Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Others To Love"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"Others To Love"
    The Bible teaches that "God is love" (I John 4:8).  By Biblical definition, this means He is a purely and perfectly unselfish Being who seeks the blessing and benefit of others (I Corinthians 13:5).  Moreover, He has always been who He is - "I am the Lord; I change not" (Malachi 3:6).  Thus, by definition, God has always loved someone other than Himself, a truth that fits comfortably with the existence of beings like angels and particularly humans, created in His image and thus capable of receiving and returning love - "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).  An enigma arises upon such consideration, however.  Who did God love before He created other conscious beings?

   We find the answer in the Bible's teaching that God is triune, that is, three distinct persons and personalities exists in the one God.  Scripture plainly declares that "the Lord our God is one Lord" (Deuteronomy 6:4).  However, it also identifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in terms of Deity.

    "Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:7).
    "Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, o God, is forever and ever" (Hebrews 1:8).
     "The Lord is that Spirit" (II Corinthians 3:17).

    The Word of God definitively and unapologetically declares the tri-unity of God.  In such holy and wondrous light, the character of our Lord as love becomes a possibility in terms of reason and logic.  Indeed, if God were but one Person, He could not have always been love.  The creation of other beings would have originated a new reality in the nature of the Creator, an impossibility in an unchanging Being.  Again, love as defined by the Bible logically necessitates givers and receivers.  The Trinity eliminates the enigma by revealing that when nothing existed other than God, the Father loved the Son, the Son loved the Father, the Holy Spirit loved the Father and the Son, who responded in kind to the Holy Spirit.  The Lord Jesus Christ alludes to this in His prayer recorded in John 17.  Addressing the Father, our Lord said, "Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).  

    Love has always been, in and as God.  Thus, when we think of love in its essence, we think only of our glorious and triune Lord.  The most important truth of love is not that God loves me or you, but rather that the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son, who respond in kind to the Holy Spirit.  This constitutes our understanding of love as God-centered and exalting, thus keeping us from the temptation to view His love for us in a way that actually leads to self-centeredness rather than the unselfishness of genuine love as revealed in Christ.  Thus, when we receive the love of God by trusting in the Lord Jesus, we begin the process of first becoming Others focused - "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God" - and then others focused - "and thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:37; 39).  We increasingly know the joy of unselfish devotion to others that has always been in the triune God, and now finds residence in us because He so loves us as to fill us with His very nature…

"I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
(John 17:26)
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
(Romans 5:5)

Weekly Memory Verse
    In the day of my trouble I will call upon Thee: for Thou wilt answer me.
(Psalm 86:7)

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