The Divine Anathema

1 Corinthians 16:22  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 11
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"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maranatha." 1 Cor. 16:2222If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. (1 Corinthians 16:22).
The position which this solemn anathema occupies is truly remarkable. In the course of his lengthened epistle, the Apostle had to rebuke and correct many practical evils and doctrinal errors. There were divisions among the Corinthians. They were puffed up one against another. There was fornication among them. They went to law one with another. There was gross disorder at the Lord's supper. Some of them called in question the grand foundation truth of the resurrection of the dead.
These were grave errors and formidable evils- errors and evils which called forth the sharp and stern reproof of the inspired Apostle. But, be it carefully noted, when at the close he pronounces his solemn "Anathema, Maranatha," it is not directed against those who had introduced the errors or practiced the evils, but against "any man" who loves not the Lord Jesus Christ. (The word "Anathema" signified anything devoted to death; and "Maranatha" signifies the Lord comes to execute judgment.) This, surely, is well worthy of serious thought. The only security against all manner of error and evil is genuine love to the Lord Jesus Christ. A man may be so strictly moral that no one could put his finger upon a single blot in his character-or a single stain in his reputation-and underneath that strict morality there may be a heart as cold as ice, as far as the Lord Jesus Christ is concerned. Also, a man may be so marked by a spirit of benevolence that his influence is felt throughout the entire sphere in which he moves, and all the while his heart may not have a single pulsation of love to Christ.
Finally, a man may possess in the region of his understanding, a perfectly orthodox creed, and he may be devotedly attached to the ordinances and observances of traditionary religion, and be wholly without affection for the adorable Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It may even happen that all these things-lofty morality, noble benevolence, sound orthodoxy, and devoted attachment to religious forms-exist in one and the same individual, and that individual be wholly void of a single spark of genuine affection for the Lord Jesus Christ; and, as a solemn and startling consequence, stand exposed to the burning Anathema of God the Holy Spirit. I may be moral through love to self. I may be benevolent through love to my fellow. I may be orthodox through a love of dogmas. I may be religious through a love of sect. But none of these things can shield me from the merited judgment which is denounced by the Holy Spirit against "any man," no matter who or what, who loves not the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is a deeply solemn and most seasonable word for the present moment. Let the reader deeply ponder it. Let him remember that the only basis for true morality-the only basis for genuine benevolence-the only basis for divine orthodoxy -the only basis for "pure religion"-is love to the Lord Jesus Christ; and where this love does not exist, all is cold, sterile, and worthless-all exposed to death and judgment by the "Anathema, Maranatha" of the Holy Spirit. If the heart be really touched with the vital spark of love to Jesus, the every outgoing of the soul is precious to the Father-precious to the Son- precious to the Holy Spirit-all is fragrant with the perfume of that blessed name which is the theme of heaven's wonder, the center of heaven's joy, the object of heaven's worship.
May the Holy Spirit so unfold to our souls His matchless glories and peerless excellencies, that we may say with the Apostle, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord."