Monthly Archives: February 2015

David, as a missionary with Operation Mobilisation, has a role in leading a church plant in Chippenham, England.

Lovers of Love

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Love as an uncontrollable force.

Near the end of the Song of Solomon the bride speaks of love as an uncontrollable force that cannot be quenched or overpowered.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it,
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised. (8:6-7)

ds-132x132The power of love is rarely acknowledged in our everyday lives as the indomitable force behind all that we think and do. In other words, we don’t see the Bible describing a reality where we have a free will that chooses between two opposing opposites. Rather it assumes our minds and wills are mere instruments of our hearts.  The heart, as the motivational center, controls and dictates to the mind what to think and the will what to choose. Therefore, the object of our affections controls us.  With this in mind, I want to take a look of one particular danger about having a tameless tiger in our chest–that is, the danger of loving love.

lovers of loveAs a pastor I became aware that many might be attracted to Christianity, not on account of Christ, but the love they received from those who love Christ.  Now you may think, isn’t this the way it should work? As we love people won’t they often eventually come to love Christ?  Yes we should evangelize by offering love to others!  But as we invite people to love Christ by loving on them, potentially they could come to love the love they receive and not Christ.

Given the reality of us being bound by the affections of our hearts, and our fallen hearts being completely bent on loving self, it shouldn’t surprise us that someone might love being loved.  Let’s face it, someone might function like this, “I love me and I love it when people love me.”  Not that this is a conscious thought, but people who’ve experienced abuse or abandonment might easily fall in love with the love they’ve rarely received.

In some situations its obvious that one loves love: they begin to take advantage of others, they only show up when they’ve had a rough day and they need to be loved, or they just don’t really seem to want to know why you’ve loved them.   But in others cases, the lover of love begins to play the part of a Christian. They begin to come to everything, they begin to read their Bibles, and maybe profess a belief in Christ. But when the person who has loved them goes away for a time the lover of love gradually, if not quickly, goes back to their old ways.

This reminds me of Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560).

He was a brilliant humanist scholar who fell in love with love.  As one of Martin Luther’s most devoted followers, he was swept up by the wave of Luther’s passion for Christ, zealous rejection of Scholastic Theology, and the need for reformation.  “All of Aristotle’s works,” according to Luther, “are the worst enemy of grace.”  It was a tectonic shift for Melanchthon to agree with Luther’s “Aristotle was to theology as darkness is to light.”  Prior to Melanchthon’s encounter with Luther his main ambition was to compile a Greek edition of Aristotle’s works that hadn’t previously existed in the West.  Instead he wrote his 1521 Loci Communes, a book that summarized Luther’s theology so well that Luther, with tongue firmly in his cheek, suggested it should have been canonized.

Yet this rejection of Scholastic Theology and his full devotion to Luther’s theology didn’t last.  In Luther’s absence and under the pressure of other events, Melanchthon retreated back to Aristotle. The three latter editions of his Loci Communes completely abandoned the bondage of the free will, which according to Luther was the “hinge” at the center of his reformation.  Melanchthon had gotten caught up in the tidal wave of the man, but when the wave was gone Melanchthon made his way back to his first love, Aristotle.

Knowing the powerful dictator inside, we can’t be subtle about the reasons for our loving others.  Being aware that people could fall in love with love or really just make the giver of love into a Christ-like figure, we must make it clear that we love because we are loved.  Love isn’t the end or the goal; rather, pleasing Christ is our motivation, he is the end and he is the goal. We must be clear that it’s a love for Christ, who loved us and esteemed us first, that frees us to love. This won’t stop fallen people from being lovers of love, but it makes Christ the source and reason for our love of others.  This isn’t mechanical or fake, but as we love Christ, who has loved us first, we begin to love what Christ loves. Thankfully he loves all of us with a love that cannot be measured nor exhausted even when we get an eternity to explore it.

~ David

You are invited to comment on David’s article at Cor Deo UK


David Searight

David is a student of historical theology and seventeenth-century puritanism. He came to love the Puritans while studying at Multnomah Biblical Seminary under the tutelage of Ron Frost. Prior to his time at Multnomah, David and his wife Erin graduated from Western Michigan University. They’ve since been blessed with three wonderful children. Following his days at Multnomah he received his Masters of Theology at New College of the University of Edinburgh. In Scotland, David enjoyed reading Puritans who were captivated by God’s loved and wanted their followers “to warm their hearts by the fiery coals of God’s love.” Alongside his studies at New College, he also served as a Theology Network Associate Staff Worker with UCCF mentoring undergraduate theology students. Then David and his family returned to the United States to pastor youth in a rural church in eastern Oregon. Now David, as a missionary with Operation Mobilisation, has a role in leading a church plant in Chippenham, England.

For more information on Cor Deo, including the weekly theological blog, please visit


The Bible: Studies by David Frampton

Union with Christ

Romans 6:1-14 ESV

Brief Review & Introduction

David FramptonIn our series in the Bible, the story of God, we come now to the letters written by Christ’s apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit. In them we read God’s commentary and application of the redemption that Christ accomplished. The first letter to read is Romans. Every Christian should read, study, meditate on, and strive to apply the truth written in it.

Structure of Romans

  • Introduction (1:1-17)
  • God’s wrath against sinners (1:18-3:20)
  • God’s righteousness for believers in Christ (3:21-11:36)
  • God’s righteousness in the daily life of believers (12:1-15:13)
  • Conclusion (15:14-16:27)

Ideas and features of Romans

  • Paul wrote this letter to tell them about the message he preached before he visited Rome and to seek support for a proposed missionary journey to Spain; he sought to strengthen unity in the gospel among believers
  • Paul wrote the letter about AD 57; with Colossians, they are the only letters in the Bible that he wrote to a church he did not start
  • About 20% of Romans contains quotations from the OTS; 104 verses from 14 books are quoted; about half those are in chapters 9-11
  • The key words in Romans are righteousness and justification; the theme verses are 1:16-17; the most important verses, not only in Romans but in the whole Bible are 3:24-26
  • Romans is the “theological skeleton” of the whole Bible; however, it is not a textbook on theology but a letter, the greatest letter ever written
  • Romans is very valuable because it is a completely developed presentation of the good news (gospel); after years of preaching and teaching the good news, Paul had taught people of many people groups and had heard countless objections to this message; for this reason he raises them and answers them


I. A very important matter (6:1-2)

A.We cannot understand what the apostle is saying unless we understand the reason for the objection.

1.Instead of sin, condemnation, and death in Adam, in Christ we have obedience, justification, and life. Christ alone did all that everything necessary to provide life for all those who trust in him (5:12-19).

2.Through Christ, we are not in a position of law (the old covenant) where sin increased; instead, we are in a position of increasing and reigning grace. We have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (5:20-21). As incredible and amazing and wonderful you think that is, it is much more than any of us can imagine.

B.At this point Paul knows that an objection comes: “Ah Paul, are you not saying that since you are justified, you can sin as much as you want to? Sure you are—where sin increases, grace overflows; so then, let’s sin more so we can experience grace more!  If we have such amazing grace, then believers in Christ can live however they want.” We ought to notice that only those who preach justification by grace alone will ever have to answer such a question. Paul answers it two ways.

1.By flat denial –“By no means!” This is a very strong expression that means “may it never be” or “not at all” or more idiomatically, “no way!” Anyone who seriously raises this kind of objection reveals that they do not understand the nature of salvation from sin to righteousness.

2.By restating the purpose of saving grace – We died to the reign of sin under which we lived in Adam. There has been a radical break with sin. How can we live in sin any longer?

Transition: The question is, “When did we die to sin’s controlling power?” Paul explains the reality of the believer’s union with Christ.

II. Basic facts about our union with Christ (6:3-10)

A.Every believer is “baptized” into Christ (6:3-4). First of all, we must understand what “baptize” means. It clearly means “to dip” or “to immerse” or “to submerge”. So then, when we were united with Christ, we were joined to him in the fullness of his saving work.

1.This is true of every believer—“don’t you know?” He did not write “some of you might know”. It is the true position of everyone who is saved (cf. 8:9-14). This is not something you feel, but your spiritual position.

2.When Jesus died, he died to his relationship with sin. He came to die for sinners, and he took our sin on him. And when he died, he died completely to sin and its reign. Therefore, in Christ we have died to the reigning power of sin (6:7).

B.Every believer is also united to Christ in his resurrection (6:4-10). While it is true that in Christ we died to sin, yet that alone is an insufficient explanation of our position and the reason that we cannot continue to live in sin. Christ’s death and burial were steps onward to his resurrection through the glory of the Father.

1.The future tense is used (6:5) to speak of our resurrection with Christ in order to say that it is certainly true. In our union with Christ we receive a new, glorious position. We are no longer the “old self” that we were in Adam. We are the resurrected “new self” that we are in Christ. The old self was crucified so that we might not be slaves to sin. Instead, the new self is to be a slave of God that we might live lives that are set apart to righteousness (6:19-22).

2.Therefore, we must understand that we cannot continue to live in sin, as the objection suggests. Instead, we are united to Christ by faith that we might live a new life (6:4) and live for God (6:10). The key point is to know and to act on what you are in Christ. The Lord Jesus is the master over sin and death. Therefore, we must not think of ourselves as under the reign of sin and death. We are alive and new in Christ and we need to act according to what we now are and not in conformity with what we used to be.

Transition: In order to live the Christian life properly, we must live in conformity with what we are in Jesus Christ. The apostle next presents how to do this.

III. The proper response to this teaching (6:11-14)

A.A command to consider what you are in Christ: “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (6:11).

1.This is a continual responsibility (present tense).  If we falter in this matter, we will reap problems. But we are to count as true what we already are in Christ. For example, football players might say, “We’ve got to be men today.” What are they saying? They’re saying that they must act like the physically gifted men that they are and play according to their potential. Likewise, Christians must remember who they are in Christ and act consistent to their union with the risen Christ.

2.Therefore, act in faith on the truth that you are alive to God in the reign of grace. Do not allow every temptation and sinful failure to shake your confidence. Yes, you will still sin, but sin can no longer destroy you. You died to the old realm and its condemnation (cf. 8:1). Remember that and live in hope.

3.Therefore, when confronted with sin, tell yourself who you are. “Who am I that I should sin? I am new in Christ, a child of God, the Holy Spirit lives in me, and I have great spiritual armor that I can stand against the evil one and sin. My Father has provided the way of escape for me (1 Cor 10:13). I should not sin.” Then we are living in our new freedom that Christ has given us, we can rejoice in the Lord.

B.A command to apply the truth about who you are in Christ (6:12).

1.It prohibits us from letting sin reign in our bodies. Notice that this prohibition comes out from the previous teaching. Sin isn’t your master; don’t act like it is.

2.We must keep this command because sin wants to act like it is still in control of you. It uses evil desires to make you feel like it is. However, we must apply the truth to our lives by the power of the Spirit and refuse evil desires.

C.Two more commands in order to make the application of the truth (6:13).

1.Don’t offer the parts of your body to sin.

2.Offer yourself and the parts of your body to God.

D.The great reality of the believer’s new position (6:14).

1.We are not under law (the old covenant).

2.We are under grace (the new covenant).

~ Dave


About David Framptom
The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teacher and student alike will profit much from his labor in God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.