Her Doctrine and Morals

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

6 October 2019


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Dear Friends,

The first and greatest commandment is to love God. God is pure spirit, pure love. However, Jesus — the Son of God — became a man to show us the path to God. Jesus has two natures — the nature of God and the nature of man, but He is only one Person. This is the reason that King David, who is an ancestor of Jesus in the flesh, could reverence Jesus as his Lord.

If we are to fulfill our purpose in life, we must love God even when we cannot see Him with our bodily eyes. We must reach beyond what our senses tell us and believe what faith teaches us. King David saw very clearly that the Messiah was to be his son, but he also saw that He is the Son of God. He materially saw his physical descendant, but he spiritually saw the Savior.

In becoming one with us, Jesus is showing us how to love God and our fellow men. We love bodies that reflect the image of God, but most importantly we love souls that reflect the spiritual essence of God. Jesus is Man and God — we are bodies and souls. If we love God, then we of necessity must love what He loves. He loves us, so we must love ourselves and everyone else for the love of Him. The love God has for us is the same that He has for everyone else. Therefore, we must not hold a greater love for ourselves than we have for our neighbors. We should love them as we love ourselves.

We must love our bodies because they are good and given to us by God, but the love of this mortal flesh should never preclude our love for our souls. Too often, we forget our souls and the souls of our neighbors. We think of charity (love) as concern for the material needs of our neighbor's body. It is good to feed, shelter, clothe, etc the flesh, but we must not forget to do the same for souls.

It is not enough to love God only in thought, we must also love Him in our bodies, we must enlist our flesh in the loving service of God. (Faith without works is dead.) We need to strive to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus.

It is erroneous for us to believe that we only need to say we love God and then not have to do anything further. We must love Him not only spiritually or mentally, but also bodily — with all our strength. It is, likewise, erroneous for us to believe that we love our neighbor when we give him a few dollars for his body and offer him nothing for his soul.

If we truly love God, we must desire that we one day enter into Heaven with Him. This is God's purpose and design in creating us. If we truly love God, we must want what He wants. He wants our eternal salvation. Therefore, we must desire our personal salvation. We must love ourselves enough to employ everything God has given us to accomplish His Will — our salvation. Since God also Wills the salvation of all men, we must also desire this. We need to employ just as much effort in seeking the eternal salvation of our neighbor as we do for ourselves.

True love of God enlists all that we have and all that we are. We love Him with our entire selves — body and soul. We are made up of material and spiritual substances. These must be united and work together in loving God. We cannot become satisfied with loving Him in thought or word. Rather, we must unite our thoughts, words, and actions in loving God. In loving ourselves we must love our bodies and our souls. We must not forget about our souls simply because we cannot see them. Too often, men turn a love for our bodies upside down as they live only to please the flesh. This is not love at all. We should strive to live moderately in our bodies — neither too lenient nor too harsh. Sometimes, those seeking spiritual advancement err on the opposite side and they become too harsh upon their own bodies even hating and detesting them. We must avoid this also. Virtue is in the middle. We must love and care for both soul and body. They need to work together for the good of the entire person.

With the grace of God, He will show us how to properly love Him. In properly loving God, we naturally begin to properly love ourselves. Then, we must strive to expand this love outward and love our fellow men as we love ourselves — in all modesty, truth, and holiness — both in body and soul.

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