Summary: A topical message on the many uses of the word "kiss" in scripture.
Popular culture has a lot to say about kisses. Radio airwaves are filled with songs about them, and teenage hearts are filled with thoughts of them. But the kiss is not strictly the domain of youngsters and songsters. A kiss is an expression of affection, an evidence of love. Society has denigrated the kiss by emphasizing the erotic aspects of kissing and encouraging public displays of affection. But a topical study of the word "kiss" in scripture yields surprising results. What can we learn from studying "bible kisses?" While there are many types of kisses today with many different meanings, the same can be said of bible kisses. The context each time the word is used reveals beneficial truths and biblical principles that will help us in our Christian walk.
I. The Figurative Kiss of God’s Attributes (Psalm 85:10) "Mercy and truth are met together; right- eousness and peace have kissed each other." It is nearly impossible in this world to combine mercy and truth. Truth is absolute holiness without error or hypocrisy. Mercy is overlooking error and hypocrisy. The same can be said for righteousness and peace. Righteousness is frustrating to fallen man. He can have no peace without true righteousness. Man is not equipped to handle these two seemingly incompatible attributes. But our verse says that these two opposing truths are "met together," they have "kissed each other." When did such a meeting take place? It could only happen in Christ! "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)
Christ was the conduit who connected God’s holy righteousness and His overwhelming love. God has never had a problem, as we humans know problems. But if He could have had a problem from the standpoint of human understanding, this is it. How can God be both righteous and merciful at the same time? "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5:1) He found a way by faith and through Christ. When Christ was sacrificed on the cross of Calvary, righteousness and peace kissed each other. Both sides of God’s essence were satisfied and salvation was fully wrought!
II. The Faithful Kiss of Salvation (Luke 7:37-38) "And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner... brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment." Simon the pharisee had a problem with this "sinful" woman. In his mind, he thought this scene invalidated the ministry of Christ. He said, "...if he were a prophet, would have known..." Jesus proceeded to tell Simon a parable on forgiveness. He had not honored Christ when He had come into his house, but this "sinner" had taken it upon herself to honor Him. What a lesson to the Christian! True salvation makes a difference in one’s life. The believer seeks for ways to honor Him with our lives. Each of our attempts to honor Him are like kisses unto Him.
For anyone else, this would have been an embarrassing experience. Simon expected Christ to feel the same way that he would have felt. Why would one allow a harlot to make such a scene? But Christ said, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven." Forgiveness did not come because of what she did, but because of the love that she had in her heart. Many times when children get in their teen years, they don’t enjoy showing affection to their parents. This is a normal part of growing up. But my fellow Christian, we never grow up enough to quit showing affection to our Lord for saving us! Have you kissed your Savior lately?
III. The Family Kiss of the Brethren "Salute one another with a holy kiss." (Romans 16:16) (Also 1Cor. 16:20; 2Cor. 13:12; 1Thes. 5:26, 1Pet. 5:14) Repeatedly, the Apostle Paul admonishes the brethren to greet each other with a kiss. In today’s society, this would be risky business. A kiss in modern western culture is much more intimate than it was in the days of Christ. The "holy kiss" was like a heartfelt handshake or, more likely, a hug. The greeting with a kiss was a brush of the lips against the cheek, or even two cheeks meeting in a semi-embrace. It did not signal some of the negative things that such actions would today. But what is behind this exhortation of the apostles?
The greeting with a holy kiss was encouraged to the believers. It was a sign of true affection, a wish of material and spiritual blessing to each other. Like our handshakes today, the kiss could sometimes become just a custom with no real meaning behind it. Paul encouraged the Christians to continue in real, heartfelt love to one another. Twelve distinct times in scripture we are commanded to "love one another." The holy kiss was not immoral or impure, but the result of real, God-inspired love. Cultures have changed down through the years, but the command of scripture has not. Though our customs decree that the intimacy of kissing may be out of order as a greeting, the demand that Christians love one another is never outdated.