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Love (and Condemnation)

“God, from the depth of His being, is love. This love is not limited to a one-time action, nor bound by a conditional time-frame. God’s love flows out of His essence. Elsewhere, Saint John declares directly, “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). Let us examine how the word of the Lord in this opening verse enhances the meaning of the entire reading, giving life to every verse. At the same time, the passage serves as a detailed exposition of the message delivered at its beginning. The Lord Jesus declares that God’s concern is to “save” and not to “condemn” (John 1:17). Why, then, does the Lord place the emphasis on condemnation (vss. 17-20)? The answer is quite simple. God sees a condemned race – His own creation – perishing and given over to the oblivion of death. The Source of Life looks lovingly upon a creation permeated by death. Its self-destruction is an affront to His very nature.” (Dynamis 4/25/2023)

“This divine grace is manifest when His betrayers, judges, and those who crucified Him, turn to Him (repent) to know Him as their Savior. He is this because, as Peter affirms, following Isaiah, “when he suffered, he did not threaten” (1 Pet 2.23): in and through the sufferings we inflict, He does not condemn, resist, or exclude; He suffers violence, but never inflicts it—He is the lamb of God who bears the sin of the world (Jn 129). Such suffering is not merely passive—something forced upon Christ—but is voluntarily undertaken and, as such, is creative, making all things new (Rev 21.5).” (Fr. John Behr)

“Since we are made in God’s image (Gn 1:27), the capacity for love is part of our inmost essence. When the Only-begotten Son of God comes into the world, He shows us our potential to love. He does more than display for us an ideal – in a supreme act of love, He directly attacks the evil that negates our capacity to love. The Lord Jesus most assuredly is all about love, for He even embraces death in order to give us life in Him. God restores us to life through the gift of His Son, so that we may dwell with Him in His eternal Kingdom. He does not abandon us to condemnation. He makes His forgiveness tangible (1 Jn 1:1-3) so that we, who are dependent upon what is concrete, may trust in Him. When He becomes incarnate, making Himself one of us, Christ our God gives us a solid basis on which to trust Him (vs. 18), to know the truth (vs. 21), to come to the light (vs. 21), and to avoid condemnation. God loves His world, and the Lord Jesus is palpable proof. We need not perish eternally, but may choose everlasting life in Him.” (Dynamis 4/25/2023)

“Satan’s rebellion against God is because Satan doesn’t want God to be merciful and forgiving, but rather he wants God to be completely just – demanding retribution and satisfaction against humanity for every sinful infraction of which humans are guilty. We Christians should contemplate this: the one demanding God be absolutely just and thus condemning sinners is Satan! God remains true to His nature as Love and is ever willing to forgive or work with His human creatures, and thus rejects Satan’s demand for absolute justice.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“If we only could remember this, and this is why the judgement is not only a moment when we are confronted with a danger of condemnation; there is in the very notion of judgement something great and inspiring. We are not going to be judged according to human standards of behavior of decency. We are going to be judged according to standards which are beyond human ordinary life. We are going to be judged on the scale of God, and the scale of God is love: not love felt, not an emotional love, but love lived and accomplished. The fact that we are going to be judged, that indeed we are being judged all the time, above our means, beyond all our smallness must, should reveal to us our potential greatness.” (Metropolitan Anthony Bloom)


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