Sunday, November 07, 2021

Kissing the Son

“If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.”

That’s a very strong statement. Catholics would say, “Let him be anathema”, which simply means “devoted to destruction”. Paul leaves us no fence to straddle: it’s love or destruction. Choose one or the other.

That word translated from Greek to English as “love” refers to affection or approval. It’s also a word that means “to kiss”. In the ancient East, when you saw someone you knew and liked on the street, you would greet them with a kiss. It was a way of publicly identifying yourself with that person; of saying to everyone around, “This is my guy, right here.”

Or you could just turn your head away and walk on by. But what an insult that would be.

All the Glory

God is looking to populate eternity with people who just can’t restrain themselves from publicly identifying with his Son; people who love the Lord Jesus from the heart. And that’s a good thing. Frankly, if you don’t love the Lord Jesus Christ, you wouldn’t enjoy the Father’s house anyway. The Father’s house is all about Christ. It’s a place he has prepared for his friends to be with him and to share his glory. “The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land,” as the old hymn writer put it, which is a pretty good summary of the teaching about eternity that we find in the last two chapters of Revelation.

We are going to an eternal love feast; a glorious celebration of which all our earthly gatherings are mere shadows. Maybe you’ve heard that expression before. “Love feast” was an early church euphemism for the communal meal associated with the Lord’s supper, in which believers displayed their love for their risen Lord by remembering him together as he had commanded, and by sharing his love with one another. But the marriage supper of the Lamb will be the love feast to end all love feasts. Instead of looking backward to the cross, or forward to the Father’s house, all we will need to do is look across the table.

Dressed for the Love Feast

What does one bring to a love feast? Well, love. I guess that should be obvious. The Bride makes herself ready by clothing herself in “fine linen, bright and pure”. What does that mean? We don’t have to guess. John tells us right in the next verse: “The fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” Why have the saints done righteous deeds? Because they love the Lord. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” We adorn ourselves in obedience to Christ. How does this happen? “It was granted her.” God himself has made it possible. “We love because he first loved us.” It is the love of Christ that enables, well ... love of Christ. His love makes our love possible.

Paul’s curse may shock us at first, but it perfectly sums up in one short sentence the teaching of the New Testament from beginning to end, which is that the dividing line between heaven and hell is not what men and women have done or not done in this life, but what they think of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we think rightly about him, the right actions invariably follow. It cannot be helped. Conversely, if we are not doing the right actions, the problem is very likely that we do not think rightly of him in some respect.

Psalm 2 finishes with the admonition, “Kiss the Son.” God has made him both Lord and Christ. That needs to be acknowledged.

We have the privilege of rejoicing in it. “Blessed are those who take refuge in him.”

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