Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Corruption by Lust and Transformation by Love

His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:3-4)

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Before the fall of man into sin, the first man and woman lived in self-giving love, not self-grasping lust. But when sin entered the world, so also did lust. Instead of offering ourselves to God the Father in response to his love, and then to others in self-giving love, lust became our way of life. Instead of viewing others as persons to love in self-giving, lust entered our hearts, and we began to view others as objects to use for our own gratification.

If you want to know what is wrong with the world, the answer is lust. Lust is self-grasping, rather than self-giving. Defined negatively, lust is a lack of love for God in our hearts. 

If you want to know the solution to the problem of lust, it is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ, who came not in self-grasping, but in self-giving: "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

The heavenly Father offers his beloved Son to us as a gift---a gift that reunites us with the Father, so that we might once again know the love of God that chases away the darkness of lust. To live in the love of God is to live in increasing joy and light. To live in lust, away from God, is to live in increasing unhappiness and darkness. Let us ask the Father to fill us with Jesus' faith and love within our hearts, through the gift of his Spirit. Faith will unite us to Jesus and save us by rejoining us to the love of the Father. This love will transform our attitudes, so that we will begin to see the world and live in the world, in a new way, not in self-grasping lust, but in self-giving love generated by the love of the Father in Christ for us, his adopted children. Amen.

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