29 October 2009

The Thing Only You, and not God, Can Do

(On Love’s Surpassing Value )
“…(in I Corinthians 13) Paul says love is even greater than faith…(though) faith is even greater than understanding in this life. The whole Christian life begins in faith, progresses in faith, and culminates in faith. Only in heaven will knowledge replace faith when we no longer see “through a glass, darkly” but face to face…. Jesus was constantly exhorting people to faith and bemoaning their lack of faith. For faith is the golden key that unlocks the doors of our life to God’s presence and power. There was nothing that Jesus sought more than faith, except love. Faith is the necessary beginning of the Christian life, but love is its consummation. Faith exists for the sake of love, as the root exists for the sake of the fruit, as the beginning exists for the sake of the end. Even faith, without the works of love, is dead (James 2:26). But even the works of love are no substitute for love itself.

(Yet) Paul mentions that (all) is nothing without agape (love)... For instance, I can give away all that I have and even let my body be burned in suffering as a martyr, but it is all for naught without love. You can be a martyr without love: an angry, hateful martyr. A terrorist suicide bomber is not an apostle of love. Even good deeds without love are nothing, for God does not want deeds first of all but hearts.

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalms 50:10). He does not need anything from us. God could perform all the deeds He desires, but even He cannot give Himself one thing: our free love. That is the thing that is most precious of all to Him, and He has put it in our charge!”

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You! (p. 76, 77)

God cannot make you love Him.