· It is agreed that we should resist the impulse to revenge against someone who harms us. But do we need to love him? Are we expected to really love our enemies?
· Sermon on the Mount
· You shall love your neighbour” from OT (Lev 19:18)
· “Pray for those who persecute you” — similar to Lk 6:28
· “Love” in the context has practical attitude: “not love in word or speech [only] but in deed and in truth” (1Jn 3:18)
· Love one’s neighbour means lending him a helping hand, not only feelings.
· The commandment does not suggest or include “You shall hate your enemy”. But if the word “neighbour” is defined narrowly, one may infer that one is to hate those who are not the neighbours.
· We need to love our enemies just the same as we need to love every human being in the world because God loves everyone, including sinners who reject Him.
· Persistence in prayer for someone whom one doesn’t like will bring about a remarkable change in one’s attitude towards one’s enemy.
· Best way to destroy an enemy is to turn him into a friend (Ro 12:21; Pr 25:21-22).
· We love the sinners but not the sin. If the sin is a crime, the sinner has to be prosecuted under the law in order to preserve law and order and to punish the violators of law. However, the punishment (retribution) is to be administered by the state, involving no personal retribution or revenge.
· We cannot judge the sinner (Mt 7:1-5) but we can judge the sin. If not, does it mean that Christians cannot be judges, jurors, or any position (such as an elder) involving disciplinary work?
· What does “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” mean?
· Is there no forgiveness for a Christian who repents of this sin?
· Does this then contradict: “the blood of Jesus...cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn 1:7) and the assurance of forgiveness for every sin in the gospels?
Teachers of law and Pharisees came down from
· Jesus was accused that he was possessed by Beelzebub when he cast out the demons (Mk 3:22).
· Jesus exposed the absurdity of supposing that Satan’s power would be overthrown by Satan’s help.
· “Beelzebub”: once a Canaanite divinity “the Lord of the high place”, but it was used at that time to denote the ruler of the abyss, the abode of demons (equivalent to Satan).
· In Mark’s context, Jesus charged those who had voiced the absurd conclusion with blaspheming the Holy Spirit since they deliberately ascribed the Holy Spirit’s authority to the demon.
· The Pharisees may have misunderstood the ministry of Jesus but the power of the Holy Spirit was well known from OT times and should for no reason be misunderstood.
· One seems not repent of this sin because of deliberately shutting one’s eyes to the light and consequently calling good evil.
· In Luke’s context, the incident was recorded but nothing was said about the sin against the Spirit (Lk 11:14-26).
· Lk 12:11-12 says that the Holy Spirit enabled the believers to say the right word at the right time before an earthly tribunal.
· Blaspheming of the Holy Spirit involves a refusal of His powerful help when it is available to save the disciples from denying Jesus and committing irretrievable apostasy (Heb 6:4-6), that is, the deliberate and the decisive rejection of Jesus as Lord.
· In both passages, the opposition to divine influence was so persistent and deliberate that repentance becomes impossible. It is a permanent rejection due to a hardened heart — man withdraws himself from God, not God from man.