Articles

Articles

The Love that Saves

The Love that Saves

By Paul R. Blake

            “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1Peter 1:22-23).

            Peter states that Christians have been born again by the incorruptible seed, the word of God; cleansing the soul of sin results from obeying the truth. This implies that the truth is not a collection of neutral and impotent facts, but rather is a body of doctrine that moves believers to action, and it has the power to purify their souls. “In sincere love of the brethren” addresses one of the purposes for which souls have been cleansed. The apostle Paul wrote that Christians are “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10), which is similar in construction to what Peter wrote. Both texts reveal God's intention for one who has been regenerated; he is created to do good works, he is purified to love his brethren. Peter combines a command with that information: since you have been purified to love your brethren, fulfill the purpose of your purification and love your brethren honestly and fervently.

            This is yet another way in which a Christian imitates the Father in heaven. God is the essence of the meaning of love; when love is mentioned, God should instantly come to mind. Why does God love man? (John 3:16) Man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), certainly not in physical appearance, for God is Spirit and has no corruptible flesh, but rather in the nature of our eternal spirit. What is one of the deepest, strongest needs in human kind but to love and be loved in return? If we are patterned after God, it should not surprise us to discover that we received that characteristic from Him. In humankind, He sees souls that He can love and who have the potential to love Him in return. Since love is one of God's defining characteristics, love should also characterize the behavior of His children. Consider, since God sees much to love in our fellow Christians, should we not be seeing the same thing in one another, too? Love is at the center of God's word (Matt. 22:36-40), and it is the hallmark of brethren (John 13:33-35).

            The manner of love is unfeigned (anupokritos means "undissembled, sincere: without dissimulation or hypocrisy"; Strongs - 505), pure (katharos means "clean, clear, pure"; Strongs - 2513), and fervently (ektenos means "intently, fervently"; Strongs - 1619). Our love for each other must be patterned after our love for God -- genuine, clean, and intense. If we do not have this love for one another, we are not saved.

 

Keeping Yourself In The Love Of God

By Kent Heaton

            The love of God is the most incredible gift that any man will find in his life. It is the eternal love of a merciful Father that allows the creature to worship his Creator. From the beginning of the world, God has revealed Himself through all generations to receive glory and praise for the abundant grace He gives to a creation that continually rejects and blasphemes His holy name. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the love of God as He came to earth to save man from sin dying on a cross with no guilt upon Himself. It was not because of any good on the part of the man Jesus died. There are no redeeming qualities of a man suggesting the worthiness of the love of God to save man in his sin. Only through the love of a compassionate God to an undeserving creature did the Creator of all the earth give His Son as a sacrifice. The gift of Jesus will not save a man if he does not accept the grace of God on the merits of the sacrifice. Salvation has never been given to anyone who refuses to obey the will of the Lord. The free gift of God’s love is conditioned upon the heart of a man submitting to the law of God through faith and abiding in the covenant of grace through the love he has for the Father. Beginning with faith the heart is drawn to the word of God to see the eternal mercy of a wrathful Lord upon a disobedient world. Building oneself up in the most holy faith of God is the start of where the heart of love is born. As a result of this love, the Holy Spirit fills the soul of man to express feelings of love to God in the spirit of prayer and thanksgiving. It is then the love of God is realized and embraced as the heart seeks to keep itself in the love God, looking for mercy in Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

            There are no words in human language to describe the love of God. Dwelling in God’s love is to live each day with the knowledge of His gift to save men from their sin and redeem them to eternal life. Keeping oneself in the love of God is a passionate activity of constant love for God’s kindness toward all men. Conditioned upon the grace of God men seek the Lord daily to receive those blessings. Salvation is not granted pro bono. The gift of God was free but the acceptance and obedience of that gift are where a man shows his faith in the Lord by doing the will of God. The self-preserving end of keeping oneself in the love of God comes from the faith in the word of God, praying in the Holy Spirit and looking for the mercy of Jesus Christ unto eternal life. It is inherent upon man to keep himself in the love of God. God’s love has never diminished and has never been refused. The reason for the failure of man is because man has failed the love of God. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, everything they needed was provided but they rebelled against the love of God and demanded more. Sin is where the heart of man rejects the love of God and walks outside the will of God. Life can only be found remaining in the love of God.

            Salvation is a choice. God has done His part and everything He has done is an expression of eternal love for a creation that for the most part has rejected His love. This does not diminish the gift of His love to allow the creation to kill His only begotten Son. Through the blood of Jesus eternal life is offered if men would accept the love of God, obey the word of the Lord and keep the commandments of grace. The Lord could save all men but the choice is the inherent free will of man to show his love for God. Adam and Eve had a choice and made a choice to disobey their Creator. Salvation is found in keeping oneself (active participation) in the love of God. Not everyone who calls upon the Lord will be saved but only those who do the will of the Father. Abiding in the truth of God is remaining in the grace of the Lord through faith. When all men stand before the judgment bar of the Lord God Almighty it will be a time of decision for those who have kept the faith or those who did not believe in God and refused to obey the gospel of His Son. The love of God has been shed abroad to all men. What they do with that love is eternal.

Arms of Love

By Judy Crowe

He stands with arms outstretched

To embrace the whole world with love,

Yet few come into His sheltering wing

And rest upon the promise made above.

 

He stands knocking at our heart's door,

Listening for us to say, "Please come in."

"Take my hand and lead me through

This agonizing life of sin."

 

He stands looking with eyes that care

About the way we live, so others might see

Whether it be sin and confusion

Or, whether they see Jesus in me.

 

He stands with arms open wide

Saying, "I was nailed like this to a cruel tree."

"It wasn't because of wrong I had done."

"I died that you might be set free."

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