5/15/12

'If Any Man Love Not The Lord Jesus Christ, Let Him Be Anathema Maranatha' 1Cor. 16:22

"Anathema maranatha" - accursed when the Lord comes in judgment.

An insightful little study by C.H. Mackintosh [1820-1896] on the third from the last verse of the apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. True Christianity is no religion. Prideful natural man has no problem with religion. The world has a variety of religions suited for every taste, each with their own creeds, each providing a false sense of security to it's self-deceived adherents, and each allowing the man to remain unruffled in his God-defying pride. Religious apostate Christendom of our day, aka Laodicea, is no different, for they love not the Lord Jesus Christ Himself but cling to mere outward forms of religion also. Most of these proud professors do not even realize it is so. The end of lukewarm Laodicea truly will be anathema maranatha, for, as the Lord says, "I will spew thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:16). The apostle later wrote a second letter to the Corinthians on this most serious topic with an admonition to avoid falling into the trap of religion, which we all do well to heed: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." (2 Cor. 13:5)

CHM picks up here on these thoughts:
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“If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha” (1Cor. 16: 22)

The position which this solemn anathema occupies is truly remarkable. In the course of his lengthened epistle, the apostle had to rebuke and correct many practical evils and doctrinal errors. There were divisions among the Corinthians. They were puffed up one against another. There was fornication among them. They went to law one with another. There was gross disorder at the Lord's Supper. Some of them called in question the grand foundation truth of the resurrection of the dead.

These were grave errors and formidable evils — errors and evils which called forth the sharp and stern reproof of the inspired apostle. But when at the close he pronounces his solemn “Anathema Maranatha,” it is not directed against those who had introduced the errors or practiced the evils, but against “any man” who loves not the Lord Jesus Christ.* This is well worthy of serious thought. The only security against all manner of error and evil is genuine love to the Lord Jesus Christ. A man may be so strictly moral that no one could put his finger upon a single blot in his character or a single stain in his reputation. Yet underneath that strict morality, there may be a heart as cold as ice, so far as the Lord Jesus is concerned. Again, a man may be so marked by a spirit of noble benevolence that his influence is felt throughout the entire sphere in which he moves, and all the while, his heart may not have a single pulsation of love to Christ. Finally, a man may possess in his understanding, a perfectly orthodox creed and he may be devotedly attached to the ordinances and observances of traditional religion, and be wholly without affection for the adorable Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It may even happen that all these things — lofty morality, noble benevolence, sound orthodoxy and devoted attachment to religious forms, exist in one and the same individual, and that individual be wholly void of a single spark of genuine affection for the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a solemn and startling consequence, stand exposed to the burning Anathema of God the Holy Spirit. I may be moral through love to self. I may be benevolent through love to my fellow. I may be orthodox through a love of dogmas. I may be religious through a love of a sect. But none of these things can shield me from the merited judgment which is denounced by the Holy Spirit against “any man,” no matter who or what, who “loves not the Lord Jesus Christ.”

(*The word "Anathema" signifies anything devoted to death; and "Maranatha" signifies the Lord comes to judgment.)

This is a deeply solemn and most seasonable word for the present moment. Let the reader deeply ponder it. Let him remember that the only basis for true morality, the only basis for divine orthodoxy, the only basis for “pure religion,” is love to the Lord Jesus Christ. Where this love does not exist, all is cold, sterile and worthless, all exposed to death and judgment by the “Anathema Maranatha” of the Holy Spirit. If the heart be really touched with the vital spark of love to Jesus, then every effort after pure morality, every struggle against our hateful lusts, passions and tempers, every opening of the hand of genuine benevolence, every sound and truthful principle, every act of devotion, every pious aspiration, every fervent breathing, every outgoing of the soul, is precious to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. All is fragrant with the perfume of that dear Name which is the theme of heaven's wonder, the center of heaven's joy, the object of heaven's worship.

My beloved reader, should we not “love the Lord Jesus Christ?” Should we not hold Him dearer to our heart than all beside? Should we not be ready to surrender all for Him? Should not our bosoms swell with emotions of sincere attachment to His Person in heaven and His cause on earth? How could we trace Him from the bosom of the Father to the manger of Bethlehem, from the manger of Bethlehem to the cross of Calvary, and from the cross of Calvary to the throne of the majesty in the heavens — how could we “consider” Him as “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession” — and not have our whole moral being brought under the mighty constraining influence of His love?

May the Holy Spirit so unfold to our souls His matchless glories and peerless excellencies, that we may “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.” CHM

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