If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema. Maranatha. (1 Corinthians 16:22 ASV)
It Is Time To Get Serious
The reading for today is from the American Standard Version because of two words: anathema and maranatha. The modern reading of this verse is “If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! (ESV)” My spell checker does not like the word ‘maranatha’ because it is of Chaldean origin. Nonetheless it is a very impressive word because it denotes a desire for the judgment of God to come immediately. The word is found only in this text but the idea permeates the writings of the early disciples. John in the Revelation concludes his writing with the proclamation, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).
Paul impresses upon our minds the basic nature of our relationship with the Father. Either we love Him or we do not. If we do not love the Lord Jesus Christ then what have we? There is no meaning to life. All that man works for is futile. Without Christ there can be no peace. Death is not joyous but fearful. Like Solomon of old the apostle wants to hear the conclusion of the whole matter summed up in the realization that we are created to glorify God and accept His grace.
Loving the Lord is not just a veneer of devotion satisfied by the crumbs of our lives trying to appease an ignorant God. He demands all of our lives. It requires the heart, the soul, the mind and the body and nothing less. The reason Israel was punished with bondage in the stories of the Old Testament is because their love for God was ten miles long and one inch thick. Man cannot be pleasing to God without devotion. Deep love and commitment to the Lord with loyalty is everything required to be a child of God.
Paul suggests that if we do not love the Lord then we should be accursed. Harsh? Maybe. But can we do anything less? Too many folk want to be a nominal Christian and the Holy Spirit says they deserve anathema. Loveless people cannot please the Lord. This is where the rubber meets the road. It requires dedication, devotion, determination and drive to find the true nature of Jesus Christ because He gave up Heaven to die on a cross. A crude vernacular of the day says it like this: either put up or shut up. You know we need to decide whether we are really going to be serious about this thing and quit playing Christianity as if it is a child’s toy and devote ourselves to the greatest gift given to man. Now is the day of salvation. Today is the day to get serious about salvation.
Maranatha. Lord come today so that those of us who love you will all of our hearts will enjoy the blessings of seeing you face to face. Now that is love beyond measure.