Unconditional Love – BT1
God’s unconditional-love doesn’t condemn His children to separation from Him
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According to John 15:1-8, when a Christian isn’t producing fruit, contrary to so much horribly-misleading doctrines blowing through the Church caused from horribly-misleading translations of the bible, God the Father, the Vine-dresser or Master-gardener, absolutely doesn’t “cut off” the branch (Christian) and “let it carelessly drop to the ground” or “throw it” into hell to burn for eternity! What kind of person comes up with this stuff?
Careful analysis of the text reveals that God carefully “lifts up” or “ties up” the branch higher on the Vine of Christ to receive more “light” for more nutrition, and also to keep it out of the darkness that causes leaf-molding, and to also keep it away from the threat of rodents and bugs that crawl up from the soil and underlying debris. I’ve done a lot of gardening and have known several winery caretakers and that’s exactly what they do! This same caring Father God carefully prunes extraneous, distracting growth from the producing branches to produce even more! When we disconnect from the Vine of Christ, as all too often ALL OF US do – come on, be honest, you self-righteous Christians – we ALL experience the “withering away” separation from the zoe genuine-life of the Vine of Christ, but we aren’t dead yet, though we start to feel like it, and sometimes wish we were!
That’s when we become susceptible to the “faithless world of men,” a new 3rd person plural set of actors – not the 3rd person singular Vine-dresser or Vine nor God’s angels who haven’t even been mentioned but “are ALL ministering spirits sent to out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation” (a). No! This other group is the world’s Christian-haters, antichrists, deceivers, false prophets, false teachers, and all those who persecute the Church. They are “the competition” of the world’s religions and cults that ‘magically’ show up on your door step when you have walked away from Christ, that come out of the woodwork like roaches, to “gather the branches up” for themselves into their own “flocks,” whether this is into fellow drug rings, bars, wild parties, porn sites, gangs, terrorist organizations, Christian cults, or other religions. This is where Christians will really get kaio “set on fire, kindled” (b) by the 3rd person plural ‘world’ group of people who throws these “disconnected” Christians ‘one by one’ into fiery trials, like “branches into a fire.” However, we also have to remember, “What is meant for evil God can turn into good” (c), for kaio is often used of the fires of purification to cleanse metals like gold and silver from their impurities. The world tries to pick us off one by one – by one person coming to your door, then 2, then 3, and pretty soon you are in their group! <Notes> a) Hebrews 1:14, b) kaio: is not a ongoing, routine participle action/state as is described of hell in the bible, nor does it mean “consumed” as some translate, c) Genesis 50:20.
These “withering trials from separation from the vine” may indeed be the “testing in order to prove what is genuine” and indeed part of “discipline of the Lord for those He unconditional-loves, in which you are to endure” (a). That’s exactly what Peter implies: “You have been grieved by various trials, so that the dokimion tested/proven genuineness (b) of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is dokimazo tested/proven (b) by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (c). Paul says the same thing to saved Christians: “Now if anyone builds on the foundation of gold, silver, precious stones, [or] wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day [of judgment] will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will dokimazo test/prove what sort of work each one has done” (d). And again, “I proseuchomai conversationally-pray that your unconditional-love may abound more and more in/by/with knowledge and all discernment (e) – see New Covenant Ways – BT16, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the Day of Christ” (f). Many Christians confuse the ‘Bema-Seat’ judgment of actual believers, where rewards are given out based on how well we “ran the race,” much like Olympic games do, even “in the midst of refining/burning (i) that comes toward/destined for your peirasmos test/trial” (k), versus the ‘Great White Throne’ judgment of unbelievers which is condemnation and sentencing to eternal separation from God in the lake of fire! <Notes> a) Hebrews 12:6-8, b) dokimion also in James 1:3 is from the verb dokimazo that means to “test, examine, or discern to demonstrate or prove something is acceptable, genuine, approved, good, and approved,” c) 1 Peter 1:6-7, d) 1 Corinthians 3:12-13, f) aesthesis: the type of sensory perception or discernment which cuts through hazy ethical/moral matters to really size things up” – see also aistheterion used in Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil,” i) Philippians 1:10, j) purosis: refiners fire to purify metals: Proverbs 27:21; Revelation 18:9, 18, k) 1 Peter 4:12.
We have to remember that it is Satan and his people who “steal, destroy/corrupt/pollute, and kill” – not the Lord Jesus Christ who “came to give super-abundant, zoe genuine-life” (a). Remember, the Father will “run out and greet every returning prodigal son” (b) – He did with me after 15 years of running away! He will even “go in search of the one that went astray, the one that is lost – until He finds it” (c)! That’s why He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (d). “Nothing in all creation – neither death, life, angels, rulers, present, future, nor powers – will be able to separate US from The Unconditional-Love of/belonging-to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (e). That’s what trusting-relying-faith depends on! <Notes> a) John 10:10, b) Luke 15:11-32, c) Matthew 18:12; Luke 15:4, d) Hebrews 13:5, e) Romans 8:38-39.