Monday, September 1, 2014

Graduate School Love -- Identity in Christ

When people talk about the love of God, and growing in knowledge of God's love, people tend to think that this love is about doing more.

What does the Bible say?

First, let us consider the prayer which Paul prayed to the Spirit-filled Ephesians:

"14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3: 14-19)

Even though Paul had spent the two previous chapters telling the Ephesians that God the Father seated His Son at His right hand, and that they are seated in Christ, and that all things are under their feet, he did not stop there. He told them to gain a revelation of this great love that God has for us.

That Christ would dwell, or rather be at home in their hearts.

In other words, that the would identify with Him completely.

Turning to First John, we see a growing understanding of God's love is not about what we do, but who we are in Him.

"9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4: 9)

Now, this is what love looks like. God sent His Son, that we might live through Him.

Then John defines love:

"10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 10)

John makes it very clear -- love is not define by what we do, but what Jesus has done and is doing for us.

God sent His Son:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3: 16)

Notice also that love is what Jesus is doing. A proper translation of 1 John 4: 10 would read:

"And sent His Son, the propitiation (or mercy seat) of our sins."

Jesus does not stop being our mercy seat, for He is our high priest forever:

"15And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebrews 7: 15-17)
Jesus is this High Priest, one who justifies us and intercedes for us at the right hand of God the Father (Romans 8: 31-34)
John also writes about Jesus our propitiation, or rather our mercy seat:
"1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2: 1-2)
Notice even here that John writes "He is" not "He was".
Yet even for defining love, that is not love perfected, or completed.
How does that happen in our lives, then?
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)
A more accurate translation of this passage reads:
"By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17, NASB)
Love is not perfected in what we do, but in that we identify with Jesus. Not just seeing Him as the one we live through, and more than seeing Him as the mercy seat for our sins (past, present, and future), but we identify with Him, not with ourselves.
This was Jesus' prayer before going to the Cross:
"20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. "(John 17: 20-23)
Leaving elementary school and high school and entering graduate school love, so to speak, or to be an expert on God's love, is to see that you are in Christ, and that He is before in all things:
"I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning." (1 John 2: 13)
Not our doing more, but identifying more fully in Christ -- that is growing in knowledge of God's love for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment