Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Love Wins - Part 4a – Love and Faith

The basis of the love of God is goodness and mercy, for loving kindness and tender mercy are the nature of God himself. Unconditional love is to love the unlovable, demanding nothing in return. This is the type of love whereby God loved us. For even while we were yet sinners, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.  We cannot fathom the depth of the love of God this side of heaven. In 1 Corinthians 13, we're reminded that whatever we do, even if we give ourselves to be burned alive, if we do it without the love of God, it will be of no significance, it will profit us nothing whatsoever. The charity checklist says that charity, the love of God, suffers long and is kind; it does not glory in itself; it makes no parade.  Love is never rude, never irritable, it is not easily provoked.  Love thinks no evil of others; it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.  It is always eager to believe the best.  Charity, the love of God bears all things, believeth all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.

Everything in this life will come to an end, including manifestations of the gift of the Spirit.  However love will always endure. Our exhortation and encouragement is to grow up into the heart of Christ in us the hope of glory. For when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things.  Growing up into the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation will profit us not only in this life, but also in eternity.

Agape love is unselfish:  It does not concentrate on its own well being.  This truth flies in the face of our WIIFM (what's in it for me) culture. Even so-called "Churchinanity" is not immune from this insidious worldly doctrine.  1 Corinthians reminds us that the love of God is not about you or I. Ultimately it's about Him. In him we live and move and have our being. However, the old man of the flesh desires is "heavily defended territory." Only by the love of God can we conquer the god of “self”. Man’s religion emphasizes the works of the flesh.  That religion says that I can approach the throne of grace, if I'm "good enough." However, Jesus Christ said to the religious leaders, "in vain do they worship me, they draw near me with their lips but their heart is far from me." They think that they can approach God in their own goodness and self righteousness.  Man’s religion says that I'm good and that I can really love only those who are "good" like me. The religious Pharisees of Jesus' time would not "defile" themselves by associating with others whom they deemed were "not good enough." Their "self righteousness" was the one thing that Jesus opposed the most. He called the Pharisees "whitewashed cemeteries." They appear beautiful and carefully manicured on the outside, but inside they are rotten and full of dead men's bones.  

Jesus said that if you abide in me, you shall bear the fruit of Agape Love. The characteristic of agape love is that God, through Jesus Christ's atonement accepts you just as you are.  This is the essence of the goodness and loving kindness of our Heavenly Father. The heart of God is love and forgiveness.  Jesus said that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the religious leaders, you have no part in the kingdom of Heaven. How then can our righteousness exceed their righteousness?  We must shake off "religiosity," man's so-called "goodness" which is a form of godliness, in order to enter into the genuine love of God. The nature of "Churchinanity" is to squeeze you into its mold of conformity. The opposing factions of "denominations and non-denominational churches” divide those who think that they're following the truth of the Word. How do you tell which is the correct road, the right way. Jesus said that there are two trees, one that gives good fruit and one that gives evil fruit. There are two houses, one built on the sand and the other built on the rock. Jesus said, by their fruit you shall know them.  What is the foundation of your faith?  Upon which rock is the building of your faith founded?  Jesus Christ himself is the chief cornerstone, the foundation of our faith.

Let's continue Micheal's message on God's love in the next post.
In Christ, Brian

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