“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) The Bible does not say God has love for us, but God is love. It is his nature. It is an integral part of who he is. He loved us so much that he came into the world to die for us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) This is how much he loved us. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9) He sent his only Son to us, so we might live through him. We are only truly alive when we live through him. That is why nothing in this world seems to satisfy. He lives in us so we now live through him. “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12) We need him to abide in us so that the invisible God is made visible by our love for each other. Who God is, love, his nature, is expressed through us by our love for one another. That is why every brother is precious. It is through him that we love one another with a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional ‘agape’ love.
“If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3) These words were not written just for weddings. It is for how Christians should live – in love with their families, with their brothers in Christ, with everyone (and not just our spouses). We can do everything right before God, which is what every group of Christians is trying to do before God, but if we do not love each other, we are nothing. The sadness today is all Christians are trying to do God’s will, standing on the ground of righteousness, but have lost the love for each other. The ground of righteousness is under the wrong tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genuine ‘agape’ love emanates from the tree of life. It is the expression of the Spirit of life that abides in us. Just love. It doesn’t matter if all we can do is have a ‘philia’ love for each other (see the blog “Why?”). Just love. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet. 4:8) God loves us so much that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) Whatever we do wrong before God, he will forgive us…so lets forgive one another. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34) Love triumphs over righteousness. That is why it is God’s new commandant. Showing an ‘agape’ love for one another is selfless. We often say we love one another as long as others meet our expectations. When they do something ‘wrong,’ against our expectations, we are upset. The way we are to love each other is just as Christ has loved us. Regardless of what we have done or will do that is wrong, Christ died for us. Regardless of what others do that is wrong to us, we “are to love one another.” (John 13:34) Love should not be affected by the actions of others, it is a reality in ourselves. It is independent of what others do. That is how God loved us. It is very, very hard to think this way as a man. We have to be the children of God. That is why we need the indwelling Spirit to be the reality of God’s ‘agape’ love in us. “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” (1 John 4:13) Because he has given us of his Spirit. The Spirit gives us the ability to love in an ‘agape’ way for not only God, but for others. We have to have faith in the Spirit. We can only express this selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love through the indwelling Spirit. Let Him live through us (Gal. 2:20). That is how God will “unite all things in [Christ].” (Eph. 1:10) This ‘agape’ love is divine in nature. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) The ‘agape’ love we express for one another is the evidence that God is in man.
Today, to rebuild the temple (Acts 15:16) that God desires is not to uphold principles defining what God wants, to rebuild his unified church, as the “remnant of mankind [who] seek the Lord” (Acts 15:17), we just need to love one another. “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) The ‘agape’ love we have for one another is evidence that we are his disciples.
Love is the key aspect of God’s nature that we are lacking. To love Him more and more, means to trust Him more and more. When we love more, we trust more. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Gal. 5:6) How does faith work through love? When we love someone, we will trust them. The more we love someone, the more exposed and vulnerable we become because we have given more and more of our trust to them. This is what God in doing with us. As we mature in Christ, we love Him more and more. We are more and more exposed and vulnerable to Him, realizing how far away we are from His desires for us. All the while He has garnered more and more of our trust. So love works hand-in-hand with faith. The more we love Him, the more our faith grows. The more we surrender to Him, the more He can live through us.