Passage of the Day: 1st John 4: 8 … Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
My Journal for Today: It is utterly true, as the Apostle declared in today’s highlight text, that “God is love.” And I hope we all know that it is God’s very nature to be loving. However, we cannot take this in a one dimensional context, saying that because God’s love is unconditional, God will accept our sin nature, and especially our sinful behaviore, in His sight. We must always remember that God ALWAYS loves the sinner; but He also ALWAYS hates sin.
So, God’s nature, being love, has two dimensions; and the first of these is the UNCONDITIONAL nature of His Fatherly love. Romans 5: 8, probably as well as any other scripture, spells out God’s unconditional love in the face of our sin nature …
SCRIPTURE: Romans 5: 8 … But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
You probably know John 3: 16 by heart, which along with Rom. 5: 8 above, states that God was willing to sacrifice and die on a cross s0 that you and me, as sinners, may live eternally. Jesus taught about the extending of God’s unconditional love in Luke 6: 32 – 36 …
SCRIPTURE: Luke 6: 32-36 … [the teaching of Jesus] If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
It’s easy to show our love, even our human, brotherly love (Greek = “philadelphia”) to the lovable. But to the unlovable, we begin to see how God’s unconditional love (Greek = “agape”) is not easy to produce in our human will. In fact, I believe that one, especially a non-believer, cannot possibly extend “agape” to another through the natural will. It takes a supernatural surrender of one’s will to God, so that GOD can extend His hand of love through the believer to the unlovable, … yes, even to our enemies, … as Jesus described (above in Luke 6: 35). Now that’s real-deal “tough love” … God’s type of love.
And we must also never forget the second attribute of Godly love; and that is its ever present confrontation with sin. Note the instruction of love involved in Hebrews 12: 5 - 6, where the author quotes from Prov. 3: 11, 12 …
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 12: 5-6 … And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son." [Prov. 3: 11,12]
If any of you, reading here with me, are parents, you know how tough it is to confront ungodly, wrongful behavior in your child. But the confrontation with evil must take place; and it takes place in the context of the love that drives the confrontation. As John MacArthur puts it in Strength for Today, … “True love doesn’t indulge unrighteousness; it confronts it.”
God’s love, through His Spirit, indwelling the hearts of believers, ever confronts our sin; and we feel it in the form of conviction of conscience and healthy, revealing guilt. That is God confronting our sin nature by His love and our loving, Heavenly Father drawing us, through His prevenient grace, to Himself.
So, as we look at God’s nature of love further in the next few days, we need to ask ourselves whether the love we choose to offer (and love is always a choice – not a feeling) is unconditional and whether it is appropriately confrontational. If so, God is in our love and He will be glorified as it is offered to others in His Name.
My Prayer Today: Lord, let my love, offered to others, be Your love. Amen