Believe the Love that God has for Us

1 John 4:16-17 ESV

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.”

What is the love that God has for us? Well, first off, he is love, and love comes from him, and so this love will share all the moral characters of God. He is holy, righteous, pure, upright, truthful, trustworthy, true to his word, merciful, compassionate, full of grace, and kind, but he is also just and fair, and again he keeps to his word. And so his love he has for us shares those same attributes.

Because he is merciful and compassionate and just, he sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (God the Son), to a cross to die for our sins. And he who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God. So when Jesus died our sins died with him. And when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose in victory over sin, death, Satan, and hell. He conquered sin for us in his death on that cross and in his resurrection so that we might live in victory over the power of sin.

Now Jesus did not die that horrible death on that cross just to forgive us our sins so that when we die we get to go to heaven. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might now live for him and no longer for ourselves. And he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now be God’s possession, and so we would now honor him with our lives (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15,21; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

And when we believe in him and in the love he has for us and what he did for us on that cross, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. So we are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For if sin is what we obey and put into practice, but not obedience to our Lord, it will end in death, not life everlasting (Romans 6:1-23).

So, the love that God has for us is not in just forgiving our sins, but it is in delivering us from our slavery to sin so that we can walk in holiness and in righteousness, and in obedience to our Lord and to his commandments (New Covenant). The love that he has for us transforms us and makes us into new people in Christ Jesus who love God and who want to obey him. He changes us into people who will willingly die with him to sin, not just once but daily, and who want to live to him and to his righteousness.

So, when we abide in this love that God has for us, and that we are to have for all humankind, what does that look like? Well, to abide means to obey, comply with, follow, keep to, hold to, conform to, adhere to, stand by, act in accordance with, uphold, agree to, accept, continue in, remain, stay, and endure. And again his love is all about his divine character, such as righteousness, holiness, truthfulness, integrity, and moral purity, etc. So we are then obeying righteousness and holiness and godliness.

And when we abide in this love, we are also abiding in God, and God abides in us. We are not abiding in Christ, however, if we are still living for the sinful pleasures of this flesh, and if sin is what we obey and we make our practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice. In fact, we read in 1 John 2:3-6 that if we claim to know God but we are not obeying his commandments (New Covenant), in practice, then we are liars who do not live by the truth.

So, if we are abiding in God’s love, and God thus abides in us, by this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment. Why? Because if we do not abide in Christ and in his love, but sin is what we obey, instead, we will die in our sins and we will not inherit eternal life with God. So it is critical that we conform to and keep to and obey God’s love which is righteous, holy, morally pure, truthful, and trustworthy. And we must continue in this abiding until the very end.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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