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Father, do not get angry if
I blame you a little.
Father, you are to blame, yes you are.
Father, you have taught me to love the dust,
How shall I live my life,
In spite of difficulties?
How does my youth pull me up towards the skies?
All my life long I brought myself to account,
Till I became fed up with counting!
And my poor conscience died of torment.
Father, my heart still blames you.
Why, why haven't you taught me how to live
with wolves?!!

When a man is born nowadays he finds that "the life of wolves" is the norm with no way of escaping it, where all have parted company with everything that is clean and decent. People have regressed into the time of slavery, putting their children on display in the slave-market, not out of ambition for a luxuriant life in a palace, but just to be able to survive!

If we take a man from such a time and world as ours, I do not suppose he will be much concerned whether the book he has between his hands is worthy of respect or disrespect. Such a man wouldn't really care whether his religion is a good thing that profits him or an unjust thing that does him wrong! All he wants from life is a job that consumes his strength and an income that fills his thoughts; and his sole concern is to multiply it, subtract it and divide it! The cares of the masses are enough to keep them thinking that searching in religious matters is a luxury available to only the well-to-do, or those who have lost hope of a life of luxury.

These cares are the narrow gate which my Lord Jesus meant when he said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13,14).

The greatest crime committed against humanity is forcing man to engage himself daily in a struggle for the necessities of life. He ends up being absorbed by that struggle, his life being consumed, going round and round like a windmill, or like an ox at a Persian wheel!

This dilemma had me baffled, until the Bible gave me the answer: "Whatever is born of God overcomes the world!" (1 John 5:1-5). I took a step towards God, but He took a leap towards me; I searched for Him, and He chose me. I gave Him a part of my life, and He granted me everlasting salvation. The Bible taught me that "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice" (John 18:37). I can say that serenity was the fruit of four years of continual searching and studying. Now I have the assurance that springs from that truth, for which I searched long and hard, and found on the pages of the Book. For this reason I have believed in it.

Perhaps some will think this shift in attitude and belief is too great or too difficult, while others may pinpoint the problems it entails. For how could Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, become for me Jesus, the incarnate God?! And how could the Messenger of God and his Word be the Son of the living God for me?!

How can the Prophet of the Children of Israel become the Redeemer of the first and the last?! Coming to know the Christ of the Qur'an, however, makes these questions not only superfluous but also quite meaningless. Faith in Christ as the Qur'an represents him, is the logical introduction to faith in Christ as the Gospels portray him.

In the first part of this book I presented the motives for a Gospel-based faith, and showed how the Qur'an led me to believe in the doctrines of the Bible. On the following pages I will stop at some passages from the Bible, which we will study. I will also endeavour to present to you what I learned from them.

This study is not going to be an academic one, for my purpose is not to carry out theological research, stopping at every passage, scrutinising it, and deriving all sorts of hidden and deep meanings out of it. My purpose is rather to make an inward study that speaks and talks, one that goes beyond what lies outside and touches upon the existing suffering.

The ultimate purpose for studying the passages for themselves is to turn them into a scientific museum or a gallery of arts, which, however great and magnificent it may be, will be just a visiting place for those who seek knowledge, or those who are after some fun. But when you live these passages, they become part of your very being. And one's own being and a mere place to visit are worlds apart!

We live these teachings so that here and now we might fulfil the potential for true life within us. This vibrant being we seek to be comprises an artistic side, an intellectual side and a sentimental side.

This way of life is not mere philosophy, but is full of struggle and dialogue. It is the struggle of a living idea, not of a cold, impersonal intellect and unresponsive words.

It is according to these scales that we will be held to account.


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I said to the one talking to me, "The attractive elements in Christianity are numerous and multifarious. They are good enough to convince any who seeks the truth. The doctrine of the Resurrection is enough for such a one. Love is one of Christianity's sublime principles, and eternal salvation is one of the fruits reaped by those who adopt it as their way of life." I shall not gloss over the obstacles that stood in the way that led to my belief in it, and I do not even say they were a small thing. But I tell you the truth, the difficulty of these obstacles does not arise from the impossibility of proving the veracity of the resurrection but rather from the teachings with which we have been indoctrinated since birth. These teachings created in us a kind of sentiment that automatically rejects the divinity of our Saviour Jesus Christ! The doctrine of resurrection is therefore difficult and complicated if it is discussed with those who have been thus indoctrinated. But it is quite straightforward, manageable, convincing, clear, cogent and fully believable once you read it in its Book.

The simplest rule of argument and dialogue is to hear what your opponent says, not to stop your ears and listen only to your voice. The voice of the Bible was powerful when it discussed the question of the resurrection, for the One who inspired it expounded it in such a way to satisfy the intellect and pierce the very soul.

Mark says in the beginning of his Gospel, "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.'" This announcement captured the essential meaning of Christ's message, namely the imminence of the kingdom of God. Together with God's kingdom and dominion over the world, the Jews of old expected peace to prevail among individuals, the nations and the peoples. They anticipated that justice would dominate people's relationships, and that protection and support would be the lot of the poor. From the beginning of time man longed for peace, justice, a better life and salvation. Yet they could not attain these things, and believed in the existence of adverse powers that kept them from doing so. The Bible calls these powers "demons" or "devils".

From the Biblical point of view, God alone is master over life and history of man. He alone is capable of crushing all adverse evil powers that oppress man, and He alone is able to grant him salvation, liberty and true life. This is the meaning of the kingdom of God, with which Christ started His evangelistic message.

The Gospel according to Matthew relates the following about Jesus:

“Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, ‘Could this be the Son of David?' But when the Pharisees heard it they said, ‘This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.' But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you'" (Matthew 12:22-29).

Christ reveals himself as being sent from God to represent him and act as deputy on his behalf for the realisation of his kingdom. The people he chooses will become the people of God, and whosoever accepts to follow Christ and to join the people of God will obtain reconciliation, forgiveness, peace, salvation and liberty that God has in store for all those who submit to His kingship.

All the works of Jesus, whether healing the sick, forgiving sinners or casting out demons, are called "signs" by the Gospel. By this it means tokens that indicate that the kingdom has come into effect. These signs denote that God is near to men, all men, through his love, especially to the poor, the forlorn and the sinful. This is the meaning of Jesus' answer to the disciples of John the Baptist, whom he had sent to ask Him, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me" (Matthew 11:3-6).

The kingdom of God was manifested in the works of Christ. This can be clearly seen, especially in the attitude he took towards the precepts of the Law and towards sinners. The precepts and the commandments stated in the Law of Moses are the precepts and the commandments of God. No one can fulfil them but God alone. But we see Jesus fulfilling the law of the Sabbath, declaring he was "Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:28), and see him fulfilling the laws of fasting and all the ceremonies regarding the washing of the hands, cups, and pitchers (Mark 7:1-13). We see him especially forgiving sins, knowing that no one forgives sins but God alone!

Jesus does works on earth that come from God, showing that his work is God's own work, and that his will is the same as God's will. He says to the sick man, "Son, your sins are forgiven you" (Mark 2:4), and says to the sinful woman, "Your sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:48).

Through this revelation the hearer realises that God is forgiving sins in the person of Jesus. Jesus appears in his teachings, as well as in his works, as God's representative. He says, "He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me" (John 12:9) and "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). Jesus is greater than the prophets and scribes of the Jews, for the prophets revealed the word of God, while Christ is the word incarnate. The doctors of the Law and the scribes confined their teaching to the interpretation of the Law of Moses, while Jesus brings the people to the fulfilment of the Law. As he himself said, "Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17). Whenever the prophets spoke, they started their utterances with the expression "Thus says the Lord" (Isaiah 1:24). But we find no trace of this expression in the utterances of Jesus; He spoke with His own authority. "You have heard that it was said to those of old... But I say to you..." (Matthew 5:21). "It was said to those of old" was a familiar expression that referred to God. And who can add anything to the words of God, or dare perfect his words, except for God himself? Yet we hear Jesus add, "But I say to you." This proves that Jesus realised his words were not the words of mere man, but the words of God himself. It tells us that he brought the words of God, which had been given under the Old Testament, to perfection. And now are we not entitled to ask, "If Christ preached that the kingdom of God had come in His person and words, who do you think He is?"

The title of a prophet is not sufficient to express his message, therefore the Gospel says about him, "Indeed one greater than Jonah is here" (Matthew 12:41) and "one greater than Solomon is here" (Matthew 12:42). The early apostles saw in him "the Messiah," "the Son of Man," "the Lord," "the Son of God" and "the Word of God."

The Gospel according to Mark relates that when Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you think I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ" (Mark 8:27-30). The Gospel according to John relates also that Andrew the apostle, after he had come to know Jesus, met his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated as "the Christ") (John 1:41). Then Philip ran across Nathanael, and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (John 1:43-46). Who is then this Christ of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, and whom the Jews awaited?

"Christ" was an Old Testament title given to a prophet, a priest or a king. The Jews anointed such persons with pure oil as an indication that they had been dedicated to the service of God and his people. Moses, for example, anointed Aaron and his sons to be priests (Leviticus 8:30), and Samuel anointed David king over Israel (1 Samuel 16:13). The unction of oil is also a symbol of imparting the Holy Spirit. There is a clear reference to this in the Bible. "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him (David) in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward" (1 Samuel 16:13). God promised David, through Nathan the prophet, that He would raise up from his seed a king, and that He would "establish the throne of his kingdom for ever" (2 Samuel 7:13). Through the ages the Jews lived in anticipation of the fulfilment of this prophecy of the coming of a king from the seed of David, who would be "anointed" like the rest of the kings of Israel. Yet the kingdom of this king would not come to an end. Their hope became more urgent after the destruction of their kingdom and the exile to Babylon. Henceforth, the prophets started to describe the features of this Christ who would come at the end times, full of the Holy Spirit, being both a prophet and a king, and establishing the kingdom of Israel forever. The apostles saw that all the Old Testament prophecies regarding Christ had been completely fulfilled in the person of Jesus.

Christ came full of the Holy Spirit, but not as a political king, as the Jews expected. His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:33-38). Therefore he disappeared when the Jews wanted to make him king over them (John 6:15).

This is the profound meaning of the experiences that the writers of the Gospels say Christ went through at the beginning of his public ministry (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12,13; Luke 4:1-13). These experiences did not occur to Jesus only once, but they represented a struggle or conflict that he had to undergo throughout his public life, opposing the Jews' idea of the awaited Christ. The Jews expected a Christ who would stun the people with supernatural wonders, such as turning stones into bread, casting himself down from the pinnacle of the temple without being hurt, and thus enslave himself to the demonic powers in order to possess the kingdoms of the earth and the glory thereof. Jesus, on the other hand, came as a suffering Christ, full of the Holy Spirit, bringing life to the hungry through the word of God; a suffering Christ who offered himself on the cross as a redemptive sacrifice, so that the kingdom of God might be realised in people's hearts.

That is why when Christ forewarned the disciples of his suffering and death, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Jesus, saying, "Far be it from You Lord; this shall not happen to You" (Matthew 20:16). But he said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men" (Mark 8:32-33). Men's thoughts about the awaited Christ are satanic thoughts in God's eyes, because they see the way to glory in temporal authority and material kingship. But the way to glory, according to the divine logic, is the way of love, sacrifice, and giving unto death. As he said to the two disciples he met on the road to a village called Emmaus, who had lost all hope after the death of Christ, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered all these things and to enter into His glory?" (Luke 24:25-26).

As for the title "The Son of Man," it is the oldest one given to Christ in the New Testament. It goes back to the seventh chapter of the prophecy of Daniel: "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom."

The careful reader of the Bible will inevitably notice that the title of "the Son of Man" is always contained in the framework of discourse on the end times and the Judgement: "Also I say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8,9).

The authority of the Son of Man is, however, not restricted to the Day of Judgement at the end of the age; the kingdom of God has begun with the coming of Christ – "the Son of Man has power on earth" (Mark 2:10). It is this same Son of Man who "has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). He also declared Himself to be "Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:28). Despite all that, the authority of the Son of Man on earth is not an authority for the sake of superiority, but for the service of others. Our Lord said, "Foxes have hole and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" (Luke 9:58).

Christ's other oft-used title was "the Lord". The New Testament uses this title in many places in reference to Jesus. It is a translation of the Greek word kyrios, which means "lord". But the Greek New Testament uses the Greek word for "master" in some places, and the word kyrios in others. In order to understand the usage of this word we have to go back to the Old Testament, where the word was originally used. The Jews of old refrained from saying the personal name of God Yahweh, out of reverence. So whenever they read the Torah, they would say "Adonai" instead, which means in Hebrew "the Lord". Hence the word the Lord came to be equivalent to God's personal name Yahweh. So when the Jewry of Alexandria translated the books of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek – that translation of the Bible is known as the Septuagint – they translated the word Yahweh as the word Kyrios, which means "the Lord".

Hence we conclude that the apostles, when they confessed Jesus as Lord, gave him a title that was exclusively divine. Therefore the words Lord and God are interchangeable in the Bible, and are used side by side.

This title – with its apparent divine significance – was given by the apostles to Jesus after the mystery of His person was unfolded before them. They then realised that the cross was the end of the everything for him, because the One who was crucified rose again from the dead, appeared to them, and entrusted them with the charge of calling all nations to believe by the power of that authority which has been given to him.


The mystery of Christ's person, as it seen through the New Testament, is epitomised in his relationship with God the Father. Christ is a man who is related to God through the heart of his message and the depth of his being. There is no difference between the person of Christ, the Word of God, and his message and being. His message is his being, and his being is his message. No one else could say the same, not even the prophets. Every man has his own being, and later he receives from God a message that is independent of his being. But with Jesus the message and the being are identical. His message is to reveal the will of God, manifest his love, and establish his kingdom.

God then has given a final revelation of himself to the world in the person of his Son Jesus, who is the visible image of his invisible hypostasis (substance) and eternal Word. He is the fullest and truest expression of God's nature. This is what we learn of our exalted Saviour from the Bible.


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Talking about anxiety, Dale Carnegie wrote in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, "You do not get stomach ulcers from what you eat. You get ulcers from what is eating you." There is no doubt about the truth of the statement, "If anxiety afflicts you, you lose the pleasures of life, even if they come seeking you." But what can a man do if anxiety and worrying in his life are imposed on him by his religious belief?

Surely those who have been told that "haply" or "perchance" God will forgive and atone for their sins are cast into anxiety, worry and bewilderment by their own belief. With every passing evening and morning, they do not know with which party they will be – with those who will be forgiven and delivered, or those who are lost because their repentance will be rejected?!

Miserable is the man who lies down to sleep unsure of the eternal future of his life. Miserable is he who leaves the presence of God without receiving salvation. And blessed is he whose soul is assured, and whose spirit rests in a peace that is built on God's assurance of his deliverance!

The brightest side of Christianity is the assurance of those who believe in it for their salvation, which is through the blood of our Saviour who has covered our sins and has forgiven us our trespasses. Under the wings of this salvation doctrine, we find that God demonstrated his affection towards man when he created Adam from the dust of the earth. He further demonstrated this affection when He talked with them through His prophets. And finally, when the fullness of time had come, he showed his affection for them in the person of His Son Jesus, who came to save man in His person, life, death and resurrection.

Some preachers, when speaking of redemption and salvation, confine them to Christ's death. Yet this is a very narrow view, for with the appearance of Christ, the Son of God in the flesh, the creation of the new man became possible, a new man free of imperfection, crookedness, transgression and sin. Through the incarnation of the Word, human nature obtained salvation, and became united with the person of the Son of the holy God, thereby becoming "renewed" and "deified" (2 Peter 1:4).

There was found in Jesus Christ perfect and genuine human nature. The salvation of man is, above all, a salvation of being. This salvation of being is brought to fulfilment through unity with the personal being of Christ, so that it becomes "a new creation" (1 Corinthians 5:17) being united with God in substance. For in the same way as we were separated from God through Adam, we are united with him through Jesus Christ.

The salvation of humanity was not achieved by the incarnation of the Word only, but through the works of the Lord Jesus as well. Luke relates that Jesus entered a synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read: "The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And when He unrolled the scroll, He came to the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, be cause he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.' Then He rolled the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today is this Scripture fulfilled in your hearing.' All of them bore witness to Him and marvelled at the words of grace which proceeded out of His mouth" (Luke 4:16-21).

The Jews celebrated the year of Jubilee every 50 years, during which they had to leave the land fallow, set the captive free, and give the slaves their freedom. That year was a year of grace to the Lord. And by the coming of Christ this year of grace, which recurred after every seven sabbatical years, became an unending year on account of Christ, who is the grace of God poured out upon all flesh, especially the poor, the heavy-laden and the sinners. When man is under the control of his self, lusts and proclivities, he is living under worry, bondage and fear. This causes him to fall into sin and become a slave to it. He is, consequently, in need of someone to save him from his sin, and rescue him from the dangers of society, which despises him, looks down on him and enslaves him. He is in need of someone to rescue him from the fetters of society and the dangers of nature; such as diseases, disasters and ultimately death.

Christ came to save man, to rescue him and free him from the grip of all these dangers. He came to forgive sins and reveal to sinners that God's love is greater than their sins. He came to show, with his words and deeds, that sinners, strangers and the poor are nearer to God's heart than the Pharisees, the oppressing rulers and the rich. Thus he emphasised that God's love extends to all people without distinction. He also came to heal the sick, raise up the invalids and bring the dead back to life, revealing that the love of God is more powerful than the dangers of disease and death.

Love alone saves man on all levels: his soul, his relationship with others, and his relation with life and existence. Christ has shown to us in his life and his works the depth of that love, which is not the same as the love of a man to another, but the love of God himself poured out on all human kind, giving life to their souls and saving them from their bondage (Romans 5:5). If Christ's works have accomplished salvation for man, all the more his death is the culmination of his salvation work.

The Jewish nation was awaiting a Messiah king, who would save them from their bondage, set them free from the control of the Romans, and restore the kingdom of David. This king would establish a worldly kingdom like all other kingdoms, which would be built on power and political supremacy. That is why they refused to acknowledge Jesus as the awaited Messiah. Jesus has fulfilled the desire of the bygone generations and the prophecies of the prophets by coming to save man and release the nation. But he would not do that by resorting to ways befouled by transgressions, for transgressions cannot be taken away by another transgression. A grudge cannot be taken away by a grudge, sin cannot be taken away by sin, and killing cannot be annulled by killing. Love alone can remove grudges, and forgiveness alone can blot out transgression. To die for the killer is the only way to annul killing.

Envy was able to hang Christ on the cross, but it stood helpless before the forgiveness that Jesus granted those who nailed Him to the cross: "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34).

Christ charged His disciples that love for their enemies should be their distinctive characteristic, because it is the distinctive characteristic of the heavenly Father, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Luke 5:44-45). This love is not based on the erection of barriers and the destruction of others on account of being enemies or immoral or godless or atheist idolaters, but on the removal of all the barriers that separate man from his fellow-man, and man from God. Christ achieved it in his life when he forgave the sinners, and achieved it to the full in his death when he forgave his killers!

I have read some explanations on the death of our Redeemer and Saviour that represent it as a work that Christ did to appease the wrath of God, or as a ransom that Christ paid for man to free him from the bondage of Satan. But I believe that the wrath of God upon sinners and their bondage to Satan are moral images that aim at manifesting the true dimension and the deep contradiction between sin and God. The animal sacrifices that the Children of Israel offered to God expressed man's realisation of the distance that sin creates between him and God, and his conviction that death only can atone for sin, since sin is an uttermost offence against God.

God himself took the initiative. It is he who took the first step in his mercy to justify the sinner and give life to the dead. The New Testament does not say that man reconciled himself to God, but "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself" (1 Corinthians 5:19). The New Testament expresses this idea with various examples and illustrations: God, the Good Shepherd, goes out himself seeking the lost sheep till He finds it (Luke 15:1-10), God "so loved the world that gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Jesus' offering of himself initiated a new covenant. The old one was initiated by Moses between God and his people through the blood of animals: "And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold, the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words'" (Exodus 24:8). Jesus, however initiated a covenant with those who believe in him by his blood.

The old covenant was based on the Law of God, which he gave to Moses, but the new covenant is based on the grace of Christ, "For the Law was given through Moses, by grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). Christ's grace and love made him pour his blood upon his beloved ones. The old covenant, which was made with Moses, included the people of God which was the Jewish nation - the physical seed of Abraham. As for the new covenant, it is God's covenant through Christ with God's people from every tribe and nation. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).

To sum up, the Bible takes us into the time of the new covenant, giving us this sure guarantee salvation, without which man lives in anxiety that ends in destruction.


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Psalm 82 says, "I said, ‘You are gods.'" Here we should stop a while to consider the statement given by Abul Alaa al-Maarri: "Don't limit my words. I, like others, speak in metaphors."

It is by way of metaphor that people apply the designation of a part to the whole. On this basis we understand that the divine aspect of man is the most sublime part in him and is in fact his hidden essence. On account of it men are addressed as "gods" so as to remind them of the lordly status they are supposed to be elevated to, and that this, not their evanescent mortality, is their eternal reality. For he has made them in the image of His sempiternity.

In my opinion, if the writer of this psalm were to use today's language, he would more readily use the word "lordly" or "divine" than to use the word "gods". This is correct at least according to the use of metaphor in speech.

Let us say then that men are required to rise to the sublimity of their origin and discover their reality— that they are divine and "the children of the Most High God" by the eternal spirit, not by the transient, corruptible, perishing body.

The one who is truly divine is to resemble God, inasmuch as the true son takes after his father. The children of God should, therefore, be perfect as God is perfect.

This is the Bible's doctrine and commandment, which distinguishes it and sets it apart. For the beloved John cries out in his first epistle, prompted by his usual enthusiasm and zeal which earned him the title "the son of thunder," "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God" (1 John 3:9,10).

It is no wonder, for Christ himself said in the Sermon on the Mount, "You shall be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48)! Since God is love, as the Bible teaches us, love should be the nature of God's true children, for all without exception. Yes, all who want to be of God should so love. This is the teaching of the Bible. Doesn't the second commandment of the Law say, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself" (Matthew 22:39)? But Christ said, moreover, in the Sermon on the Mount, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?'" (Matthew 5:34:47). "For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.... But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful" (Luke 6:32-36).

God is the Lord of all and provider for all without exception. All people are your brothers in God, both enemy and friend. "Whoever does not practise righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother" (1 John 3:9,10).

The passages of the first epistle of John flow after this integrated, well-ordered manner as a river of gold, speaking of the conclusive love, by which people truly become God's children. For he is love.

If we take a look at the Ten Commandments of the Law we will find the commandments regarding God, honouring parents, and love for the neighbours the only positive ones, while all the rest of the commandments are a list of don'ts: "You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal" (Exodus 20:13-15).

With the message of Christian love the basis altered. The Law of Moses became inadequate; a much greater thing than the obedience to the Law was now required. It is your whole soul that is required of you, the Bible teaches, not certain works, ceremonies, or avoiding unclean things only. For without love all other virtues are meaningless!

Thus the apostle Paul was careful in chapter thirteen of his first epistle to the Corinthians to draw the attention of the Christian believers to love, so that those who got that spiritual and mental glimpse should be aware of it. He says, "Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal."

Moreover, Paul goes on to say that prophecy itself and perfect faith are nothing without love! "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

If you were to ask the apostle Paul about the love of which he speaks and discusses at length, he would not be able to define this simple, self-evident thing. He defines it by love itself! It is enough to pronounce the word "light" to someone endowed with eyesight and he will know what you are taking about, for he has a direct experience of light. But if you say "light" to somebody and he asks you what it is, you immediately know, without any further enquiry, that he is blind. Then you will resort to explanation, and perhaps he will understand a little of what you are talking about. This is what the apostle Paul did in his awesome explanation: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does parade itself; it is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek it own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13).

This is a description of the attributes not of the substance, by describing the fruits, the results, and not the very essence. Talking to believers who have been enlightened by the Spirit of God, the apostle Paul does not hesitate to say to them, "And now abide faith, hope, love (and everything else is perishing)." He adds in complete decisiveness, "But the greatest of these is love. Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts." This attitude is worth pausing over. Those who have not been "granted" the grace of love, namely those who do not have love for their new nature in Christ, are just like those who don't have "musical ears". They may see that they should learn music, so they spend all their days and nights practising. But try as they might, the result of their playing will never be art; for art is a divine gift, an inborn tendency and a true feeling.

The best thing those without this love can do is holy war. But they are in error if they consider this as able to lead them anywhere without the original guide. And the farthest thing they can reach is to create a false value and artificial righteousness, which have the appearance and form of true righteousness, but not its essence and spirit! We know that the letter kills, but the spirit gives life, as the Bible teaches (2 Corinthians 3:6). So they at best turn in the orbit of the law, namely the outward works of righteousness, and endeavour to carry out the law - any law that determines for them good works to obey and bad ones to shun in the form of do's and don'ts. We therefore find that the apostle Paul does not hesitate to find fault with the Law, which is nothing but a code of commands and interdictions. He says it is "the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones" (2 Corinthians 3:7)! With this outward appearance, mentality and acts that are out of fear not love, people may understand the teaching about righteousness in a superficial, literal manner. The Lord Jesus said to the rich young man, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor." But the young man considered the advice hard, which made Christ say, "How hard it for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:21-25).

So what do they do with their literal understanding of such a commandment as this? The best they can do is to distribute their money among the poor, thinking that this act is righteousness in itself. But apostle Paul cries out warning these, to their disappointment, "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:3)! Does this mean that the act itself is nothing? Yes!

The fruit is without value unless it is genuine fruit. It should be the result of a natural growing process from a seed in the heart that germinates and produces a stem, leaves, blossoms and finally fruits. The incentive is the foundation, and there is no building without foundation. Good fruit is produced by a living tree that can steadily yield such fruit.

The act produced by the soul draws its worth from the fact that it is an expression of an inner meaning and a noble nature, not just an isolated act expressing nothing but itself. Only by this are things put in their rightful place. For it is man himself that should be evaluated as worthy, not an impersonal action cut off from its motives. What a great difference there is between an impersonal action that is not done out of genuine motives and overflowing emotions, and an action that the soul calls for and finds its fulfilment and rest in it! Every value we attach to an act without heavenly incentive is a mere "phonic phenomenon," useless and to no avail. And if it is intentional, it is hypocrisy and dissimulation. This is what the Bible presents and teaches.

There is another kind of false righteousness or dead virtue that does not spring from the willingness of a loving soul, which is that sort of virtue one could call "the payment virtue". It is practised out of a desire for reward and fear of punishment. But the doer is merely a slave when he does a good deed seeking something other than to please God. He is spurred on by greed and driven back by apprehension, living in fear of punishment or of missing grace. Therefore the Bible says, when it talks about the Law, that it is "the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones." But as for grace, it says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who has fear is not perfect in love" (1 John 4:18). This should not be amazing, because fear is characteristic of slaves, while love is characteristic of children.

The Bible's teaching about love and charity is neither easy nor convenient to those who want it; but it is rather the fruit of hard work, sweating and spiritual toil. Love begins, as I said before, as a seed in the ground, then it grows little by little until the good fruit appears. When I read through the Bible, believing in what it said, I found this profound teaching too heavy to bear and too difficult to put into practice. How can I love those who are my enemies, pray for those who hate me, and release forgiveness for those who persecute me? These are things quite beyond me. To tell the truth, I was in a difficult predicament indeed.

It was a strange paradox. After I received Christ as Saviour of my life, I talked with some of my previous teachers who had taken it upon themselves to instruct me in my previous religion. I spoke to them with unlimited hatred bearing a grudge against them, because I felt inside me that they had been leading me astray and had been about to throw me into the ring of fire and to shut me away from the light of heaven. I tried to demolish their foundation and destroy their buildings, imagining to myself that I, in doing so, was guiding them to the truth I had heard. But I was, in fact, avenging myself on them and punishing them. And on a night of true spiritual change of direction in my life, I returned home after a discussion with one of my previous teachers, which lasted long hours. I took the Bible and started to read. And the Lord spoke to me through the apostle Paul one time, and the beloved John another time, through the pages of the Bible. I found nothing but reproach, censure and condemnation for my attitude. Every word in the Bible said to me, "No! This is not Christianity. You are wrong. You need to "walk in the newness of life" (Romans 6:4). Then I wondered, "Haven't I already been regenerated? I have believed in the divinity of Christ and his Sonship to God and his resurrection. I also expect earnestly his second coming. I practise the Christian virtues as far as I know. Isn't Christianity or any other religion made up of these two: faith and works?" Then Christ answered me, "Yes, you were regenerated when you opened your heart to me and became a new creation. But you need to be renewed every day so that you can be in the image of my love to you. You also need to express my love to all, as I have loved you." After that he taught me through the apostle Paul in the chapter of love: "And though I have faith, so that I could remove the mountains, but have not love, it profits me nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2,3). When I finished reading, I felt the need for that kind of life which my Lord prescribed for me in his Book. But I felt heavy and detached. I went to him in prayer. I asked him for help and deliverance. I asked him to help me and assist me in reaching the life of perfection which he described in his Book. On that night I gave my whole life to my Lord, so that he could do whatever he wanted with it. I gave him the authority over my life, and found that Christ lived in me and through me that Christian life that I found so difficult that only gods or the sons of gods could live it. Hence I realised that the whole thing is not dependant on what I do, but on what my Master does, because he gives the power and we are the instruments through which His power flows. At this point, Paul's experience came true for me: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

I learned that the renewal of life does not mean the introduction of good works and nice intentions amongst a number of bad habits and low morals. This mixing cannot result in a creditable future and good behaviour. It does not indicate perfection or acceptance, for hardened hearts may drip some good, and stingy fingers may be moved to give. But this is not called conversion. Conversion is rather a life renewed after it has been worn out, and is a definitive change that transforms the characteristics of the soul, just as dead and barren ground is transformed when rain showers it from heaven.

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