Class Notes: 10/22/2008

1Cor 8:9 Rom 12:14-21 The mandates for believer's to express impersonal love

We are in the midst of a study on the mandate for believers not to cause others to stumble in their use of their freedom.

We have seen that as members of the Royal Family of God, that believers are commanded to be sensitive to the needs of others.

1Cor 8:9; "But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak."

In this passage the words translated "take care" is the second person plural present active imperative of the Greek word "blepo" that literally means "to see" it refers to mental vision, and is sometimes used as it is here as a warning "to take heed" or to "beware" or to "watch out".

Since this is an imperative mood, it is a mandate to believers regarding their function inside the freedom of the PPOG for their life.

This is the law of love that is the application of impersonal love where the believer avoids offending weaker believers and avoids becoming a hindrance to their spiritual growth.

The mandates that are to direct the believer's function within the larger human society are found in Rom 12:14; that results in Rom 12:21;

Both of these principles for believers inside the PPOG are supported by the central principle found in Rom 13:10;

Within the church at the time, these principles had to be applied to address the tension that existed between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers and between "weak" Gentile believers and "strong" Gentile believers.

For Gentile Christians, the issue was whether they could eat meat that was sold in the open marketplace but had come from animals sacrificed in heathen temples.

This was a very real problem because it affected their social relationships with their family, and their neighbors and friends who were unbelievers and who were still worshiping at the pagan temples.

For Jewish Christians, in the context of fellowship with Gentile Christians, there was the tension between Jewish ceremonial laws regarding "clean" and "unclean" foods that are found in the Torah and the freedom of from those regulations that the Gentile believers had.

In 1Cor 8:10-13; Paul discusses the "weak," and describes them as those who are young in the faith, whose consciences are tender, who are still prone, due to their background of worship in the pagan temples, to make the link between the idol and the meat sacrificed to the idol.

The "strong” in the context are those who know, who are clearly convinced that idols (and the gods they represent) have no real existence. For them, therefore, meat offered to these gods in sacrifice is neutral and as a result, one cannot be defiled by it.

In this case, the "strong" are clearly "correct" in their theology; the "weak" are definitely "wrong." But, Paul argues, that those who have correct knowledge should take care that their knowledge does not lead to the ruin of a fellow believer 1Cor 8:7-9;

In this situation, the practice of the "strong" in the function of their freedom "strong" could lead the "weak" to return to the sphere of idolatry 1Cor 8:10-13; 1Cor 10:23-32;

Paul is not simply concerned here about offending others by doing something with which they disagree, or which they view as inappropriate or unacceptable for believers.

He is concerned about the eternal welfare of the "weak" believer, He does not want them to be led to do things that may cause them to fall in their spiritual life in such a way that it would lead to the destruction of their faith (1Cor 8:9; 1Cor 8:11-13; 1Cor 10:32;

The principles which that Paul uses to address this are:

1) Do nothing that causes fellow believers to come to ruin 1 Cor 8:13; 1Cor 10:32;

2) Build them up in love 1Cor 8:1b;

3) Seek the good of others 1Cor 10:24-33; (A don't ask, don't tell policy)

As we have seen, in Romans 14, the "weak" believers that are being addressed are the Jewish believers, who have not yet been able to become free from the ritual and ceremonial laws concerning clean or unclean foods (Rom 14:1-6) or the observance of special days (probably a reference to sabbath observances Rom 14:5).

The strong who stand in tension with the weak believers are the Gentile believers, for whom there never was any such thing as "unclean foods" or special days to be observed.

Their conflict with each other apparently manifested itself in an attitude of haughtiness or spiritual superiority being displayed by the Gentile believers and a condemning, judgmental spirit being directed toward the Gentile believers by the Jewish believers.

Consequently, Paul comes down hard on both groups for three reasons:

(1) God has already accepted both (Rom 14:3);

(2) Believers are ultimately accountable in these matters to God and not subject to each other's limited perspectives (Rom 14:4, 10-12); and

(3) Since participation in the kingdom of God is not determined by what we eat or drink, neither abstaining nor partaking is a cause for judgmentalism (Rom 14:13, 17).

Having shown that both the strong and the weak are to be faulted for their attitude toward each other (Rom 14:10).

He goes on to voice a special concern for the weak ones (Rom 14:15-16). In this he is clearly in keeping with the special divine concern for "the helpless" that is demonstrated throughout the word of God.

Those who are strong in doctrine are less vulnerable than those who are weak. TLJC is always looking out for the weak. Luke 15:4-7;

Therefore, the eating of foods that the weak believe to be unclean is an act that is potentially dangerous to their immature faith Rom 14:13-14;

It is an unloving act by the strong if a fellow believer "is distressed because of what you eat" Rom 14:15;NIV. In light of the rest of the verse ("Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died") NIV

Paul's concern is for the believer's spiritual growth toward maturity and their eternal well being.

The imperative of love Rom 14:15; means that believers are to act in ways that build each other up rather than in ways that tear each other down Rom 14:19-20; in ways that hold each other up and help each other along rather than in ways that cause others "to stumble" and "to fall" Rom 14:20-21;

The basis for this kind of conduct is the principle found in Rom 15:2; where Paul states that "each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up, and establishes sacrificial love as basis of the life of TLJC. Rom 15:3; "For even Christ did not please himself"

In the final analysis the believer's conduct is always to be established on the basis of TLJC and his sacrificial love Rom 5:8;

Paul does not tell believers how to specifically discern when their conduct will bring injury to a fellow believer's spiritual life. He leaves that up to individuals to determine in the privacy of their priesthood.

His position is that when the Spirit filled believer conducts their life inside the PPOG with Bible Doctrine resident and circulating in their thinking under the mentor ministry of God the Holy Spirit that God the Holy Spirit will produce in the believer the kind of sensitivity that will prevent them from being a hindrance to another believer. Gal 5:22-23;

This leads us to the mandates for the believer's function inside the PPOG that are found in Rom 12:14-21;

These mandates are in the context of Rom 12:1-2; that show that the believer’s adherence to these mandates is enabled by the Mercies of God (Grace) and is part of their "reasonable (logical) service" NET (verse 1) and is enabled by the transformation that occurs in the believer's thinking that comes from their continuous persistent PMA of Bible Doctrine that results in their performing the will of God. (verse 2).

There are mandates from the imperative mood of the Original Language found in verses 14, 16,19,20 and 21.

In verse 14, the words translated "bless" are the second person plural present active imperative of "eulogeo" and the words translated "not curse" is the second person plural middle imperative of " kataraomai" plus the negative particle "me"

This passage repeats the mandate our Lord made to his disciples in Luke 6:27-28;

When God commands believers to love all believers, John 15:12 their neigh­bors, Matt 19:19; Rom 13:9; and all mankind, Luke 6:27-28; He cannot mean personal love.

God is commanding us to solve problems, not to create problems.

The only personal love with any inherent virtue is personal love for God. God is the only perfect object of love. 1John 4:19;

The only category of love that fulfills this Divine mandate is Impersonal or Integrity love.

Impersonal love direct­ed toward all mankind has inherent virtue and problem-solving character­istics. Impersonal love is unconditional with regard to its object. This means that no merit is assigned to the object of love; the motivation for impersonal love is the not attractiveness, rapport, or worthiness of the object.

Motivated by the believer's own virtue from Bible Doctrine, impersonal love is tolerant, unprejudiced, courteous, and objective in the face of hostility and antagonism.

Impersonal love is the attitude of the spiritually adult believer that results from the filling of the Holy Spirit and the PMA of Truth in­side the PPOG. 1Cor 13:4-7; Gal 5:22-23; 1John 4:16-17;

Basic impersonal love is the absence of mental attitude sins toward anyone, those you know or do not know, toward friends or enemies.

Impersonal love emphasizes the subject while personal love emphasizes the object.

Impersonal love demands we operate on our own norms and standards.

Impersonal love is a command in which all members of the human race in the believer's periphery are the objects.

This is why impersonal love is commanded to the members of the royal family of God. John 15:12; John 15:17; 1Pet 2:17; 1John 3:23;

Impersonal love excludes emotion, while personal love may have a large amount of emotion.

Impersonal love emphasizes the integrity of the subject, while personal love emphasizes the attractiveness of the object.

Impersonal love never changes or adopts the norms and standards of those who may be attacking or maligning.

Impersonal love excludes carrying a grudge and does do not retaliate or seek revenge when wronged.

Impersonal love demands grace orientation and grace as the procedure and policy. Retaliation interferes with the justice of God punishing others, and lowers the believer to the level of his antagonist.

The royal family honor code demands the high standards of grace orientation.

Impersonal love among believers includes respect for the imputed perfect righteousness that resides in all believers.

Since the perfect righteousness of God resides in every believer, impersonal love respects other believers on that basis.

Impersonal love is the relaxed mental attitude from the filling of the Holy Spirit rather than overt friendliness or gushy sentimentality.

The source of impersonal love is God the Holly Spirit per Rom 5:5; Gal 5:22;

Under impersonal love the believer functions under their own standards from Bible Doctrine 2Tim 1:13; Rom 12:3; rather than being influenced by flattery, attraction, attention, approbation or reciprocation.

Not only does impersonal love exclude mental attitude sins and verbal sins, but it demands toleration, respect for privacy and avoidance of distracting anyone from doctrine.

The two divine policies for interpersonal relationships that are issued to the church are "Bless those who persecute you," and "Love one another."

The opposite of impersonal love is hatred that can be expressed by mental attitude sins: to detest, abhor, or loathe; to have utter disgust or intolerance

These mental attitude sins can be express through active animosity with words and conduct from a persecuting spirit.

Hatred is a mental attitude sin that is expressed by hostility toward another person. This is not separation due to personal idiosyncrasies but an aggressive dislike for another.

The source of the hatred may be based on the actions of the object of the hatred or the one who hates may imagine it. Either way hatred may result.

The Scripture is clear that believers are not to hate anyone. Believers are not to aggressively, with malice, project hostility and persecution upon anyone who despitefully uses or persecutes them.

Luke 6:27 -"I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
v. 28 - bless those who curse you (the Greek word kataraomai that means to wish one evil or to give one over to ruin), pray for those who mistreat you (the Greek word epereazo that means to insult, treat despitefully, or to accuse falsely).

This passage express that believers are not to function in malice.

Malice is a state of mind that leads to a multiplicity of sins and wrongdoings.

Malice is the state of mind that accompanies the intentional doing of a wrongful act without justification and in wanton or willful disregard of the probability that harm will result.

In malicious prosecution, there is intent to institute a prosecution for a purpose other than simply to bring an offender to proper justice according to proper jurisprudence.

The idea is to discredit the reputation of the person in order to destroy their message.

Truth cannot be destroyed but destroying the credibility of the messenger can be attempted.

Regardless of the intransigence of evil men, the believer must learn from their PMA of Bible Doctrine to bear no grudge, seek no revenge, or indulge in lust patterns that lower them to the level of their adversary.

The Royal Family Honor Code demands that the believer love unconditionally, but impersonal love does not require overt friendliness or friendship.

It requires a disposition free of mental attitude sins under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit.

Other scriptures show that the believer's impersonal love is to be accompanied by prudence and discernment as a safeguard.

Matt 7:15 - "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves."

Beware: prosecho: (Second Person Plural Active Imperative) a Command to be on alert, be on one's guard against, to be on watch.

© Copyright 2022, Michael Lemmon Bible Ministries. World Rights Reserved.