This Is Love: A Conversation With a Modern-Day Roman


Yeah, I know it’s almost Christmas, but we would have no Resurrection Day apart from the birth of our Savior.  So I thought this would be an appropriate time to share a conversation I had almost five years ago with a skeptical, modern-day Roman in response to the photo above.

sara y tzunky:  Why this is love????? To die is love? To be beaten is love? Not try to save itself is love? To walk around with a cross on his shoulder is love? Why this need of the blood to demonstrate love? Why this need of shoving the worst and not the wonderful of this world to give love? I never understood.

Me:  sara y tzunky, is there anyone you love so much you would be willing to give your life to save theirs?

The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Sin is ‘lawlessness’ (1 John 3:4); it is any violation of the law or character of God. It is basically saying to God, “I don’t like Your rules, so I’m going to do what I want to do.” The penalty is death.

The Bible says that all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all deserve death because none of us have lived up to God’s law. We have a difficult time just keeping ten of them, much less the two greatest: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-39).

The only One who could pay the price… the penalty… for our sin was the perfect Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). Not only did Jesus teach about love, but He demonstrated His love by being willing to suffer under the sinful, violent hands of mankind to save those who would accept His sacrifice as a gift of eternal life. He did that for you.

sara y tzunky:  Thanks for your answer, dear SweetCapture.
I am sorry but I believe you don’t understand.
The penalty of sin is death. In which sense? Following the Bible’s standards I am a sinner. I am writing to you so you can observe that I am not still death. So what?
You said: Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This is exactly the point! For yours believes God and his son Jesus are omnipotent so they had the possibility to choice the way to forgive your past sins. So why they don’t choose something more happy and positive? Like I don’t know, transport all of us another time in the Garden of Haven or for example give a big party inviting every man and woman and explaining to them that is better to live in a life of love and peace. Why blood blood blood blood and blood?
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). Perfect I agree. And better is a God that created sin, that eliminates sin (or you believe that there is something that God actually had not created?). Big amount of love in this case! So why Jesus doesn’t lay down his life not to die but to work hard doing something like eliminate from this planet materially sin forever and ever? Why all this publicity for hate and death? Why all this publicity for the cruel Romans? Why not to show something of peaceful, just to explain like the thing should go? Why blood blood blood murders crosses, studs, swords, armies, power and poverty? Why not life love peace, prosperity, food, happiness eternal life, freedom, beauty of nature, speaking with birds etc etc? I repeat they are God and they can do whatever they want.
Thanks for your attention

Me:  sara y tzunky, I understand the confusion since Adam and Eve did not immediately die a physical death. Death means ‘separation’, whether it is a physical separation of the body and spirit, or whether it is a relational separation of people and people, or people and God. Before Adam and Eve sinned, they had personal and close fellowship with God, and they could have lived forever, because they had the tree of life. After they sinned, because they separated themselves from God out of guilt and fear, and because of God’s holiness, they lost that close fellowship. The literal translation of Genesis 2:17 is “dying you shall die”, so while they didn’t die immediately, they were in the process of dying until they eventually died. They no longer had the Tree of Life and close fellowship with God to sustain them.

God had given them only one commandment. Just one. He had provided everything they needed in a beautiful garden… everything was good. The only thing forbidden to them was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They ate its fruit because they wanted to become gods… equal with their Creator, rather than trust that He knew what was best. They wanted to do what they wanted to do. God had warned them of the consequences, but they chose to believe the serpent rather than God. They rebelled and brought evil and death into the world. God did not create sin. God’s character is one of law and order. Remember, the Bible says that sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). A God of law and order cannot act contrary to His nature. Sin is the absence of law and order, so it is not something that is ‘created’ but something (law and order) that is taken away or disregarded.

If you tell a child not to touch fire, and they touch it, the consequence is not happy and positive. They get burned… sometimes badly. It doesn’t matter how much the child is sorry for disobeying, s(he) will still suffer for making that wrong choice.

Why the publicity for hate and death? Because mankind, even to this day, believes we can choose or evolve to become better. Jesus was peaceful and taught about love, obedience, peace… yet the violence within men’s hearts brutally killed Him. It revealed the true nature of mankind. And because God could offer forgiveness for such a horrible act, it reveals God’s matchless love and mercy. All other religious effort is man seeking God…only Biblical Christianity reveals a loving God seeking after fallen Mankind. Those who choose to believe what He has said about Himself and accept His gift of eternal life, will live a life of love, peace, prosperity, happiness, freedom, and beauty with Him in Heaven.

sara y tzunky:  Dear SweetCapture,
How it is nice to discuss with you about Love on a Flickr page. For me Love or love is LOVE not Death. And Death is Death not separation or something else. The word “death” was used in every time to scare simple peoples. If you or the ones who wrote your Bible want to mean separation why they didn’t use the word separation? They use death, blood, fire, eternal pain and other pleasantness to scare and bend people. Another thing: if Jesus comes to erase yours sins why in the sense of your Holy text you are still doomed to die? Something didn’t work well or what?
I think that you continue not to understand what I have said. But this is surely the fault of my English. I sorry I am from Italy, Rome: I am a Roman. So I will use the word of a great ancient philosopher, Epicurus: “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent –and he is not a God-. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?”. So we came back to the first point: if it exists a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, if there is blood death and destruction, if there is a bad nature of mankind is because God want it -supposing naturally that God exists and he is like the Bible depict him-. So if there is a man dying nailed to a cross is because God want it. For this reason I believe that this is not love, this wickedness. This is wickedness even because you believe that actually Jesus is God.
Best Regards, A Roman

Me:  sara y tzunky, first, your English is good. I understand what you mean, because I have also had questions like yours.

God does not use death, blood, fire, eternal pain, and unpleasantness to scare and bend people for His own purposes. He warns us of things, because He has given us a certain level of freedom to choose, and He desires we would trust Him and choose good. False teachers and leaders use those things to bend and scare people for their own gain.

If you do not want your child to harm himself or others, you warn them about bad things… unpleasant things. Yes, you hope to scare them enough to avoid the bad things, but you are not simply trying to bend them for your own purposes. It is for their good.

Jesus’ death erases the penalty of eternal separation from God. It does not erase the consequences of a physical death. God has promised that those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and believe that He was raised from the dead, when we die a physical death, He will give us new heavenly bodies that will live forever with Him in Heaven. As long as we live in our physical bodies and in this ‘dying’ universe, we will continue to experience that physical death… UNLESS we are still alive when Jesus returns once more, not as a suffering servant, but as a victorious King.

God said, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9), and “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God…” (Deuteronomy 29:29). There are some things that are beyond our understanding because God is too big for our limited minds to understand or because He simply has not revealed those things to us. God will eventually abolish evil. Why didn’t He prevent it from happening? Unless a person has a choice as to whether or not they will love and trust you, then it is not love at all. God gave Adam and Eve two choices: trust me and do not eat the fruit and you will live in this garden forever… or eat the fruit and experience death. They both chose to trust the serpent and their own judgment more than God, and they chose the consequence of the curse. God never wanted it, but since He allowed Adam and Eve the choice, He also provided a way to be redeemed from the curse… because He still loves us… but He will not force anyone to love Him back. To me… that is true love.

About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

8 responses to “This Is Love: A Conversation With a Modern-Day Roman

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