Sunday, October 18, 2009
Love God and do as you please?
Love God and do as you please. This came up on Bible Commentary and left you hanging. So I went to see what really was the meaning. St. Augustine, an influential Christian author of the fourth century A.D., wrote this: "Love God and do as you please." On the surface, that may seem like a license for sin—"As long as I love God, I can do anything I want, and God's okay with whatever I do." But Augustine seemed to realize that if you genuinely love God, then you will want to do what honors him most. Just as a married woman who loves her husband will want to make him look good, lift him up, and honor him, so also a person who loves God will want to glorify, magnify, and honor him. If you truly love God, then his Holy Spirit will transform you such that what pleases God will become what pleases you. Jesus, who is God, made this observation: "If you love me, keep my commandments. " (John 14:15). Similarly, the Apostle John wrote, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grieveous." (1 John 5:3). And finally, the Psalmist wrote, "My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly." (Psalm 119:167). When we love God, then we want to obey him; obeying him becomes a sign that we love him. Jesus linked love for God with obeying the commandments (i.e., with obeying God's law) in this way: " JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIGHT" . And the second is like it: " THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40). "For whom he did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29). In this way, what pleases you and what pleases God become one and the same such that if you love God, you can do whatever pleases you and God will be pleased.