Thursday, September 14, 2023

Orange Moon Thursday, September 14, 2023 "HIs Devotion To Others"

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

"His Devotion To Others"


"No truth more changes and challenges our hearts than the realization of God's devotion to others.  Believers relate to One in whom a self-centered thought has never crossed His heart or mind." ."    



    Our consideration yesterday of praising God in the light and glory of His perfect unselfishness leads to further considerations of His nature and character.  

    First, while all of God's attributes exist as a perfect unity within Himself, the Bible does delineate His traits.  Love, perfection, righteousness, truth, holiness, goodness, greatness, graciousness, mercy, and countless other qualities of His character comprise the nature of God.  But what is central?  What aspect of God's being must be viewed as primary to who and what He is?  Interestingly, Scripture answers the question by referencing us, that is, the human race originally created in the image of God.

   "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.   So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He Him" (Genesis 1:26-27).

   "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30-31).

   Herein we discover the centrality of love in God by its central place in us.  He originally made humanity in His image.  He calls us to the the first and primary response of love for others, namely, God and people.  Thus, love must be primary in our Lord because He purposes it to be primary in those created in His likeness.  Certainly, this does not minimize God's other character traits.  It does mean, however, they ever flow with the current of His devotion to others - "Charity (love) seeketh not her own" declared the Apostle Paul, referencing the love of God as eternally expressed in the relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in God's actions toward His creation (I Corinthians 13:12).

   This means that when God acts righteously, He acts from love.  When He acts graciously, He acts from love.  When He acts in holiness, He acts from love.  When He acts mercifully, He acts from love.  Most intriguingly, when He acts in wrath and judgment, He acts from love.  He cannot violate His fundamental nature of unselfishness in anything He does.  "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31).   Those redeemed to eternal glory through the grace of having received the Lord Jesus will enter Heaven as beneficiaries of God's love.  Those banished to eternal condemnation through having rejected the Lord Jesus will face their fate by God acting unselfishly no less than in His grace toward the redeemed.  Certainly, the lost will not perceive or experience God's administration of judgment in terms of love, but the Lord will not violate His nature even as He administers His wrath.  The Judge of all the earth will do right, meaning He will be faithful to who He is in every administration of His purpose, guided by His character of devotion to others.  "As for God, His way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30).

    This truth constitutes a great challenge to our understanding.  We tend to project our sensibilities onto God.  This may result in perceiving Him in the terms of selfishness that characterizes much of our own experience.  We may even unintentionally perceive actions recorded in Scripture as expressions of our Lord acting in contradiction to His plainly stated character.  Thus, we  do well to open our Bibles with the remembrance and affirmation that everything God does proceeds from who He is.  "Thou art good, and doest good" (Psalm 119:68).  We may not understand how certain ways and means of the Lord proceed from an infinite and eternal otherness.  Never, however, must we perceive even the slightest trace of egotistical self-centeredness as the motivation for God's doings, including even the execution of wrath.  As the Lord Jesus said during an earthly lifetime of perfect devotion to God and others, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9).  Thus, our Heavenly Father's working, recorded in Scripture and known in our lives, must always be interpreted according to the revealed nature of His Biblically-defined unselfishness.

    "I do always those things that please Him… I lay down My life for the sheep" said the Lord Jesus, who perfectly revealed the nature of the triune God (John 8:29; 10:15).  No truth more changes and challenges our hearts than the realization of God's devotion to others.  Believers relate to One in whom a self-centered thought has never crossed His heart or mind.  Overwhelming, and a good place to close this consideration that stills the heart with wonder, and then leads us in a sublime fellowship with our Lord that confirms…

 "The love of Christ… passeth knowledge." 
(Ephesians 3:19).

Weekly Memory Verse
    And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. 
(I Corinthians 8:2).






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