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Bible Kisses
A Valentine's Day Message

by Robert L. Cobb
-Administrator, News For Christians Dot Com

Give me a kiss, and to that kiss a score; Then to that twenty, add a hundred more: 
A thousand to that hundred: so kiss on, To make that thousand up a million.
Treble that million, and when that is done, Let's kiss afresh, as when we first begun.
                                         To Anthea  by Robert Herrick 1591-1674

And while he was yet speaking, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus to kiss him.  But Jesus said to him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?    Luke 22:47-48

Popular culture has a lot to say about kisses.  Radio airwaves are filled with songs about them, and teenage hearts are filled with thoughts of them.  But the kiss is not strictly the domain of youngsters and songsters.  A kiss is an expression of affection, an evidence of love.  Society has denigrated the kiss by emphasizing the erotic aspects of kissing and encouraging public displays of affection.   But a topical study of the word "kiss" in scripture yields surprising results.  What can we learn from studying "bible kisses?"  While there are many types of kisses today with many different meanings, the same can be said of bible kisses.  The context each time the word is used reveals beneficial truths and biblical principles that will help us in our Christian walk.

I.  The Figurative Kiss of God's Attributes  (Psalm 85:10)  "Mercy and truth are met together; right- eousness and peace have kissed each other." It is nearly impossible in this world to combine mercy and truth.  Truth is absolute holiness without error or hypocrisy.  Mercy is overlooking error and hypocrisy.   The same can be said for righteousness and peace.  Righteousness is frustrating to fallen man.  He can have no peace without true righteousness. Man is not equipped to handle these two seemingly incompatible attributes.  But our verse says that these two opposing truths are "met together," they have "kissed each other."  When did such a meeting take place?  It could only happen in Christ! "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."  (John 1:17) 

Christ was the conduit who connected God's holy righteousness and His overwhelming love.  God has never had a problem, as we humans know problems.  But if He could have had a problem from the standpoint of human understanding, this is it.  How can God be both righteous and merciful at the same time? "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5:1)  He found a way by faith and through Christ.  When Christ was sacrificed on the cross of Calvary, righteousness and peace kissed each other.  Both sides of God's essence were satisfied and salvation was fully wrought!

II.  The Faithful Kiss of Salvation  (Luke 7:37-38)  "And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner... brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment."  Simon the pharisee had a problem with this "sinful" woman.  In his mind, he thought this scene invalidated the ministry of Christ.  He said, "...if he were a prophet, would have known..."  Jesus proceeded to tell Simon a parable on forgiveness.  He had not honored Christ when He had come into his house, but this "sinner" had taken it upon herself to honor Him.  What a lesson to the Christian!  True salvation makes a difference in one's life.  The believer seeks for ways to honor Him with our lives.  Each of our attempts to honor Him are like kisses unto Him.

For anyone else, this would have been an embarrassing experience.  Simon expected Christ to feel the same way that he would have felt.  Why would one allow a harlot to make such a scene?  But Christ said, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven." Forgiveness did not come because of what she did, but because of the love that she had in her heart.  Many times when children get in their teen years, they don't enjoy showing affection to their parents.  This is a normal part of growing up.  But my fellow Christian, we never grow up enough to quit showing affection to our Lord for saving us!  Have you kissed your Savior lately?

III.  The Family Kiss of the Brethren   "Salute one another with a holy kiss." (Romans 16:16)  (Also   1Cor. 16:20; 2Cor. 13:12; 1Thes. 5:26, 1Pet. 5:14)  Repeatedly, the Apostle Paul admonishes the brethren to greet each other with a kiss.  In today's society, this would be risky business.  A kiss in modern western culture is much more intimate than it was in the days of Christ.  The "holy kiss" was like a heartfelt handshake or, more likely, a hug.  The greeting with a kiss was a brush of the lips against the cheek, or even two cheeks meeting in a semi-embrace.  It did not signal some of the negative things that such actions would today.  But what is behind this exhortation of the apostles?

The greeting with a holy kiss was encouraged to the believers.  It was a sign of true affection, a wish of material and spiritual blessing to each other.  Like our handshakes today, the kiss could sometimes become just a custom with no real meaning behind it.  Paul encouraged the Christians to continue in real, heartfelt love to one another.  Twelve distinct times in scripture we are commanded to "love one another."  The holy kiss was not immoral or impure, but the result of real, God-inspired love.  Cultures have changed down through the years, but the command of scripture has not.  Though our customs decree that the intimacy of kissing may be out of order as a greeting, the demand that Christians love one another is never outdated.

IV.  The Farewell Kiss of Separation  (Acts 20:36-38) "And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship."  The Ephesians loved the Apostle Paul immensely.  They knew that his journey to Rome meant that he would never visit them again.  Imagine the emotions that poured out during this scene.  The verse says "they all wept sore..."  This tells us that their weeping was so extreme that they literally could not cry anymore.  The word translated "kissed" means "a tender kiss, to kiss again and again."

In the Christian life we are sometimes called upon to say good-bye forever.  Whether in death or in duty, we sometimes must cut the connection with our loved ones.  A missionary couple leaves the continental United States and says good-bye to both kin and Christian brethren.  It is their duty to follow God wherever He may lead.  The pastor who is called upon to leave his longtime congregation to lead another flock also knows the kiss of separation.   When death calls a spouse home and leaves a weeping husband or wife behind, we see the kiss of separation as they say good-bye to their partner.

V.  The Foolish Kiss of Idolatry  (Hose 13:2)  And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. Baal worship was at its height in Israel.  Baal was the god of the heathen, and in direct opposition to the God of Israel. By the time of Hosea, Israel had perfected its idol worship.  There were community statues of Baal and smaller personal idols that could be carried on one's person.  The custom was to kiss the statues to show honor and reverence.

Hosea shows the foolishness and ignorance of such idol worship.  He says that the idols are the work of man's hands.  They can be explained by human understanding.  Christians today would not dare bow their knee to Baal or stoop to kiss an ancient idol.  Or would we?  Idolatry lives today in the hearts of men as much as ever before.  Our idols today are sports gods, money gods, entertainment gods, or political gods.  In direct disobedience to our God, we bow and stoop to "kiss the calves" of modern idolatry.  Let it not be so in our lives.

VI.  The Friendly Kiss of Hypocrisy  (Luke 22:47-48) And while he was yet speaking, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus to kiss him.  But Jesus said to him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? This is without doubt one of the most despicable passages of scripture in the entire Word of God.   Even worse, the word here translated "kiss", is, like in the last example, the word for profuse and continual kissing.  Judas' kiss was not only to identify Jesus, but a blatant attempt to fool Christ into thinking that he was innocent.

Jesus let him know the irony of the situation, that He had been betrayed by a kiss, a sign of fidelity, love and affection.  The bible says in Prov. 27:6, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."  There is a danger that our affections for one another can make it easy for an enemy to deceive us.  Satan has many tricks and temptations to throw at God's people.  Judas played the part of a disciple and was well respected by the group.  But he was a devil from the beginning.  The betraying kiss only revealed what was in his heart all along.

VII.  The Forgiving Kiss of Compassion  (Luke 15:20)  "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."  This is one of the most blessed passages of scripture.  Even the world places the story of the prodigal son in high esteem.  The love of the prodigal's father is a picture of the love of our Heavenly Father.  Many times people depict God as a harsh and demanding deity.  They would give Him the qualities of a prison warden or a dictator. 

This passage reveals God as a loving Father.  The prodigal expected rebuke and reprisals from his father.  He expected at least an "I told you so."  But what he got from his father was a kiss, compassion, and joy that he had returned.  If you are unsaved, do not think that God will somehow not receive you if you call upon Him.  He stands ready to honor your repentance and receive your faith.  You may be a great way off, but He is ready to run toward you if you will but take that first step.  If you are a Christian who is out of the will of God, arise, and come to your Father.  The blessings will be immeasurable.

As we have examined these "bible kisses," one fact stands out.  A kiss can mean a lot of different things.  It can be an affectionate sign of love, or it can be a hypocritical sign of betrayal.  But an honorable kiss to God can bring many blessings and great benefits.

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