This morning I am going to answer a question that a friend of mine posed in response to what I wrote last Friday concerning why we believe the Gospel. My point in that post was to explain that, ultimately, God must be the reason why we believe the Gospel and not just what God gives or as Franchis Chan asks, “Are we in love with God or just His stuff?” My friend’s question is as follows: “How is it possible to even imagine that we could love Christ without what He does for us? If a child loves his father it is ususally because the father bestows love on the child, is it not?” In other words, my friend is asking, is it possible for us to love God apart from His stuff (or what He gives us)? My answer is simply, “No”. No we cannot love the God of the Bible apart from what He gives us because what He gives us is an expression of who He is. On the other hand, we can love His stuff without loving Him, and that was the point I was trying to make on Friday.
In John 6, on the day after Jesus feeds the five thousand, He makes His way over to Capernaum only to have the crowd that He fed come looking for Him. When they find him they ask, “Rabbi when did you come here?” (v. 25). What is Jesus’ answer? “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (v. 26) Later, in the same exchange, after Jesus tells them that His Father gives them “the true bread from heaven”, they say to him, “Sir give us this bread always” (vv. 32 and 34). The crowds were following Jesus for the food, and so He had to direct their attention from the food to Himself by telling them, “I am the bread of Life” (v. 35). The crowds were seeking Jesus to get to His stuff, so a better question to ask when discussing this issue would be, is Jesus a means or the end? Are you treating Him as a means to get His stuff which you see as the end? Or do you see Him as the end, and all of His stuff as a means to Himself? If we love God, can we separate Him from what He gives? No, but we can treat Him like a bride who marries her groom just to get the ring.