The words of Jesus Christ are life changing and timeless. When Jesus spoke, lives were transformed and the trajectory of life forever altered. He tells us that He is "the way, the truth and the life" John Whether you are just beginning to seek Jesus or have been a believer for years, the Word of God can always speak new truths into your life!
Each day has enough trouble of its own. If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. By his death and resurrection Christ also brings about the salvation of men Romans 5: This salvation includes forgiveness of sins Ephesians 1: Therefore, when dealing with love, we must try to relate everything to Jesus Christ and his life, death and resurrection.
And through faith, the Spirit of Christ, living in us enables us to follow his example.
Jesus Christ, the Beginning and the End
In the Old Testament we saw that God loves his own glory and delights to display it in creation and redemption. A deeper dimension of this self-love becomes clear in the New Testament. It is still true that God aims in all his works to display his glory for men to enjoy and praise Ephesians 1: In short, Christ is God and has eternally existed in a mysterious union with his Father John 1: This love within the Trinity itself is important for Christians for two reasons: First, the costly beauty of the incarnation and death of Christ cannot be understood without it.
Second, it is the very love of the Father for the Son which the Father pours into the hearts of believers John The ultimate hope of the Christian is to see the glory of God in Christ John This does not mean that God is an old-fashioned name for the ideal of love. It is his nature to love. But we must not imagine that Christ is loving while God is angry. Nor should we think of the Father forcing the Son to die for man. And the love of the risen Christ guides 2 Corinthians 5: Another misconception that must be avoided is that the love of God and Christ can be merited or earned by anyone.
Jesus was accused of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners Matthew At another time when Jesus was accused of eating with tax collectors and sinners Luke In this way, Jesus showed that his saving love aimed to embrace not those who thought they were righteous Luke The love of Jesus could not be earned; it could only be freely accepted and enjoyed. The reason Jesus demonstrated a love for those who could not merit his favor is that he was like his Father. Paul too stresses that the unique thing about divine love is that it seeks to save even enemies.
Do Not Love the World | Desiring God
He describes it like this: While it is true that God in one sense loves the whole world in that he sustains the world Acts He has chosen some before the foundation of the world to be his sons Ephesians 1: God has set his love on these chosen ones in a unique way Colossians 3: These he draws to Christ John 6: Why he chooses one and not another is not revealed.
We are only told that it is not due to any merit or human distinctive Rom 9: Therefore, all boasting is excluded Romans 3: We deserved nothing since we were all sinners, and everything we have is due to God who has mercy Romans 9: This is true even when Jesus says that the reason God loves his disciples is because they keep his word John Jesus sums up the whole Old Testament in the commandments to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself Matthew Jesus said this was the reason they did not love and accept him John 5: He and the Father are one John But on the other side there are grave warnings to those who do not love God 2 Timothy 2: Now the question arises: If the same benefits depend on loving God and Christ which at the same time depend on faith, what is the relationship between loving God and trusting him?
We need to recall that love for God, unlike love for a needy neighbor, is not a longing to supply some lack on his part by our service Acts Rather, love for God is a deep adoration for his moral beauty and his complete fullness and sufficiency. It is delighting in him and a desire to know him and be with him. But in order to delight in God, one must have some conviction that he is good, and some assurance that our future with him will be a happy one. That is, one must have the kind of faith described in Hebrews There is another way to conceive of loving God: Is there a place for this love in the life of the believer?
Indeed, there is John 8: For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he becomes the rewarder of those who seek him. Therefore, in order to love God in the sense of pleasing him, we must never approach him because we want to reward him , but only because he rewards us. We can do him a favor only by happily accepting all his favors.
The person who lives this way will inevitably keep the commandments of Jesus John We already discussed what this meant in Leviticus It means that we should seek the good of others as earnestly as we desire good to come our way. After this commandment, probably the most famous passage on love in the New Testament is 1 Corinthians Here Paul shows that there can be religiosity and humanitarianism without love.
This raises the question of what this love is if one could sacrifice his life and still not have it. The New Testament answer is that the kind of love Paul is talking about must spring from a motivation which takes into account the love of God in Christ.
The Greatest of These Is Love: An Introduction to the Series
Genuine love is born of faith in the loving promises of God. Therefore, Christian love exists only where the love of God in Christ is known and trusted.
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This profound link between faith and love probably accounts for why Paul mentions the two together so often Ephesians 1: It does not manipulate others in order to win their approval or gain some material reward. Rather, it seeks to reward others and build them up 1 Corinthians 8: Love does not use others for its own ends; it delights to be a means to their welfare. If this is the hallmark of love, how can sinful men, who by nature are selfish Ephesians 2: The answer of the New Testament is that we must be born again: To be born of God means to become his child with his character and to be transferred from death to life: God himself abides in his children by his Spirit 1 John 3: Now we are in a position to answer our earlier question: Why does faith always work through love?
Faith is the way we receive the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is love. The answer is clearly faith. This means that the essential characteristic of the person who has been born again and is being led by the Spirit of God is faith John 1: Therefore, while love is a fruit of the Spirit, it is also a fruit of faith, since it is by faith that the Spirit works Galatians 3: To understand fully the dynamics of this process, another factor must be brought in: Faith and hope cannot be separated.
How to Love God When You Don’t Feel It
Genuine faith in Christ implies a firm confidence that our future is secure Heb. He is free from anxiety and fear 1 Peter 5: So he is not easily irritated 1 Corinthians In other words, having our hope pinned on the promises of God frees us from the attitudes that hinder self-giving love.
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If God has not satisfied our deep longing for life, then we may as well try to get as much earthly pleasure as possible, whether it is loving to others or not. But God has in fact given us a satisfying and confident hope as a basis for a life of love.
Therefore in Colossians 1: Therefore, the way to become a loving person is to set our hope more fully on God and delight more fully n the confidence that whatever is encountered on the path of obedience is for our good. The love that is born of faith and the Spirit is especially manifest in the Christian home and in the community of believers. But more importantly it is the force behind positive deeds of spiritual edification Romans Love is not to be—cannot be—restricted to friends. This same concern was carried into the early church in verses like Romans The great desire of the Christian in doing good to his enemy and praying for him is that the enemy might cease to be an enemy and come to glorify God 1 Peter 2: And since it does not wrong anyone, but seeks the good of all, it fulfills the whole law of God Romans