Friday, 15 March 2013

God is Love.

"'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.....forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.'"  Exodus 34:6,7b (NRSV)

These words are reiterated in Psalm 103:8 and Jonah 4:2.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."  Deuteronomy 6:5 (NRSV)

"Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, so that you will love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live."  Deuteronomy 30:6 (NRSV)

Many statements like these in the Old Testament are followed by threats of punishment.
These are qualifications which have been added on to the statements of God's love.

An example of this practice appears in the New Testament.
In Luke 14 the story of the wedding banquet stops after the multitudes attend the banquet.
In Matthew 22, however, there is an additional section in which a man not having an appropriate wedding garment is cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This clearly demonstrates that additions of punishment were added to some sections of the Bible.

The Law of the Old Testament is telling Israel how to live in the world.
It enjoins them to live honestly, truthfully, and with love and compassion for their fellow human beings.

This is the spirit of the Law which came from God through Moses' heart.

It is a manifestation of God's love for the world.

(Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.)

Photo Credit: Shandi-lee Flickr via Compfight cc

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