CONFUSION ABOUT MOTIVATION
The Case of Amrozi
Judgment Day and judgment day
The Australian Friday, August 8, 2003
The judgment in Indonesia, on Amrosi, was no slender affair, but rather to be found running into hundreds of pages. Small wonder the case was grave, since so many were sent to their graves by this delusive dynamic of the cell concerned.
Thus not unexpectedly, the judgment was adverse to the alleged multiple-assassin.
In terms of the report made, however, it was also adverse to the truth concerning Christianity, in terms of motivation. This was probably not realised; but it is so. Doubtless, this is not the main thrust of the paper; but it is a major error for all that, and needs correction in terms of fact, for it is a factual matter.
What then is this error in the Judgment report ? Despite the report of words in the Judgment in Indonesia, Christianity does not dissuade from murder, in any adequate representation, by fear of punishment. This is simply not so. What then is reported to have been judicially declared on this point ?
In The Australian, of the above date, on p. 1, we are given these words from the sentencing justification. They as reported, include this travesty:
" 'No one can kill without an exceptional
reason...,' the judgment said.
'Christians say, 'Don't kill because you will be punished';
Hindus say ..."
and it proceeds to give what are deemed grounds supplied by various religions, for not indulging in killing.
The brief scope of the coverage, presumably intended to supply some kind of concerted religious grounds for rejecting the popular Islamic front, jihad sort of murderous-mentality, makes it clear that this little excursion into religion is intended to have some basic relationship to motivation, in the case of Christianity as with others.
Is this however a sound witness, a correct interpretation, a scripturally supportable presentation of what the Church of Jesus Christ believes ? Hardly. Is punishment the motivation for goodness ? Did Christ tell Peter that he ought to love Him, and that if he did not, He would punish Him ? (John 21). Is the greatest of the commandments, the first, that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind and strength, another way of saying, Feel pain if you do not do what you are told ?
Is love, which I John 4:7ff. tells us, is so close to God that GOD IS LOVE, to be understood as some kind of undercurrent way of telling you to be good or you will be in trouble ? Is love a name for harassment for the absence of the required commodity ? Did Christ die for sinners, as their example (I Cor. 11:1), because He was afraid of punishment if He did not ? Was His motivation love or fear ?
INORDINATE FOR GOD IS FITTING
for the love shown, it is mere reflection!
In John 13:1ff., we learn that having loved His own, He loved them to the end. Is this another way of saying that having been afraid not to do His duty on the selected servants, He continued to be afraid not to do it to the end ? Have words then no meaning ? That would be the requirement if this were so; but if that were so, then it would not be possible to make any statement about what Christianity meant, the Bible would not exist, logic would fail and court cases would be absurd.
Does the parable of the Good Shepherd then teach that the love of the Shepherd for the sheep was such that He gave His own life, or that He was trying to preserve it ? Did He teach that loving your own life is to gain His, or that he who loses his life for His sake and that of the Gospel, will keep it ? (Matthew 16:24-25). Does then love after all seek its own (contrary to I Cor. 13), and did God not so love the world that He gave ? Was not Christ was at (literal) pains to make it clear that His desire was that the world might know that the Father had loved His adopted and new children, as He had loved Christ Himself (John 17:23).
Love was the sending, love was
the coming, love was the sharing, love was the caring,
What Paul say of his presentation and motion ? This: "the love of God constrains us..." (II Cor. 5:14). It may be hard for those who do not know Christ to realise, but it is there, it is written, it is the case. It is the nature of the religion that God is lovely, to be loved, and those who DO so love Him, are in the family.
On the topic of suffering, sincerity, holiness, hollowness and love, see the sermon series, Job 1, Job 2, and Job 3, with the more ample treatment in The Power of His Resurrection and the Fellowship of His Sufferings Chs. 3, 4, 5, 6 with SMR pp. 95ff, in the schema on pp. 92ff.. Why does a Christian obey Christ ? Let Him tell us:
let us love one another, for love is of God,
When you love, it is not normal to kill. You seek the good of the other.
Love is the Christian ground for not killing. It is the Christian ground for not committing adultery, for not stealing, for not worshipping false gods who are by no means 'love', send no only begotten Son into the world, that the world through Him might be saved, but rather send this or that, scimitar or jihad to this day, or principle-free adaptation or search for power or other item in the inventory of human religion. There is only one Redeemer who came because of love and insists on it in His disciples.
Fear, in the Old Testament sense of clean reverence for the grandeur, majesty and holiness of God (as in Psalm 19, where we learn that it is 'clean'), has never meant craven fear, but a burning awareness of His cleansing magnificence, and it has always been subsumed under the FIRST commandment, which is to LOVE HIM (Deuteronomy 6, Matthew 22:37ff.). His 'fear' on the other side, as a glowing log rolling onto the mat by the fire, is a fearful thing; whereas when it is in the hearth, it is eminently delightful.
Perfect love, says John, casts out fear (I John 4:18). There is no fear in love, says John.
This does not mean that love removes that sense of the splendour of His majesty, but that it removes trepidation about being judged negatively, in the Grand Assizes at the end (Revelation 20), for after all, as I John 5:11ff. directly asserts,
those who believe in the Lord
(not of course some 'other
christ' as in II Corinthians 11, one manufactured in the mind of man, and
not self-revealed, a mere idol),
HAVE eternal life. He wants them to KNOW this, he declares.
THE LOVE OF GOD: IT IS THIS
ON WHICH THE LAW AND PROPHETS HANG
CHRIST tells us that the one who loves him, will keep His words. "He who does not love Me, does not keep My words," said Christ (John 14:24),but "If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" - John 14:23. Where then is this alleged motivation, allowable in a nutshell summary for comparative purposes with other religions, that it is fear of punishment that moves the Christian in not killing, murdering ? That is a false judgment: it contradicts the Bible, the pith and the principle, the word and the thrust, the examples and the explicit heart of motivation as there presented.
LOVE is the drawing, LOVE was the sending, LOVE is the discipline of the heart, LOVE is the inducement, LOVE is the power and the precept in Christianity. To be sure, it is defined by God, and not vice versa; to be sure, IF you love God and keep His commandments, THIS is how you know you love the brethren (I John 5:2): it is HIS wisdom, not yours, it is His definition, His self-revelation, not your imagination in terms of sentiment or philosophy or some kind of modern psychology, built on statistics or some other vapidity for the purpose of understanding, which merely fails altogether to understand the absolute God. Traffic is not the way to find the rules. It is the rules which find (out) the traffic!
As to Him, Romans 11:33 advises us that from Him, to Him and through Him are all things. Invention in this area is as free of wisdom as it is of truth.
Thus Christ's declaration of the first commandment concerning the LOVE FOR GOD and the second, concerning LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF (you would accordingly not normally kill him because your own life is not normally thrown away either) was not something about fear. It was not some means to avoid for hanging which is to activate, motivate Christians. Hangin ? How does such a punishment relate to Christian motivation for keeping the law of God ? No, not hanging as in judicial death, but as what suspends and holds something. "On these two commandments," said Christ, "HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS!" (Matthew 22:40 caps. added). What then is this precious pith ? The FIRST TWO commandments. Is their topic fear ? Not at all, it is LOVE.
How then can fear of punishment be the motivation for essentialising purposes, for brief summary, of Christianity, when the BIBLE ITSELF REPEATEDLY DECLARES WHOLLY OTHER to be the ESSENTIAL MOTIVATION, the MAIN MANDATE for the Christian ?
Do you not have to bother about the judgment of GOD when His 1000 page or so document is read in the court of mankind, and He declares His mind in it (Amos 4:13). His declaration is far other than this fear of punishment concept, as far from this as is the burning log on the carpet, from the happy grate! To be sure, there is fear, but this is not the motivation of the Christian, but the spur to the unsaved. IF you do not want GOD, then you must DO WITHOUT, and that means hell, of course, that irremediable ruin which comes from the spurning of the ONLY MERCY there is, that of God in His own plan of salvation for man (John 3:19,36).
Perhaps the judge became confused between the exposed character of the non-converted sinner relative to divine judgment (cf. II Corinthians 5:10-11), and the strong motivation of Paul to DELIVER in LOVE those who are so exposed, so that they might be saved. These are then equipped not with doom, but with the love, gratitude and delight of those who, being born again in God's own family, are adopted and assured by His grace (Ephesians 1:1-11, 2:1-10), secure and accepted in the beloved, as Paul declares.
It may be that some such source to the error in Indonesia exists; we can only hypothesise.
MOTIVATION OF THE CHRISTIAN
What is apparent and sure, however, is this, that the statement concerning the reason for the Christian not murdering is wholly false. If you are asked the colour of a red rose, you do not say, black, because at some point some speck of such a colour may be discerned. You speak correctly of the colour in terms of the precision and brevity of the required answer, or that which the speaker chooses to give. In this case, however, the element of fear of the Lord which is left after love, is NOT PERSONAL in the sense of being cast out, for this does not happen to the children of God (Romans 5:1-11); but instead fear is a clean thing, an additive like parsley on lamb, which enhances the flavour, but does not remove it.
Fear of punishment in any loving situation is not nearly so relevant as the horror at breaching love, hurting loveliness, being untrustworthy, betraying what is holy, disesteeming what is inordinately pure and worthy. The fear arises only in the setting of sin, as in I Timothy 1. The law, says Paul, is for law-breakers, I Tim. 1:9. It is good, but where it hurts is in those whose work is to break it. It shows the way, it enlightens the path (as in Psalm 119), showing you where to walk. The MOTIVATION however as you see in that same Psalm, for this, what is that ? It is that His word is sweeter than honey, established forever in heaven, the law of the mouth of God for whom the soul seeks and searches with ardour, relish and desire.
Again, when you read Psalm 73, you find there is some pang at pain. The psalmist here is concerned that the wicked are being rubbed up the right way, enabled and blessed with fulness, not subject to that constant cleansing, polishing, refinement, sensitising which is the lot of the children of God, whose growth in grace and true holiness (Colossians 3:10) is not an option, but a simple fact of family life in God (Hebrews 12:5-8). He is dashed by this purification while others lounge in the luxuries of gross conduct, careless living and wealth idly gained. Yet when he sees the end of it all, the purification in the last resort, that this is the way of God, then awakened by the shining splendour of the divine prespective, he makes this utterance:
"whom have I in heaven, but You; and there is none
upon earth that I desire besides You" -
Psalm 18 makes it equally clear that it is the LORD whom David will love, his rock and fortress, his deliverer, his God, his strength in whom he trusts. What has fear of punishment got to do with that ?
To be sure there is a horror shown in Psalm 51, but it is not 'punishment' even then which is PRIMARY, as a concern, but the estrangement of the loved One, the distancing from His delightful realities and wonderful mercies and intense purity, because David had here fallen into sin. Such a distancing from the wonder of the Lord would be horrendous; as it is on earth, depending on the intensity of the love, when one for whom love is felt is drawn away.
There is a milieu of love in which, though other things may enter, yet in its own sway and significance is to be discerned for what it is. Music is not feasting on cuisine; you may have a surfeit of either; but the one is not the same as the other, even if the word 'surfeit' may be applicable to either. In the one case, mere appetite may mislead, and receive the discipline deserved. In the other however, say at some too extensive classical concert, the reviewer may say that it is an endurance test, or the 'glutton' may delight to the last note. However, in this particular case, the concern is that the beauty of its artistic nuances will be lost in mere waves of increasingly meaningless sound, surpassing the ability to relate at one sitting because there is simply too much proffered at the same time. Here it may artistic eminence dulled by oversight, as compared with gastric lust indulged by desire.
Thus when Christ declares that IF YOU LOVE ME, you will keep My words, we do not find the motivation to be as the Indonesian judge expressed it. He did not say, IF YOU FEAR ME, you will keep My commandments. It is as simple as that.
Job is a superb way to consider these things from many angles. In this, you see that sincerity of trust and fealty is NOT related to creaturely pluses and minuses, wealth, power, prestige among men, and the like. Such things are not, specifically NOT and decisively NOT the basis of Job's righteousness.
THIS is the main thrust of the entire book, being the challenge of the devil, to be answered in the laboratory test which the Lord then permits. DOES JOB SERVE GOD FOR NOUGHT ? Is he not well paid for his trouble, a virtual employe on salary! That is the challenge from the evil spirit, to God. The Lord allows the thing to speak for itself; Job suffers!
Job suffers grievously, and the intensity is increased to a second step (Job2:4ff.) ? Will this amiable patriarch Job, then, as the devil asserted, curse God to His face ? Or would it be shown, that however imperfect Job might have been, he would trust in God, because this was IN him ? In fact, Job 19's burst of prophetic fire, "I know that my Redeemer is alive" and that "in the latter day He shall stand upon the earth," whom "I shall see for myself and not another", is one of the most significant of all utterances. Similarly is his word, "I shall trust Him though He slay me" - Job 13:15.
What now of the pejorative proposition of the devil!
Does Job serve God for nothing ? sneered, jeered, jibed Satan. Is Job's motivation borne of lust or fear or gain in this world's coin ? Is he in it for what he can get out of it, either positively in pleasantness, or negatively in avoiding unpleasantness ?
The writhings of
Job when tested
are treated in some detail in the references given at the outset of this chapter;
the response in
is given to man throughout all history, as it is written in that book.
The writhings of Job when tested are treated in some detail in the references given at the outset of this chapter; the response in the end is given to man throughout all history, as it is written in that book. Job realised with new zest and focus, that upright though he was, sin was not absent, and pure though he sought with integrity to be, perfection was not his, that God's counsel is deep, and that in Him, the trust he maintained so clearly is not in vain; it is wisdom to find and to know Him, and to avoid those who misjudge the matter as if pain were proportional to sin, as Job in fact did, condemning wisely their simplistic substitutes which at times sounded too much like the cash-register mentality: get the cash flow going, and go where it is to be found.
NO, SLAY ME, if you will, says Job. STILL, I will trust you.
What then was the case with Job ?
It was this, and let us feel it graphically ...
He may be in anguish, he may not understand, he may even grieve and wonder why the Lord is so exposing him, but it is in Him that he has found that grace that keeps, in Him that faith has its object, and wisdom its source (Job 28). Job had to grow; but he did not fail to trust in Him whose he was, even becoming inspired to present in his seekings and anguish of test, a word from the Lord which has inspired generations (Job 19).
Thus was his suffering to show the integrity of faith, not to be found in things gained, but in God as the source, subject and object, meaning and message, an avenue of splendour; and even his failings, these being corrected have made for depth of understanding. Suffering he taught; and being then taught by God, he was blessed. God is to be desired for His own sake, not as a means to any end. It is HE who motivates in His glory, not the contentment of the flesh, or the avoidance of pain.
What is that, then that works ? When it comes to the living God, the Redeemer in whom one trusts though He should "slay me", there is no alternative, no other option, no other reality, and it is in Him that one delights, Him whom one loves, it is He who is one's "shield and exceedingly great reward" (Genesis 15), and notice there, the reward is HIMSELF! He it is who is to be loved with all the heart, and soul and mind and strength, and the second commandment on which all the law and the prophets hang, is like it, that you love your neighbour as yourself. In the Christian what works is this: faith works by love (Galatians 5:6).
THIS is the Christian motivation, to serve Him whom one loves, even the Saviour, the ONLY Saviour (Acts 4:11-12); and in Him, to do the best for those others whom He has made. The terror of the Judgment Day of God is this, that when you are not covered by Christ as your barrister (I John 2:1-2), whose argument is His blood (Romans 3:23ff.), His own sacrificial payment made in love, accomplished in purity, surmounted by the resurrection, the victory of love in life, life over death and divine grace over human sin (Romans 5:1-17), for all who receive Him: then you are self-appointed to destruction.
Outside the Christ of God, whether on this earth you are to be executed on some human ‘judgment day’ or flattered till your dotage: the Judgment Day of God awaits; and where mercy is relinquished, where truth is obliterated, as if Christ were crucified afresh, then there indeed is ground for fear.
Alas, it is precisely there that it is ineffectual, for while perfect love casts out fear, what casts out Christ as Redeemer loves death, one which is eternal shame and loathing (cf. Proverbs 8:35-36, Daniel 12:2, Matthew 22:12-14).
Since however the Christian has left those premises, abandoned the premisses of
rebellion, this is not his destiny (I Thessalonians 5:9-10, Romans 8:16). His
motivation is what moves in the kingdom of love.
He loves in what he moves, and is moved by what he loves.
First, over the bridge of repentance (Luke 13:1-3), you come to the gate of truth (John 10:9), and entering where you belong, with your Creator-Redeemer and Shepherd, you find regeneration (Titus 3:5), and with it the restoration to the image of Him who created you (Colossians 3:10). The beauty of grace is this, that when you realise your sin, find your salvation, love and delight in the Lord, then judgment is not the jagged blade of doom (John 5:24), but the overcome reminder of folly: while love is the dynamo of development and the heart of motivation.
Then eternal life which is His, and which He confers (I John 1:1-4) is the medium, the vitality, the exuberance, motivated by reality, moved by truth, impassioned by mercy, self-declarative by the Resident Redeemer (Romans 5:5, 9-10, 17). Perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18), and the love of God it is which constrains, as Paul declares.
THIS is the Christian motivation, to serve Him whom one loves, and in Him, to do the best for those others whom He has made.