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Endless Love

25 Feb

Another reason perfect love is difficult to comprehend is that it has no end. Since there is no human basis for its beginning, there’s nothing we can do to end it. God’s perfect love is eternal love. It can’t be earned by what you do nor forfeited by what you don’t do. You can choose to receive it, or you can choose to ignore it, but you can’t end it. God will not force you to enjoy his love, but you can’t stop him from offering it.

Dudley Hall

Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 170.

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Divine Love

8 Feb

Perfect love has no basis except the nature of the lover. There is absolutely nothing inherent in humankind that should make God love us. For instance, God did not look into the future and see that you are going to do good then decide that he would love you. Loving is his nature; he is only acting consistent with himself. If that doesn’t make sense to the rational minds of Adam’s descendants, it is because such love is a divine thought and must be received by faith.

Dudley Hall

Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 170.

Universal Love

28 Jan

Perfect love – God’s love – has no exceptions. “For God so loved the world,” wrote John, “that he gave his only begotten Son.” The world – that’s everyone. If you live in the world, perfect love is offered to you. It is not offered only to the good. It is not offered on the basis of merit for pity. Only the needy get special consideration, and every one of us is needy.

Dudley Hall

Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 170.

What a Life!

16 Nov

The gospel has taken a bad rap! More often than not, what is proclaimed as gospel is just another challenge to “do better.” Try hard are! Pray longer! Be more committed! Love deeper! Stop sinning! Be good! Be happy! All of these commands come as bad news to people who are trapped by their own guilt-ridden, inadequate lives…

The tragedy is that this “do better” mentality and the lifestyle it spawns is light years removed from the kind of life Jesus demonstrated. Jesus was never the victim of his environment. He chose the course he would take, even the death he would die. He was never bound by bitterness, hatred, lust, fear, or jealousy. He was never anxious about his security nor worried about his position. He never resorted to manipulation or coercion to get his way. He healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead, stilled the storms, gave sight to the blind, and loved everybody everywhere. He was known as a friend of sinners. Prostitutes and criminals did not feel condemned in his presence. He could laugh at the comedy in life and cry over the deception that blinded men to life’s beauty. And even when his contemporaries rejected him, Jesus lived with no self-rejection. His intimacy with his heavenly Father was enough. He could even face the devil personally and not fail because he trusted the identity and acceptance his Father had given him. What a life!

Who wouldn’t want the kind of life that was never at the mercy of circumstances and always one step ahead of all foes? But that life is not what people have rejected, of course. They’ve rejected the pitiful substitute bearing the name “religion” – that complex, complicated system of theological dogmas and behavioral requirements the polluted church has offered. It’s erroneously been called gospel… “good news.” And the understandable response has been, “If that’s good news, I’m sunk. No thank you.”

Dudley Hall

Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 9-10.

A Ruined Word

29 Oct

I like the translation of the word gospel found in many versions of the Scriptures: “good news.” That is exactly what it is. But not just any good news. It is the good news about God’s attitude toward needy human beings in a fallen world.

Many theories and heresies have been called gospel. To many who grew up hearing the Bible taught, it was not good news at all; instead, it was a restrictive noose around the neck and a heavy weight around the feet. The gospel was presented as something we need to heed in order to make it into heaven, but it was certainly no fun to live with.

The problem, I believe, is that so many proclaimers of the gospel never really have heard it themselves. Consequently, it has become just another ruined word in the vocabulary of fallen human beings as they endeavor to figure out some way to gain favor with God.

Dudley Hall

Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 125.