Romans, Part 60

Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer.[1]  I want to look at this as a description of love rather than as rules to obey.  To begin I’ve made the following table.

The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

Joy (χαρὰ)

I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete.

John 15:11 (NET)

I have great confidence in you; I take great pride on your behalf.  I am filled with encouragement; I am overflowing with joy in the midst of all our suffering.

2 Corinthians 7:4 (NET)

Love (ἀγάπη) is…

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NET)

…not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth.

1 Corinthians 13:6 (NET)

 

[Love] hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:7b (NET)

And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.

Matthew 18:13 (NET)

Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’

Luke 15:6 (NET)

Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:17 (NET)

This Love Without Hypocrisy…

Romans 12:9-21 (NET)

Rejoice (χαίροντες, a form of χαίρω) in hope (ἐλπίδι, a form of ἐλπίς), endure (ὑπομένοντες, a form of ὑπομένω) in suffering (θλίψει, a form of θλίψις)…

Romans 12:12a (NET)

…persist (προσκαρτεροῦντες, a form of προσκαρτερέω) in prayer.

Romans 12:12b (NET)

So they left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.

Acts 5:41 (NET)

 

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NET)

But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Mark 13:13b (NET)[2]

 

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 (NET)

They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Acts 2:42 (NET)

The Greek word translated rejoice is χαίροντες (a form of χαίρω).  The aspect of the fruit of the Spirit that fulfills this rejoicing is joy (χαρὰ).  Joy (χαρά) and gladness will come to you,[3] an angel of the Lord prophesied to Zechariah the priest.  He and his wife Elizabeth did not have a child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both very old.[4]  Zechariahyour prayer has been heard, the angel said, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you will name him John.[5]

Clearly χαρά was used to name this ordinary joy, but I won’t spend much time on that.  I don’t have any problem rejoicing when I get my way, when I get what I want.  To rejoice in hope indicates that I rejoice prior to that time.  For the joy (χαρᾶς, a form of χαρά) set out for him [Jesus] endured (ὑπέμεινεν, a form of ὑπομένω) the cross, disregarding its shame.[6]

I’ve misunderstood this verse often enough, thinking that joy was simply a euphemism for a seat at the right hand of the throne of God.[7]  And so, enduring difficulties was a rational calculation based on faith in a given outcome (e.g., I can endure the University because in the end I will get a degree and a higher paying job).  I have no real reason to ignore faith (πίστις) here.  Faith is another aspect of the fruit of Christ’s Spirit.  But I’m not a fun guy to be around when I’m enduring difficult circumstances by faith in a rational outcome.  And I certainly won’t do any rejoicing until I get what I want.

More to the point, perhaps, a seat at the right hand of the throne of God offered Jesus no upward mobility: And now, Father, He prayed, glorify me at your side with the glory I had with you before the world was created.[8]  It was simply a matter of getting back to where He belonged, not much incentive to endure the cross, disregarding its shame.  It leads me to believe that the joy set out for him was much more than a euphemism for something else.

I have told you these things so that my joy (χαρὰ) may be in you, and your joy (χαρὰ) may be complete (πληρωθῇ, a form of πληρόω).[9]  Here is a statement, if I will hear it, that the joy set out for Jesus may be in me, and his joy will πληρωθῇ (or, fulfill) my joy.  Interestingly, this statement resides in a passage about bearing fruit (John 15:5, 7-9 NET).

I am the vine; you are the branches.  The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit (καρπὸν, a form of καρπός), because apart from me you can accomplish nothing…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you.  My Father is honored by this, that you bear much fruit (καρπὸν, a form of καρπός) and show that you are my disciples.  Just as the Father has loved (ἠγάπησεν, a form of ἀγαπάω) me, I have also loved (ἠγάπησα, another form of ἀγαπάω) you; remain in my love (ἀγάπῃ, a form of ἀγάπη).

But the fruit (καρπὸς) of the Spirit is love (ἀγάπη), joy (χαρὰ), peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (πίστις), gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.[10]  I would love to say that I heard these words and was transformed by them.  But what I heard was, If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.[11]  And I reasoned that there was no way around it, a sinner like I am must man-up and out-Pharisee the Pharisees or burn[12] in hell for all eternity: For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.[13]

Failing that, I heard, My commandment is this – to love (ἀγαπᾶτε, another form of ἀγαπάω) one another just as I have loved (ἠγάπησα, another form of ἀγαπάω) you.[14]  Eureka!  I found it, I thought.  A sinner like I am can’t out-Pharisee the Pharisees by trying to keep rules; a sinner like I am out-Pharisees the Pharisees by trying to love like Jesus: Love (ἀγάπη) does no wrong to a neighbor.  Therefore love (ἀγάπη) is the fulfillment (πλήρωμα) of the law.[15]

No one has greater love (ἀγάπην, a form of ἀγάπη) than this, Jesus continued, that one lays down his life for his friends.[16]  As a hypocrite I thought like an actor: I should imitate Jesus’ love.  Failing that, I began to hear again (John 15:14-17 NET).

You are my friends if you do what I command you.  I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand (οἶδεν, a form of εἴδω) what his master is doing.  But I have called you friends, because I have revealed (ἐγνώρισα, a form of γνωρίζω) to you everything I heard from my Father.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit (καρπὸν, a form of καρπός), fruit (καρπὸς) that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.  This I command you – to love (ἀγαπᾶτε, another form of ἀγαπάω) one another.

There it was again, to go and bear fruit.  Okay, if imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery, what do You want?  to love one another just as I have loved you.  How did You love?  I made known your name to them, Jesus prayed to his Father, and I will continue to make it known, so that the love (ἀγάπη) you have loved (ἠγάπησας, another form of ἀγαπάω) me with may be in them, and I may be in them.[17]   But the fruit (καρπὸς) of the Spirit is love (ἀγάπη)…[18]

There it was, hiding in plain sight.  It wasn’t a “modern” translation: And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.[19]  It was there from the beginning of the translation of the Bible into English.  Why was it so difficult to hear?  Why did I doubt it?  My answer to that question is the religious mindThere is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death.[20]

I have great confidence (παρρησία, a form of παῤῥησία) in you; I take great pride (καύχησις) on your behalf, [21] Paul wrote the Corinthians.  The confidence he wrote about was a “freedom in speaking” an “unreservedness in speech,” according to the definition of παρρησία in the NET.  I think this refers to the boasting he wrote about later in the same letter: I keep boasting (καυχῶμαι, a form of καυχάομαι) to the Macedonians about this eagerness of yours, that Achaia has been ready to give since last year, and your zeal to participate has stirred up most of them.[22]

What really interests me in this context is what he wrote next:  I am filled with encouragement (παρακλήσει, a form of παράκλησις); I am overflowing with joy (χαρᾷ, a form of χαρὰ) in the midst of all our suffering (θλίψει, a form of θλίψις).[23]  So even as he was concerned whether the Corinthians’ haste would be timely enough—if any of the Macedonians should come with me and find that you are not ready to give, we would be humiliated[24]—he was overflowing with the joy set out for Jesus.  The Greek word παρακλήσει (a form of παράκλησις) translated encouragement relates to the παράκλητος as κλητός relates to κλῆσις and καλέωBut the Advocate (παράκλητος), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.[25]

Love (ἀγάπη) is not glad (χαίρει, another form of χαίρω) about injustice.[26]  I’ll spend some time here focused on the injustice (ἀδικίᾳ, a form of ἀδικία) love is not glad (or, does not rejoice)[27] about (ἐπὶ, a form of ἐπί).  The person who speaks on his own authority, Jesus said, desires to receive honor for himself; the one who desires the honor of the one who sent him is a man of integrity, and there is no unrighteousness (ἀδικία) in him.[28]  In Greek it reads, ὁ ἀφ᾿ ἑαυτοῦ λαλῶν τὴν δόξαν τὴν ἰδίαν ζητεῖ (literally, “this from himself speaks the honor his own seeks”).

I realize Jesus is the one who desires the honor of the one who sent hima man of integrity, and there is no unrighteousness in him..  Still, I find some guidance here for Bible study.  School is easy if you seek to make good grades.  All that stuff the professor jabbers on about all semester is the answer to the questions on the tests.  Remember it, feed it back, get a good grade.  The kiss of death is to actually become interested in the subject matter.  When that happens to me I get my own ideas about the questions and their answers, and I tend to speak from myself.  In other words, I disagree with the professor’s answers to his or her own questions on tests.

The academic alternative to speaking from myself is to quote recognized authorities.  That’s how I began my Bible study adventure.  But eventually it dawned on me that the Ἰουδαίοις (a form of  Ἰουδαῖος) did that faithfully.  The problem with that procedure was that Jesus appeared and declared their recognized authorities wrong.

Matthew Mark
Then Pharisees and experts in the law came from Jerusalem to Jesus and said, “Why do your disciples disobey the tradition of the elders?  For they don’t wash their hands when they eat.”

Matthew 15:1, 2 (NET)

 

The Pharisees and the experts in the law asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with unwashed hands?”

Mark 7:5 (NET)

He answered them, “And why do you disobey the commandment of God because of your tradition?

Matthew 15:3 (NET)

He also said to them, “You neatly reject the commandment of God in order to set up your tradition.

Mark 7:9 (NET)

For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Whoever insults his father or mother must be put to death.’  But you say, ‘If someone tells his father or mother, “Whatever help you would have received from me is given to God,” he does not need to honor his father.’  You have nullified the word of God on account of your tradition.

Matthew 15:4-6 (NET)

For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever insults his father or mother must be put to death.’  But you say that if anyone tells his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you would have received from me is corban’ (that is, a gift for God), then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother.  Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.  And you do many things like this.”

Mark 7:10-13 (NET)

Hypocrites!  Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, and they worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

Matthew 15:7-9 (NET)

He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.

Mark 7:6, 7 (NET)

Having no regard for the command of God, you hold fast to human tradition.”

Mark 7:8 (NET)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil.[29]  On the surface it sounds like a simple enough works religion, until I hear one of his judgments: On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’  Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you.  Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’[30]

What’s a sinner saved by grace to do?  My best answer to date is, be a sinner saved by grace.  Yes, I’m speaking from myself as opposed to quoting recognized authorities.  But I’m not seeking honor for me.  I am seeking honor for Jesus and his Father, Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God – he has seen the Father.[31]  Still Jesus said, No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.[32]  I have come to Jesus.[33]  I’m not entirely comfortable saying I am a man of integrity, and there is no unrighteousness (ἀδικία) in me, except in that sense that Paul wrote about of faith in the God who makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do.[34]   I am on that path.

I’ll pick this up again in the next essay.

Romans, Part 61

Back to To Make Holy, Part 1

[1] Romans 12:12 (NET)

[2] Also: Matthew 10:22; 24:13 (NET)

[3] Luke 1:14a (NET)

[4] Luke 1:7 (NET)

[5] Luke 1:13 (NET)

[6] Hebrews 12:2b (NET)

[7] Hebrews 12:2c (NET)

[8] John 17:5 (NET)

[9] John 15:11 (NET)

[10] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[11] John 15:10 (NET)

[12] John 15:6 (NET)

[13] Matthew 5:20 (NET)

[14] John 15:12 (NET)

[15] Romans 13:10 (NET)

[16] John 15:13 (NET)

[17] John 17:26 (NET)

[18] Galatians 5:22a (NET)

[19] John 17:26 (KJV)

[20] Proverbs 14:12 (NET)

[21] 2 Corinthians 7:4a (NET)

[22] 2 Corinthians 9:2b (NET)

[23] 2 Corinthians 7:4b (NET)

[24] 2 Corinthians 9:4 (NET)

[25] John 14:26 (NET)

[26] 1 Corinthians 13:6a (NET)

[27] 1 Corinthians 13:6 (NASB)

[28] John 7:18 (NET)

[29] 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NET)

[30] Matthew 7:22, 23 (NET)

[31] John 6:46 (NET)

[32] John 6:44a (NET)

[33] modus ponens

[34] Romans 4:17b (NET)