Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Must God's love being seen in me?

Is God’s love being seen in me?  It is referring to whether or NOT people can see or NOT, God’s love in us (or me).  It is NOT primarily asking if God’s love for us (or me) is seen in us (or me).  It is whether God’s love for others is seen in us.  And so, it presupposes God has love for others, apart from us (or me).  Does God have love for others, apart from us (or me)?  We are crazy to think that God only love us (or me), and NOT others!

The love of God is for all men
John 3:16 said it all, that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, so that whoever believes in Him, may have eternal life.  The world is definitely NOT just us (or me)?  It is all men, in general.  There is another verse in Scripture paralleling this understanding.  1 Tim 2:4 – {God our Savior} who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  Or this: 1 John 2:2 - And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

For the stubbornly unrighteous, God ultimately cannot love him
So, please, we should stop thinking we (or I) am so special that God loves only us (or me).  We are (or I am) special, but he is and she is, too.  God’s love for me and for you is the same.  God’s love for men is defined in the Hebrew love word, ‘ahab love, as love unto righteousness (For a more detailed exposition of this ‘ahab love, read: ‘ahab love – love unto righteousness).  The righteousness there, is His righteousness, and this love, is defined independently of who (men) we are referring to.  And so, it is about us, men, coming into this love of God.  Another way of putting it, if you are a man, and you are righteous, God cannot but love you.  And if one remains stubbornly unrighteous, God ultimately cannot love him.

The story of Job – a most righteous man
This is how God allowed Job to be spoken of (Job 1:1): In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

In other words, Job was the most righteous man in the land.  If you meditate on this, with the knowledge and understanding of the story of Job as detailed in that Book, and believe, as it is defined for us, the love of God (‘ahab love), you will appreciate the love of God is so incongruent with the many ideas of love, from the world.  The love of God has one aim and only one aim in mind, to maintain and foster greater righteousness in us (or grow the holiness in us). 

All the ways and manners and even all the particular things that have been or will be allowed to happen in our lives, including (Job, an good example) loss of wealth, loved ones, and even health, God has NOT precluded Himself from employing (it does NOT necessarily mean God caused it), so long as it goes towards maintaining or growing in you, righteousness; the only condition is that He cannot be unholy or He cannot be evil in anyway.

Let your mind and understanding be expanded
I hope this exposition will expand readers’ understanding of the love of God.  One benefit is that we can get a better understanding of what is going on in our lives, when we are told we are having a God who loves us; and that God is NOT “playing favourite” in His love; it is to the degree you are righteous, you will experience the degree of His love, as the degree of your righteousness puts you into the degree of the fullness of God’s love.  The fullness of God’s love is there all the time, it is we have to step into that fullness, and we cannot do that, if we are NOT righteous.  Over and on top of that, the grace and mercy of God flow out to us to help us along, all subjugated to the demands of God’s own holiness.

It opens our spiritual eyes to see how far we are from the fullness of God’s love, and even as we journey greater into that fullness, we should want others to experience that love of God, too, and we should want also, to give understanding to others, about how God loves men, so that we encourage men to move towards and into the fullness of God’s love, which is the will of God.  You may say, “But why?”  As that Job story shows, God does NOT take His eyes off the one who is righteous, despite whatever afflictions have been allowed to hit him, and when the person’s righteousness stand, the love of God will bless most abundantly (you can read, in the end, how Job was doubly blessed by God).  The greater blessings, however, many somehow, often forget, are God, through the Holy Spirit, sheds His peace and joy abroad in our hearts, meanwhile, and at the appointed time, brings us to be with Him, in Heaven, as a consummation of the Love Story, the Gospel. 

It is NOT about you, and it is about you
“Bro Anthony, ok, I get what you saying here, but what does it got to do with whether or NOT God’s love is being seen in me or NOT?”  Firstly, I hope we are clear it is NOT about you and I, and it is about you and I! 

It is NOT about you and I, in the sense it is NOT about our love for another man.  It is about God’s love for another man.  And it is about you and I, for we have joined God in the Love Story, when (and only when) we have been justified; and that gets us, the imputed righteousness of Christ Jesus.  In simple terms, you and I entered into the Love Story on becoming a Christian (we been justified and adopted into the Story). 

The Love Story
The Story is about God loving men and men loving God back; it is NOT just God loving you (or me) and you (or I) loving Him back.  Yes, there is the personal dimension, and yet, the big picture or corporate dimension is that God is after men, NOT just you and I.  I repeat, it is NOT about your love or my love for another man. 

A US pastor, a “long-distance friend” of mine (his blog I followed regularly), Ps Prentis, wrote recently on the same theme. I commented on his blog that he was cute(!) when he expressed, “We think that [our] love produces love in others until we remember junior high.”  It is about His love, like the author of this song said it:

Oh, I love you with the love of the Lord,
Yes, I love you with the love of the Lord;
I can see in you the glory of my king,
Yes, I love you with the love of the Lord

It is all, to be truly righteous
Actually, how can one be truly righteous, if he loves another with his (own) love? The very 1st commandment, he fails, for that commandment calls for us to love God back with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  And when we are NOT truly righteous, we have NOT yet come into the fullness of God’s love.  To be truly righteous, we have to love God with all our love.

When we do love someone with our love, we do NOT love God with our all!  Some people actually would say the Scripture is self-contradicting or is oxymoron, arguing that the very 1st and 2nd commandments of God are oxymoron – God’s asking is in contradiction.  I say the author of the above song got it right, it is when we love another, NOT with our own love, but the love of the Lord, that there is no contradiction in the two love commandments. 

What is the “new” in Jesus’ saying
God knows the hearts of men (Acts 1:24) [thinking that there is contradiction], and Jesus shed some light on this:  Jesus said that he was giving the people a new command, but what He gave was the same 2 love commands as in Deu 6:5 and Lev 19:18.  But Jesus did say “new”; so what was new about the love commandments?  The 1st commandment was the same (Deu 6:5 did NOT have “mind”, explicitly), but we read this in John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, so you must love one another.

Therein, is what was new about Jesus’ command: We are to love one another, in the same way He loved the disciples.  How did Jesus love the disciples?  He loved them with the love of the Father God.  Jesus’s love for the Father was a total sell-out, doing His will, even to die on the Cross, a cruel death; why?  Because that is the Father God’s love for us, men.  Jesus loved His disciples with the love of the Father God.

Jesus, our model
So? So, it is NOT about we love another man or whomever man, with our love; it is we love another with the love of the Lord.  Jesus is our model: He loved with the Father’s love; He did the will of the Father.  We? We to love with the love of the Lord; we to do His will (Of course, the Lord and the Father has once again, are one, and one with the Holy Spirit; For a season, the Lord laid down His deity, that was when he lived as a man).

Must I?
“Ok, bro Anthony, now I understand I am to love with the love of the Lord, just as Jesus loved, with the love of the Father God; but must I love, so that the Lord’s love can be seen in me?” Yes, you and I must. 

When we look at the Strong’s Lexicon on ‘ahab love (God’s kinda of love), we find our reciprocal love for God is also to be unto righteousness.  Love is bounded together with righteousness.  And so, we see in Scripture, Jesus defined loving God this way (John 14:15 & 21): He who loves me obeys my commands, and He who obeys my commands is the one who loves me. 

The righteousness of God (what God wants done and the time it is to be done) is explicit to us in His commands; that is why Jesus tied love to obeying His commands.  So, we ask: Is it His command we to love one another?  Yes, the John 14:34 made it explicit (“A new command I give you: Love one another. AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, so you must love one another).  When you and I don’t obey His commands, say, this “love one another” command, we are NOT being righteous (righteousness, simply, is being spot on with God, with what He wants), and that translates automatically to, we are NOT loving God fully, and we won’t be at the fullness of His love for us.

Love for God, righteousness, and love one another, altogether
1 John 3:10 (KJV) spells it out clearly: In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

We can see, NOT loving one another, being singled out as NOT practising righteousness.  Another angle to view this, is that righteousness of God necessarily includes God wanting us to love one another.  In other words, loving one another is always in the righteousness of God, NOT just sometimes.  Viewing in another way, we cannot go wrong when we practice loving one another; and it is consistent with this verse (Rom 13:10 KJV): “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The righteousness of God cannot be working any ill; and love, being always in the righteousness of God, therefore, cannot be working any ill; and so, love is said to be fulfilling of the law, for the law is for righteousness and against ills.  In this way, too, we have the understanding of some of the similar verses in Scripture, like the ones below:

Gal 5:14 - For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
James 2:8 - If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right {practising righteousness}.

On top of 1 John 3:10, the apostle John also similarly linked loving God, keeping His commandments, and loving one another together, in 1 John 5:2 (KJV) – “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

The flow is very simple:  We are to love God with our all (the 1st commandment – love God commandment). We love God by obeying His prescription for us and doing His will, and His prescription and will are in His commandments, and foremost and always, in His righteousness (or what He wants), is we to love one another, and so, when we truly love God and so, keep His commandments, we would have kept this love thy neighbour commandment (2nd commandment), and so, we are loving one another or His children.

What does it mean when God’s love is NOT seen in us?
In matter of degree, these:
We are NOT practicing righteousness
We are NOT obeying His commands
We are NOT loving God, as we are NOT loving one another
We are NOT getting ourselves into the fullness of His love
We hinder our own sanctification
We have NOT identified with Him (borrowing Ps Prentis’ words)

The end for one who is righteous and so, is loving God, is being loved by God, and it is beautiful; and his journey on earth, meanwhile, will be with God’s cover over him, and he is at peace and with joy, in and of the Holy Spirit, as he is in alignment with the Spirit of God.  Be that one, and God will have His children, all like His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

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