"...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31)
By Prof. Mario Velez, Th.M.
The word “anathema” in First Corinthians 16:22 means “cursed” and “maran-atha” is an Aramaic phrase meaning, “the Lord comes.” In other words, the believer who does not love the Lord is under a curse until the Rapture* of the Church. The curse is a result of a believer not being able to associate that love and happiness are based on the Lord. Personal love as a virtue is always directed toward God the Father and toward God the Son. As a result, millions of believers throughout the Church Age have lived under this curse. They are in a state of cursing simply because they live by their impulses, which ultimately results in such characteristics as bitterness, unhappiness and being miserable.
Relating happiness with the Lord is also how you have a balanced life in relationship to people, values and principles. This is the reason why Christians have an unbalanced life in these areas; take romance for instance. One of the reasons we are deceived by people who may allege to love us in the area of romance is because their words may be bound in hypocritical and false motivations. Simply put, they have no capacity to truly love. Thus, this is the reason it is so difficult to accurately capture the thinking of individuals. This is one of many reasons that the Bible prohibits pre-marital sex. Avoiding sexual intimacy in romance allows for an objective interpretation of the other individuals’ motivations and capacities. Sexual intimacy is not love, but an expression of love between one right man and one right woman in marriage (Heb. 13:4).
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (KJV Heb. 13:4)
The problem is that most of us fall in love based on compatibility, but in the back of our mind we are actually assigning perfection to that someone we love. Of course, when our perceived perfection sours, we have a problem with our “love object.” We end up wondering how in the world we could fall for the person’s imperfect ways while at the same time forgetting that we have our own imperfections, and have absolutely no room to talk. This is the arrogance that is pervasive in our sin nature, which corrupts human love and becomes the basis for the monstrous number of problems in life. As it turns out, arrogance manifested through lust and sensuality sets the pattern for our relationship between love and happiness.
Therefore, deriving your love and happiness from the Lord protects your personal love for people from such corruption as jealousy, hatred, bitterness, being vengeful and even having self-pity. Some of the most horrendous acts in human history have been a result of such attitudes, and if you look to the beginning of such a relationship, it all started with the words “I love you.” The problem is rooted in the fact that the person uttering those words had no virtue since their love is corrupted by such attitudes as the ones Paul lists in Ephesians 4:31.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath (rage), and anger,and clamour (angry shouting), and evil speaking (slandering) be put away from you, with all malice (desire to injure).” (KJV Eph. 4:31)
All of these factors of the sin nature make personal love weak, and hinders its perpetuation, since without virtue, reciprocation will be demanded. Of course, when the attention is not returned, then there comes frustration, disillusionment and reaction. Finally, one of the major pitfalls of personal love without virtue leads to promiscuity. Its destructive effects are boundless.
* The Rapture occurs when the Church or Body of Christ is removed from the earth before the seven year tribulation period. See God’s Biblical Timeline of History in the illustration section of my website: