who among us disciples are you talking about? Jesus gives them an answer with a specific sign attached. Then in verse 29 we find how effective the deceiver is as everyone makes excuses for Judas’ departure.

When we think about what is happening at the Last Supper, every one there except Judas saw Jesus as the Messiah. At this time, their ideas of what He would do to free Judea are certainly wrong, but they saw Jesus as the Messiah. They believed He was the very Son of God. They did not believe He had to die for them taking all sins upon himself for all mankind. They did not believe He had to live again to provide the hope of resurrection in His person, to prove He had power over death and Hell and Satan. They were not saved because they did not believe in Jesus. They could not see many things including the fact that Jesus, God, will choose those whom enter His Kingdom and He will even choose unbelievers to further His will, to complete His mission, to accomplish the Fathers desires.

How often do we see this in our lives. We are warned of a serious circumstance, but we don’t listen, or we do not give the warning credence. We are told specifically what will happen, yet we ignore this warning, we give it little thought or we simply think it is too confusing to contemplate. We look at others, knowing we could never be the culprit, and we question the loyalty or honesty of others. Instead of looking at our own spirit, analyzing things introspectively, we look at others. We are told specific signs of destruction, of betrayal, of wickedness, of worldliness warning us of sin and things we should be mindful of, to stay away from them and we ignore them. Then we wonder why we get into trouble, why we face the challenges we face. All too often we may blame God, but it is really our fault.

Disciples that walked, talked, ate meals, listened, prayed, worshiped and spent almost every moment of every day of His earthly ministry with Him. All that and they still did not listen to Him. We should strive to not imitate their example here. We should learn from it to attend to the finer guidance God gives us in His word.

One Another – God’s direction concerning relationships

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one_another     Chris and I were riding home yesterday and listening to J. I. Packer’s book “Knowing God.”  We heard something that resonated with us. It applies to all biblical understanding and the challenges we see every day for individual interpretation. It flies in the face of the fact that the Bible says one thing, that one thing can mean different things to different people. That is not interpretation, it is instead personal application; an application only binding personally. This is what Packer said:

     Modern muddle-headedness and confusion as to the meaning of faith in God is almost beyond description. Men say they believe in God, but have no idea who it is tha tthey believe in, or what difference believing in Him may make. The Christian who wants to help his floundering fellows into what a famous old tract used to call ‘safety, certainty, and enjoyment’ is constantly bewildered as to where to begin: the fantastic hotch-potch of fancies about God that confronts him quite takes his breath away… “people have got into the way of following private religious hunches rather than learning of God from His own Word; and we have to try and help them to unlearn the pride and, in some cases, misconceptions about Scripture which give rise to this attitude, and to base their convictions henceforth, not on what they feel, but on what the Bible says. A second answer as that modern man thinks of all religions as equal and equivalent, and draws his stock of ideas about God from pagan as well as Christian sources; and we have to try and show people and uniqueness and finality of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s last word to man. A third answer is that men have ceased to recognize the reality of their own sinfulness, which imparts a degree of perversity and enmity against God to all that they think and do; and it is our task to try and introduce people to this fact about themselves, and so make them self-distrustful and open to correction by the word of Christ. A forth answer… is that people today are in the habit of dissociating the thought of God’s goodness from that of his severity; and we must seek to wean them from this habit, since nothing but misbelief is possible as long as it persists.

To summarize Packer, many if not most self-identified Christians today regularly make decisions on scriptural doctrine that help them define and support their own ideas, personal convictions and desires rather than seeking deep truth and applying those to ones life. For instance, many think that because Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, that regardless how we live or what our testimony may be, if one claims belief in God they’re going to Heaven regardless how they’ve lived their life  (1 John 2:2). It is not a matter of ignoring scriptural direction, but making it their scripture, not owning it, but coopting it into a personal application alien to the rest of Scripture. It takes a single scripture on personal authority and ignores the free, unattached and non-reciprocative agape love of God. Love one another first and foremost.