Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Knotty NOT NOT Problem in Scriptures - Part II

In this blog posting, I continue teaching how the Bible treats double negatives. Last time we looked at John 14:24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words.” I used that example to show how two negatives, ‘not love’ and ‘not keep’, does not always indicate the positive: “He who loves Me keep My words.”

Consider this verse from John 12:47,48 (NASB),
47If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”

This example also has two negatives, ‘not keep’ and ‘not judge’. Here again there are two objects, ‘them (referring to My sayings)’ and ‘him’. Therefore we can apply the same rule that two negatives do not necessarily make a positive. To put it another way, the corollary is not necessarily true: “If anyone hears My sayings and does them, I do judge him.”

These two verses are only about the decision to disobey His sayings. It does not address the obedient person, it addresses the disobedient.

Later in the book of John, that is in John 14:21 (NASB), we see a strong statement about obedience:
21He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

In this verse, the obedience is because of love. It is not obedience to some list of ‘do this’ or ‘do that’–it is the call to obey because our love for Christ.

Therefore, John 12:47,48 is a look at the Father's judgment, ‘Are the actions based on love?’ The double negative has more meaning than you might think.

In Part III of this series, we will look at another example of the Knotty NOT NOT problem.