Comments

  1. Derek says

    Hi Frank

    Great post brother. This brings great clarity to what should be fundamental/foundational truths in the body of Christ.

    I thank the Lord that we are being brought into a time that will give all new believers, that are exposed to truths of this glorious Gospel, a real foundation for living, Christs Life in us.

    The highlights in this post bring distinction between unconditional love and acceptance from God over our natural tendencies to live out what we believe is pleasing to God and His great mercy and love in times of failure and to guide us toward a higher way of living through illuminated understanding into that which is genuinely pleasing to God, as you have pointed out, learning to live by His Life, Christs Life in us which and in whom the Father is well pleased.

    Love you brother

  2. Pastor Mark says

    Frank,

    A great list. All of them are applications of the basic commands: 1. Love God with everthing you are and have, 2.Love your neighbor, as exampled by Jesus, 3. Love the world as God Loves, being sent like the Son into the lost world.

    Isn’t the New Testament after the Gospels the Church’s application of Jesus’ commands, that is, living out his Love. So Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:3 “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (NIV)

    Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:9-13 NIV)

    Perhaps this is what Jesus means in Matthew 7:21ff (NIV) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” God’s will = His love expressed.

    If my actions are not rooted and powered by Jesus’ Love, they are of no value to the Kingdom, to Jesus’ or to me.

    Love is that which is the best, the ultimate good, for the loved one. We are saved (a good biblical term) so that we can be restored to that for which we are created: to Love, reflecting the image of the God who is Love.

    Thanks for making me think and reminding me of what showing my Love to our God and Savior looks like.

  3. Bob Green says

    I loved your summary. I just want to comment on the linkage of “doing His will” and “pleasing Him” as mentioned in the Hebrews 13 passage above. The KJV for Rev 4:11 says “and for thy pleasure, the NASB says “because of your will” and the NLT says “they exist because you created what you pleased.” Some times I am tempted to think only about the works that I do that please Him and need to be reminded that when I make an inner change, like forgiving someone, that also is pleasing to him.

  4. says

    Frank

    Thank you for this wonderful post. So many times we lose sight of Christ in the scriptures and turn them into WMDs for our own agendas and wish dream. Your simplification on this topic is great. This post could almost be turned into a book like your “When the pages are blank”. Thanks and peace.

    Jim Gregg

  5. Teague says

    Cool. In your mind, does this correlate with “You in I & I in you”? We are accepted & loved because we are in Christ but we please God as Christ lives in us?

  6. Dave Lindsay says

    Frank:

    A great topic today and a good reminder of the truth from Scripture.

    I once attended a church that applied the words of the Father for his Son to all believers. This resulted in an absurd statement by the pastor who gave a sermon example of when he went to the police station to pick up his teenage son where the pastor said, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” I can agree that the wayward son should still be loved but there is no way I would be “well pleased” with a child in trouble with the law !

    Dave

  7. Nancy says

    Thank you for the reminder that His love is unconditional. We don’t always get it right, in fact, we can mess up royally thinking we are pleasing God by our actions. I don’t always know for sure when I’m making the right moves on issues that just pop up out of nowhere. I’m happy that God makes allowance for mistakes.

  8. says

    Thank you for clarifying the difference between unconditional love for the child (us) and displeasure or pleasure in out actions. Often times we think the unconditional love of God means we can do anything we want was long as we say we’re sorry. And while there is forgiveness and redemption for true repentance, it also involves reforming and living a life that is pleasing to God.

    Your list of Scriptures is much more extensive than I’ve seen before. Thank you.

  9. Jo Ellen says

    And yet, just the fact that we have skin on must be pleasing to him at some point. Does a father lose his pleasure in his child’s existence when the child behaves badly? No, he loses his hope and/or comfort in the child’s welfare.

    Yes, the life of Christ is the “all in all” and yet, to deny the Father’s delight in us is missing the “for God so loved” aspect of his nature. Its also missing the “he first loved us” part.

    God delights over us because we exist. Any discussion of what “pleases” him should build on that foundation.

    • says

      This is simply a repeat of God’s love and acceptance being unconditional, as stated in the beginning of the piece. But pleasing God is something different. These texts from the NT clearly show that pleasing God is not automatic for the believer, but conditional. This cannot be denied.

      To use a strong analogy: A father can have a child who becomes a rapist. The father still loves and accepts the child, but he is displeased with his behavior.

      Most my writing is on the acceptance, love, delight piece – http://frankviola.org/books. But this other aspect must be brought in. If not, people will move toward libertinism. I cover this extensively in “Revise Us Again” and in the new course. Thx. for the comment.

      • Mike says

        I think we sometimes forget that our God “is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) The God of the New Testament is the same as the God of the Old Testament. There is no doubt that he loved His Jewish people, but he allowed the households of Korah to be swallowed up by the earth and others burned when they questioned God’s authority through Moses. The Old Testament is replete with such examples of the consequences suffered from doubting or displeasing God.

        The death and resurrection of Jesus did not change God; it changed us and our ability live life in the presence of God.

  10. Mike says

    Thanks, Frank. I really appreciate the distinction between God’s unconditional love, but that He has conditions regarding what pleases Him. I left a denominational tradition that used God’s unconditional love as an excuse for all sorts of behavior that could not be justified as pleasing to God. I have moved to a tradition that seeks to please God through our behavior, but it probably focuses too much on eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

    I think I need an organic church in my town!

    • ron says

      Hey mike could you please elaborate on what kind of behavior they are trying to justify using unconditional love please????

      • Mike says

        Certainly. One instance was a sermon justifying abortion in some circumstances. The priest commented that sometimes the most “loving” thing we can do for pregnant welfare mother of eight is to allow her to have an abortion. It is not clear to me that God would find that to be the most loving choice.

        The second example requires some explanation before I receive a bunch of negative replies. I was a member of the Episcopal Church for most of my life, until the hierarchy “decided” to summarily changed centuries of church tradition and teaching regarding homosexuals as clergy. It was not so much the result that bothered me, but the way the end was achieved. The change was justified, in part, under the cover of “unconditional love,” but the reality was the end was achieved more from political maneuvering rather than any sort of scriptural or spiritual consensus. The result was a deep rift in the worldwide Anglican community. Thus, the action created deeper divisions in the Body of Christ than existed previously, and it is not clear to me that the end achieved was a victory for God’s people.

        Granted, after becoming familiar with Frank’s materials just last April, and after reading through five of his books since then, I realize that church hierarchy and the clergy/laity distinction is inherently problematic. I would be interested in seeing how an organic church dealt with a similar issue under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  11. ron says

    I am so grateful for the Lord revealing himself to me first through experiential knowledge that leads to scripture showing itself to be true.It is a daily battle for me to live by the “indwelling of Christ” because of all I have heard over the years.I believe scripture shows plainly we can walk in ways that please God and ways that don’t.I find it so repulsive when I see or hear of Christians calling themselves watchman over the body of Christ and rip apart anyone who has opposing views of scripture.It angers me like never before.It also leads believers into certain bondage of striving to please God instead of “living by the indwelling”.I am in a place of growth and understanding like never before.Thanks for all you do Frank

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