6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Jesus shows the Christian’s High calling in 1) The New Love Ethic Declared and 2) The New Love Ethic Explained

The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has triggered a storm of controversy this week by suggesting that Britain should adopt some aspects of Islam’s tough Shariah law into its legal system. He called the establishment of some kind of Islamic Sharia law in Britain inevitable. He sees the arrival of Sharia law as something that cannot and should not be prevented. In a BBC radio interview Thursday (Feb. 7), Williams said the 1.6 million Muslims now living in Britain make that prospect all but "unavoidable" and that "as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Sharia are already recognized in our society." He said that Britain has to "face up to the fact" that thousands of its citizens do not relate to its legal system, and what is needed is a "constructive accommodation" with some Muslim practices. For instance, he proposed a "plural jurisdiction" under which Muslims would be allowed to choose whether some legal disputes could be dealt with secular or Sharia courts.

For the past two or three decades, Britain has been engaged in a radical experiment in abandoning its own national identity. It has encouraged a huge number of Islamic immigrants to enter the country. As a result, some of the most extreme sects of Islam have taken root on British soil. Just a few weeks ago, another senior cleric warned that some areas of Britain’s cities has become "no go" zones for non-Muslims.


The archbishop’s remarks brought furious protests across the country. Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office said in a statement that Sharia law "cannot be used as justification for committing breaches of English law." His culture secretary, Andy Burnham, described the archbishop’s proposals as "a recipe for chaos." (Source: Religion News Service: http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=blog_view&var1=ViewInd&var2=1&var3=256&var4=main)

It wasn’t too long ago (2 years) that Ontario’s Liberal government did the same until controversy erupted.

Would Sharia law be leading people to the truth? What should be our reaction to those who differ from us? Should we forget our differences and adopt what some call reasonable accommodation? Is this accommodation love?

Jesus dramatized his new law of love—the call to love one’s enemies. There had never been anything like it. This was exactly what Jesus did in the next few hours when he hung on the cross with his arms stretched wide as if to embrace the world, as he died for the “ungodly,” for “sinners,” for his “enemies,” as we see in:

Romans 5:6-10 [6]For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. [7]For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- [8]but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [9]Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. [10]For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (ESV)

This right now who is most frustrating to you? Who most interferes with your life and work? Who gets under your skin the most and if you look deep down, do you wish could just go away? In any real consideration, this individual is your enemy. Jesus calls us to pray for them and lead them to the truth through Christian love.

Our study in 1 Peter prepared us for persecution and life and death matters. But how do we deal with situations where it is not our life that is threatened but our calm, ego’s or comfort.

As we see in Luke 6:27–36, at the beginning of his ministry, with the newly called twelve standing before him, Jesus announced a new law, calling his followers to love as he loves. This is an impossible call apart from Christ. Jesus shows the Christian’s High calling in 1) The New Love Ethic Declared and 2) The New Love Ethic Explained


There were several words for love in the Greek language. Jesus did not here command storge, natural affection. He did not command eros, romantic love. He did not command philia, the love of friendship. He demanded agape love. Such a love is not motivated by the merit of the one who is loved. The other loves come quite naturally. (Leon Morris, Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), p. 142.)

This past Thursday, when people celebrated Valentines Day is was a celebration of romantic love. You can fall into eros. But agape love supersedes natural inclinations and often exists in spite of them. It is a deliberate love, rooted not in the emotions, but in the will—a love by choice.

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