Surely we aren't expected to have to go to such an extent.
CQ May 15, 2006
Throughout the Bible we are given laws and instructions on how to live our life in favour of the Lord: things to do, things not to do. However verses like John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8 appear at the surface level to make those rules optional. According to these verses we are saved by grace and through our belief and faith in our loving God…and that’s it! No mention of any conditions or of having to do anything else after accepting the grace God gives us, having faith and believing in him. Could it be that we’re saved and that’s it. It sounds like this path is much easier then the other option of trying to keep all those rules. But what if we are saved by grace and not work? At what point do we know we have enough faith to be considered saved?
How to know God (1 John 4:8)
To believe in God and have faith in what He is going to do for us, we really need to know God’s character. After all, if we didn’t know Him, how can we trust him wholheartedly? According to 1 John 4:8, the only way to know God is to love. That doesn’t seem too difficult. It’s not like we’ll have to do any thing too hard to fulfil this simple request. Love is such a nice fluffy thing, isn’t it?
Love, love, love (1 Corinthians 13)
Love does seem to have huge importance; it’s recommended everywhere in the Bible. The Ten commandments are meant to be all about love, and we were told in an earlier text that God is not only lovable, not only in love with us, but is by definition love itself. I’ve often heard 1 Corinthians 13 read at weddings, even at my own, but at a second look - in this context - this passage is really talking about us having to love everyone, not just our partner!
If this passage were followed wholeheartedly and without fail in a marriage situation, what perfect, harmonious, joyful thing marriage would be. But even with the loves of our life, this stuff is sometimes hard! Patience? No records of wrongs? Never failing! How then can we be expected to submit ourselves to such a perfect life of Love for everyone else when it’s so dificult to keep it going in our families?
Surely we aren’t expected to have to go to such an extent and immerse every single thing we think and do as an act of love? How far do we have to go just to know God, to fulfil our faith and so salvation?
Dying for love (1 John 3:16; John 15:13)
We may have reached our practical limit in John 15:13. Yes, this sounds like a pretty costly kind of love, but not many of lay down our lives for our loved ones. But is this passage really talking about our voluntary surrender of our heartbeats and breathing? You know, come to think of it, in this context, it may be talking about our lives that consist of work, rest and play. When we are to show true love by being prepared to sacrifice our own work aspirations, our times of deserved rest, or our opportunities for recreation in our lives, love is not sounding as attractive anymore. The death of ‘our lives’ for our brothers, in the name of love, and living in love for others by donating our time to them and their needs, surely that must be the fullest extent of our love to others. How much more can we give than laying down of our life’s agenda?
Suffering for love (Isaiah 53:3)
Surely we can’t be expected to suffer, like Jesus, for our love. How can we reply to others with actions of love even when they despise us, reject us, subject us to suffering and ignore our genuine efforts of love with slap in the face?
How can it be possible to love those who despise you, reject you and make you suffer? That’s just not human!
Content with love (Philippians 4:11-13)
With God’s strength we can live a life of love for others, though at our own expense of giving up our own time and comforts and possibly subjecting ourselves to persecution. We can learn to live in love for others even though it appears to deify normal human desires. How can God give us this strength? How does He share His love through us to make us capable of such things?
Love delivered (Romans 5:5)
The Holy Spirit does it - the same Holy Spirit that has led you to read this lesson and led me to write the words on this page. With the Holy Spirit’s presence in us, we shall be able to love anyone. And with that love produced will come “joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22,23)
If we accept God’s gift of salvation and come to know God through loving others, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is love, will be seen in us.
1. If someone claims to be a soccer goal keeper, how would you know for sure if they were?
2. How could you tell if someone were a Christian as they claimed?
3. Are there any circumstances where Love is not an appropriate action/reaction?