Book: Day 6 – “Because It Is Practice for Eternity”
[*NOTE: I had some serious concerns with statements made and Bible translations used in this chapter.]
“We are compelled to love God’s family…because it is practice for eternity.”
“We are anxious that you keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, so that you will get your full reward.” (Heb 6:11, LB)
This translation is unfortunately very misleading and sounds very works-based. Read instead the NASB, Heb 6:11-12: “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” For the Living bible to translate (paraphrase?) it to say keep on loving so that you will get your full reward is very misleading. I understand how believers can interpret this within the correct framework, but to an unbeliever, a seeker or a confused believer, this is one of the many things about the material that is plain confusing at best. That it is a twisting of God’s Word and that it may lead people away from the truth is the serious nature of the matter.
The greatest lesson in life is love.
There are lessons in love, but I contend that the greatest lesson is not the things that we do for others. Rather, it is understanding and comprehending and grasping the love God has for us through Jesus Christ and this can only be done through a deep awareness of our sin.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8, NIV).
Note that it does not say “whoever is not learning to love…” but this unfortunately is what Rick Warren is leading the reader to believe in most of what he writes. The fact that he says it correctly a few times just means he is contradicting himself.
…but the love we learn now will last forever. This life is practice for an eternity of love.
It sounds hash to be critical of such a statement of love, but it is just not leading us down the straight and narrow. I hope you see this. Rather, unless we HAVE love (past tense) we ARE NOTHING and GAIN NOTHING. Read 1 Cor 13 again. The “have love” being spoken of here is to “have Christ” Himself.Â If you have Christ, you will love.
No doubt, we will be surprised in heaven by how our love has flowed into eternity (Eph 4:4).
It is true that we will be surprised in heaven by how our full devotion to Christ (investment) on earth paid off. We will see the results of our labour. But the above statement is very New Age. Will we be surprised by our love? …or by His love alone for us and others? This is really a slick slip-in of a New Age concept.
There is an urgency about learning to love now because today could be our last day on earth. … One day our earth-bound lessons will end, and we’ll love for eternity in heaven.
I agree that there is an urgency to find Christ, but where is the urgency in his last statement? Read Heb 6:11 in the NASB again (quoted above). It speaks of eagerness for the fulfillment of our hope of redemption in Christ! Rick Warren sounds like he is saying that we are adding up “graces” or “brownie points” in heaven. Such a way of thinking affects our motivations and makes them impure.
We have to study it for a lifetime, until we “know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul.” We’re to “take up permanent residence” in this life of love, where we “live in god and God lives in us” (1 John 4:16, MSG).
I know you think I’m picking at words, but please read the above carefully again. Its message is pervasive in Rick Warren’s book thus far. What is the “it” that Rick and Eugene Peterson are speaking of here? Is “it” a thing? …this life of love that I live here on earth? Is it rather not God?? Yes, it is the love which God has for us, not the life of love that we live. BIG difference, and very confusing as written.
We’re to keep loving so we will get our “full reward” (Heb 6:11, LB). The greatest rewards in heaven will be for love, and those who love the most will be the most rewarded. It is in those we love where we will find our greatest reward.
This is again a serious, serious error. I’m addressing this again here because of its implications. We don’t keep loving to get a full reward, but we are to simply continue and abide in Him. Its not works-oriented, but God-oriented. The way Rick writes it here seems to suggest that we are to look at others as opportunities to earn more gold crowns. And how would an unbeliever take such statements? Utter selfishness!! But we love because Christ first loved us, not for reward. It is our reasonable expectation when given the greatest news ever heard and being redeemed from eternal hell. Rom 12:1 says that it “is your spiritual service of worship.” See also Luke 7:47 (NET) – “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little.” The key is this: the love that God gives follows from understanding just how much we have been forgiven.
Question to Ponder: How can you practice love more urgently, consistently, and expectantly?
Phil 1:9-11 (NASB): “And this I pray, that your love may about still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” AMEN!!
Eph 3:17-19 (NASB): “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” AMEN, AMEN!!