Monday, August 29, 2016
THE MIRACLE OF LOVE
JESUS Christ, who is very God, thus addressed His disciples: "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12,13). The magnitude of the love of God is beyond the scope of human comprehension. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Obviously, the world is anything but lovable! Ergo, the evident meaning is that God showed forth such great love toward the world, that, despite their unregenerate condition, men might, upon believing, obtain eternal life. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:7,8). How can we possibly conceive of such love! It would be impossible for us to generate equal love. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins .... We love Him, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:10,19).
The central figure of the entire Word of God is Jesus Christ. And the total remedy for all of the ills of the world was effected by Him in the offering of Himself at Calvary, to suffer, bleed and die as the spotless lamb of the once-for-all sacrifice required to satisfy the demands of God's standard of justice. All this was accomplished by the exercise of God's love. The supreme teaching of the Scriptures must surely be the doctrine of love.
How appropriately does our Apostle so emphasize: "And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE" (1Cor. 13:13). Our motivation--our driving force--as saints of God, is His love. "For the love of Christ constraineth us ... " (2 Cor. 5:14). By the power of His love we are assured of ultimate victory. We are destined to suffer for Him in sundry ways, as members of His body ."Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). There will be losses and defeats and pain and trials. But "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Rom. 8:37).
The Apostle's personal testimony should be emulated by every saint of God. He passionately affirms, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith [fulness] of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
Our Apostle clearly defines the spiritual responsibility of the saint of God in testimony and witness. "Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned" (1 Tim. 1:5) Having enumerated the proper behavioral characteristics of the faithful believer, Paul sums up with these words: "And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness" (Col. 3:14).
We must continually reassess our compliance with the stipulations set forth by our Apostle. Are we preoccupied with our intellectual knowledge of Scripture? Do we present ourselves to others as superior and complacent and above reproach? Do we arrogantly contend for our personal opinion and demean those with whom we do not agree? We are admonished to avoid such behavior. "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. .. "(2 Tim.2:24).
The Apostle Paul prays for us as members of the body of Christ, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" (Eph. 3:17-19).
How very true it is, that the love of Christ "passeth knowledge!" Our reciprocal love toward Him can never compare with His love to us. That kind of love is far beyond our capacity to understand or express. But we can pour out the love of which we are capable of returning from a heart full of the joy and peace bestowed by God's grace.
Lest we be tempted to be caught up with the illusion of self-worth, may we be ever mindful of these humble words of Paul: "Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2).
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and WALK IN LOVE, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour" (Eph.5:1,2).