Love Each Other!
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
1 John 4:11-12 (NLT)
Note from Kip…
Love! We talk about love as if we understand just what it is. Christians perhaps talk about love and feel more than any other group that they have a monopoly on it. Love is the universal language, it is capable of traversing gaps in human conflict and diverse objectives.
Christians should have a clear advantage in understanding the depths love extends in it purest form, because we have been shown love that is beyond what the world is capable of duplicating or exceeding.
God’s Love! He floods us with it. We should have unmistakable evidence of this love but that doesn’t seem to always be the case.
No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.
John 15:13-14 (HCSB)
Most of us are familiar with this passage. It declares that no love is greater than this sacrificial love and provides a clear reference to the sacrifice Jesus is preparing to provide for those whom He loves, us
People can lay down their lives for others, and many have. So while we as Christians see the significance of this act of love Christ bestowed on us, the world may only see as best a selfless act that someone did long ago. If they don’t understand the significance of the act of Christ did for them, then the point is lost.
Let’s take one more step in this direction, because so many Christians don’t grasp the full significance of that act as well. Sure, we understand that Jesus died for us, to absolve us of our sin. We get it that he gives us His Spirit to live in us. We get that God fills us with His love, joy, peace, and so much more. We get all that.
But even us, most Christians, don’t get how far this love extends. It is the depths of Christ love and how it is intended to perpetuate that we need to fully explore and convey to the “each other” described in the central verse for today.
The love that hung Jesus Christ on the cross was not demonstrated at the cross. I know that statement is sure to raise an eyebrow two, but what I’m driving at is that the cross was not the full embodiment of His Love.
To get the full impact of what the Love of Jesus encompasses we have to look before and beyond the cross. The cross is central to His Love being manifested, but for us to begin to grasp the full impact of how deep this love is we have to go back to a time when time didn’t exist.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.
John 1:1-3 (HCSB)
The ‘In the beginning, God’ referenced in the first verse of Genesis, is Jesus Christ. The history of God that has been entrusted to man, has a logical end point at the creation. The only reference recorded in the Bible prior to the creation was when Lucifer rebelled and was thrown out of Heaven. We have these two references and no further information about God prior to that.
The point that I’m attempting to get you to is understanding that the Love of Christ that was exhibited on the Cross, began before the creation event.
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 (KJV)
Not only that, He loved us so that He created us and the world we live in; the universe that our world exists in. The love demonstrated on the cross was the reason God created. So that love could be fulfilled. The cross provides the way to that Love being not just manifested on the cross but in us!
However, we aren’t quite done yet. We have not yet experienced the extent that this love goes so we still don’t have an impression of just how deep it truly is. All we have done so far, is come to a better understanding of its beginning. The cross was not the other end of that love.
The cross transformed the relationship between God and man, because as a result of Christ sacrifice we have salvation through His Grace. It’s just a matter of faith in Him and acknowledging who He is, as well as what He’s done. But He’s not finished demonstrating His love.
“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”
John 14:1-3 (HCSB)
God’s plan all along. His strategy for the full manifestation of His Love starts before time, is demonstrated on the cross, and finally is fulfilled when He takes us home to live with Him throughout all of eternity.
It is only when you span these three points in history (including history of the future) that we can start to see the scope of what took place on the cross for us. It is only then that we can start to wrap our arms around the love that engulfs us.
About Loving Others
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also 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 (HCSB)
Our brothers and sisters in the Lord are to be impacted by His love in us. Most of us do a fairly good job of accomplishing this, most of the time.
Although it is factual, the troubling part of that last sentence are the words ‘most’ and ‘fairly’. Call them wiggle words. The give us room to wiggle out of the point in question. Sadly, it is true.
It should be stated as, “We do a good job of loving our brothers and sisters in the Lord”. Unequivocal and compliant to the direction of the Lord Jesus.
We are to love other Christians, but also those who are not Christians.
If we are going to love as Christ loves us, it means that His love is projected through us to all those we know, all those we don’t know, and even those who hate us.
If we are to see the Love of Christ “brought to full expression in us“, we must extend His love to all. Not some, not most, not occasionally, or most of the time; all people all of the time.
What a transformative force that would be if every believer did this. Transformative for us, and the world we live in!