Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tzedekah – The Pure Love of Christ

Covenant love would lead us to establish and experience set apart relationships with God and with one another. As we live in a world where harmony has been broken it is through the love of God that these potential relationships may be restored. Covenant Relationships and Love are based upon the pillars of the covenant--eternal principles extended again and again as if it were one eternal round from Father Adam, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph in Egypt even down to Joseph Smith.  The pillars of the covenant are steadfast, immovable, sure, and do not change. A man may build his house upon this sure foundation and establish true power in the priesthood upon himself and upon his posterity through all generations of time.

To receive and experience the Love of the Covenant is to experience and extend the Pure Love of Christ-Charity.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.” (Moroni 7:46-48)

Just as Israel (Jacob) became a son of God through the Love of God even so the Nation of Israel became a covenant nation to God because of this same extension of Love.  When we hear the word Charity in American culture it often invokes images of someone giving food or money to someone in need. The word translated as Charity comes from the Hebrew word Tzedekah which means acts of righteousness.  In particular the acts of righteousness refer to the fulfillment of the commandments of God. As Moroni so aptly described Tzedekah or acts of righteousness thus:

“And charity (tzedekah) suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (Moroni 7:45)

Covenant Love begins and ends with God and the establishment of his dominion.  It is the kind of love that God uses to confront us, the people he desires to establish covenant with, to identify the areas that hinder us in our relationships with him and one another.  In fact Covenant Love seeks to establish a more perfect relationship so that as it is in Heaven even will it so be on Earth.  There is a great and often senseless debate among scholars between the rule of law and the rule of love, but in the ancient paths followed by the Fathers they are one and the same:

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:3-11)

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3)