“Don’t give me doctrine, just give me Jesus!” I have heard persons say. Such persons think this sounds spiritual, but what they don’t understand is Jesus taught doctrines. Doctrine simply means teaching. There is sound doctrine which is in accordance with the truth, and there is false doctrine which does not. Beware of those who say they “reject doctrines,” because chances are you are dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. ~ Titus 2:1

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very foundation of Christianity. The apostle Paul states that apart from the resurrection our faith is meaningless. The resurrection is neither allegorical or symbolic, but literal! Jesus bore our sins on the cross, yes. But the grave could not hold Him! Death could not defeat Him! Our King is alive forevermore!

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:14, 20

Our society talks a lot about “social justice,” all the while continuously dishing out further injustice. This is not surprising, since Jesus, who taught and modeled perfect love and compassion, is mocked in Hollywood, despised in our universities, denied in Washington, and is cursed on the streets. Why? What injustice has He done?  Why is He so despised?

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? ~ Luke 23:39-40

Faith in Christ is not simply about going to church (although this is important) or doing a bunch of religious activities. Christianity is about knowing God, and it is in knowing Him we are changed. How easily we are distracted by this foundational truth.

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  ~ John 17:3

Many say, “Christians are all hypocrites” as a reason for not following Christ, but it is not a legitimate one. No one is called to take up his cross and follow after Christians, but Christ alone. One will not find hypocrisy in Him.

What is that to you? You follow me! ~ John 21:22

There are some who criticize Christians for declaring the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, yet have no problem with the exclusivity of universities, clubs, sororities, societies, and the like. Indeed, we proclaim the exclusivity of Christ, for only He has overcome death! Only through Him is there salvation. However, everyone is given an invitation, no one is excluded. But only faith in Him permits entrance into Heaven. Do not complain, there are many things in life that are exclusive that deny access to many.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

There are some who say Jesus never claimed to be God, but He could not be anymore explicit than when He told the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I am!” (Ref. Ex. 3:14)

So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. ~ John 8:57-59

Jesus’ Colossal Declaration

If I were to say, “I took my boy fishing,” you would probably assume I am a father, although I did not specifically say that I am. Or if I said that I am going to a marriage conference this weekend, you would likely think I am married. If I was brought up in a conversation, someone might say, “Yes, Geno is married and is the dad of at least one child.” Why would they come to these conclusions? I did not explicitly say that I am a father or that I am married. I did not say the boy is my son, for he could be a boy that I mentor. I did not say I am married but that I am going to a conference. Yet, one used logical reasoning to come to the conclusion I have a son and that I am married (both of which are true).

Somehow, however, many chuck such logical reasoning when it comes to the Scriptures. Some deny the deity of Jesus Christ, saying, “No where does Jesus say that he is God.” Really? In John’s Gospel, we read,

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” ~ John 10:29-33

Although Jesus did not come out and say, “I am God,” the Jews knew exactly what He was implying. Yet, how do educated individuals today not understand?

However, the following passage is more explicit, and to miss it seems to be a deliberate denial. 

Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. ~ John 8:56-59

Abraham lived around eighteen centuries before Jesus, yet He says that Abraham rejoiced that he would see His day. “What?” the Jews said, “You are just a young buck, younger than many of us!” Jesus answer? “Before Abraham, I AM! When Abraham was talking to God, that was Me! And that was Me who revealed Myself to Moses in the  burning bush!” (See Ex. 3:14)

For Jesus to declare, “Before Abraham, I am!” He was not simply saying He is God, He is stating that He is the Jehovah God! This statement is, in fact, far more emphatic than simply saying, “I am God.” The Jews understood exactly what Jesus was stating. So again, how do so many educated people fail to understand today? It is one thing to deny He is God, but it is quite another to say He did not claim to be God. He most certainly did.

The Anatomy of Love

Our society talks a lot about love. It is portrayed in movies, sang about in songs, placed on t-shirts (eg., “I [heart] _____”), and painted on posters (e.g., “Give love a chance” “Make love, not war”). But the love of the world is, too often, romanticized and superficial. After all, many in Hollywood know nothing of devoted commitment of the characters they portray. Music celebrities are often known for their activities with groupies after the gigs. T-shirts are mere pieces of cloth, and those at protest rallies with posters crying out for love are often vessels of hatred, spewing out, “Burn in hell!” Die, you pigs!” “Damn you!” to all who disagree with their position.

The world’s version(s) of love is childish, fairy-tale make believe. The world’s version is like a marshmallow, a squishy puff of sugar. However, authentic love has substance of bone and flesh, so to speak, having an actual anatomy.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Now, let’s consider briefly the anatomy, or structure, of love:

Patient (or long-suffering) – love bears with other’s differences, quirks, and mistakes without becoming quickly annoyed or rejecting hastily.

Kind – love is gentle and benevolent.

Content – love is not competitive; it is not envious when someone else has nor does it boast when someone else does not have.

Humble – love views others with equality of worth; it does not show partiality nor is it filled with contempt for others. Love does not feel superior to others.

Selfless – love does not demand its own way but considers the needs and wants of others. 

Levelheaded / Forgiving – love does not keep tally each time another fails, demanding absolute perfection. Love does not nurse a grudge to keep such bitterness alive.

Righteous / Honest – love does not not delight in evil or harm of others, nor does it take any delight in falsehood, gossip, or slander.

When fleshed out, love has real substance. Genuine love is not for the weak. Any fool can get angry, be rude, refuse to forgive, or desire harm to another. Any fool can scream profanities and derogatory statements in the midst of a rally. And any fool can look upon another with such contempt and hatred easily enough. 

It is easy to betray a friendship when one does not get his or her own way. It is easy to curse another rather than taking the time to understand them. However, what is hard, what is extremely difficult, is having genuine benevolence for others simply because they are human beings, regardless if they are like us, or attractive to us, or even kind toward us.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good …Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~ Romans 12:9, 13-21

In the Person of Jesus Christ we have the perfect example of genuine love put into action. Jesus was kind and welcoming to the misfits and outcasts; He was gentle with people’s failures and shortcomings. While the Scriptures do show He was angry on a few occasions, it was always in connection with people’s hypocrisy, injustice, and hard-heartedness towards others; ironically, He prayed for forgiveness concerning those who persecuted and crucified Him.

Genuine love is both benevolent and sacrificial for the sake of others. For all the talk and portrayals of love in our society, do these correspond with reality? How can it when we are so busy flinging mud, refusing to see any common ground; when we have such disdain for others whose political leanings are different than ours; when the “end justifies the means” while destroying others, regardless of any deception or smoke and mirrors, as if injustice can bring about justice?

My friend, love is hard. It requires courage to lower the defenses and resolve to put off our egos. It requires humility to “turn the other cheek” and to consider the needs of others. It requires commitment to hang tight when every part of you simply wants to let go. Only as we are willing to become weak will we truly become strong.

“Hell no! That’s stupid! I’m not humbling myself for nobody!” many will say. Ah, but this is precisely why we are in the mangled, divided mess we are in today. Nevertheless, unless we are willing to humble our own selves, extend kindness, meet on some common ground, and treat others with courtesy and respect, we might as well throw away our banners and burn our placards extolling love and unity. For there is no other way these can be attained. We must study the anatomy of love and put into practice its various elements. Cursing, force, and violence will only  produce more unrest, keeping us in the mangled, bloody mess we are in. Only genuine love will lead us to a productive peace and unity we claim to desire.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Our country is experiencing wounds I never anticipated, and these are inflicted by her own citizens. I do not think our country has ever been more divided as it is now. What did President Lincoln say, quoting the Scriptures? “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” President Trump cannot heal America’s vexations; however, mark my words, neither can—nor will—Biden or Harris. For how can politicians (both Democrats and Republicans) do so when they are a major part of the problem? How can any of us turn a blind eye to the lies, corruption, and hypocrisy of our so-called leaders?

While “progressives” edit and “re-write” the history books, denying the Christian foundation, and indoctrinate our children with anti-Christian and anti-American teachings, all individuals need to do is research and find unedited writings of our forefathers. Granted, not every father was a Christian, but  they certainly not the immoral monsters many of our university professors teach. But I digress. 

We are living in such tumultuous times. We might be living in an era when God shakes everything that can be shaken. Where do we go from here? Corrupt and deceptive Washington cannot save us, and drunken, immoral Hollywood most certainly cannot. I have been saying this for a long time now, but the only way our nation can be healed is if we turn our eyes unto Jesus Christ in prayer.

Is it not tragic that the very One who taught and modeled perfect love and truth is expelled from the rooms of government, schools, media, and even many churches. The very One who provides the antidote is accused of being the venom? Be not deceived, friends, the corruption in Washington, the growing degradation in schools, the violence in our streets, and the filth propagated through entertainment and media do NOT have Jesus Christ as their source. 

We are told that Jesus wept over Jerusalem, as He cried,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! ~ Matthew 23:37

The people of Jerusalem would cry out for Jesus to be put to death, preferring a murderer to be set free rather than Him. America is making the same mistake, as many would prefer to be impaled and destroyed by their own lusts and passions, than be saved by the One who can heal them. 

If we truly desire genuine unity, justice, and healing of our nation, then we must turn to Jesus. He, alone, is the Savior. The words of the “progressives” are nothing but shovels and excavators digging our graves and that of our nation. Jesus would gather us too. Can we truly afford to resist Him? What has this rebellion produced so far? Nothing good.