Is God Mad at You?
April 8, 2013
Forget Not – Part 1
April 10, 2013
Is God Mad at You?
April 8, 2013
Forget Not – Part 1
April 10, 2013

Anathema or Grace

Arizona sunset 2013

Arizona sunset 2013

22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. 1 Corinthians 16:22-24

This is one troubling passage. Verse 22 stands out as sounding like Paul is saying cursed be anyone who does not love Jesus. Would Paul actually say that?

First of all, the word “love” is not agape love but phileō love. This is the love of a brother or being a friend. Therefore, I think Paul is saying if you are not a friend of Jesus, then you are anathema. The work can also mean kiss. Remember Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Second, anathema means accursed, cursed, or left to destruction. It’s a harsh word. Sometimes the truth is harsh. I think it means that a person without God, who knows not Jesus as their savior and friend, is still under the curse. Paul says to let them be under the curse. It is their choice. If they have been given the choice, and have not received the blessing, then leave them under the curse. In church history, it often meant excommunicate or be tossed out of the church. That is a last resort, especially if they are causing divisions and dissensions. I don’t think God gives up on people very easily.

Third, Maranatha follows the word Anathema. Usually we see this to mean the Lord has come in divine judgment. Sometimes we hear it mean “come Lord Jesus.” I think here it is a reminder to those who don’t love the Lord that He could come at any time and it would be too late. We are appointed all to die and then the judgment. For those that don’t love the Lord it will be a judgment of separation. For those who do love the Lord, then His grace will be with you. Instead of anathema it will be blessing. And you will walk in the blessings of the grace of Jesus.