Posts Tagged ‘the love of God’

Love: the fulfillment of the law

February 21, 2018

Romans 13--9-10

In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day and beyond, the over-riding theme for the Verse of the Day for Biblegateway.com has been “the love of God.” We note the Verse of the Day for February 21, 2018 turns out to be “another verse from that same love song” found in Romans 13:9-10 (NIV):

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

In reflecting on this passage from Romans 13, we also recognize “The first and great commandment: To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Believers are further instructed to “love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love God, first of all, and then love others to the same degree that we love ourselves, we fulfill the law of love which is the highest expression of God, who is love.

An earlier blog post on this ongoing theme directed our attention to the preceding verse of today’s Verse of the Day. The Amplified Bible offers a sure-fire strategy to “get out of debt” with this exhortation which is a restatement of Romans 13:8:

Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements].

This verse also provided the introduction to this poem which was has been revised and reposted from that earlier entry discussing the love of God:

This Debt of Love

Owe no one anything except to love one another,

for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8[NKJV]

 

What can we give when all we have is not enough

And when we have exhausted all our resources

And we still come up short as we assess the worth

Of the precious love given to us so freely?

When the last dram of oil from our vial has been poured

As a sacrifice and we have no more to give

But still feel this unction to offer even more.

What more can we say beyond a feeble thank you

When words cannot convey all we desire to say?

Though we try to show Him as we follow His ways,

We still stumble from time to time and miss the mark,

But He looks beyond our faults and sees our intent.

As we live your lives to serve, we will come to see

This debt of love so great we can never repay.

Lamar Campbell and Praise express the essence of the message in song with “This Debt of Love I Owe.”

The love of God prevails every day

February 15, 2018

On the day after Valentine’s Day, love still prevails, as the Verse of the Day for February 15, 2018 continues to focus on love:

1 John 4:10 (NIV):

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

With love, as with any other emotion, there must be a demonstration or manifestation whereby one knows the reality of the emotion in question. We speak of the love of God in manifestation which is so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Indeed, all love is giving. The essence of love as defined by giving is also seen in this poem by John Oxenham:

Love ever lives, outlives, forgives,
And while it stands with open hands it lives.
For this is love’s prerogative:
To give and give and give

As believers, once we recognize the absolute depth of love expressed in the atoning sacrifice of God’s only begotten son, we realize just how much we are indebted to our gracious Heavenly Father:

This Debt of Love

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:8[NKJV]

What can you give when all you have is not enough
And when you have exhausted all your resources
And you still come up short as you assess the worth
Of the precious love so freely given to you?
When the last dram of oil from your vial has been poured
As a sacrifice and you have no more to givek
But still feel this unction to offer all the more,
What more can you say beyond a feeble thank you
When words cannot convey all you desire to say.
Though you try to show Him as you follow His ways,
You still stumble from time to time and miss the mark,
But He looks beyond your faults and sees your intent.
As you live your life to serve, you will come to see
This debt of love so great that no one can repay.

We close with a scripture video of 1 John 4:7-16 to remind us again of the love of God:

The love of God endures

February 12, 2018

1 Corinthians 13--4-7

From a previous blog post comes the Verse of the Day for February 12, 2018 where we find two more verses from 1 Corinthians 13 further describing “charity” in the King James Version or agape or the love of God:

1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 (NIV):

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Here are two variations of these verses from two other Bibles:

New Living Translation:

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Amplified Bible:

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

As I thought about these verses from 1 Corinthians 13, a passage from Romans 8 (my favorite chapter in the whole Bible) also came to mind, relating to the constancy of the love of God which never fails. No matter the circumstances of our lives, whether on the pinnacles of success and dreams come true or in the pits of disappointment and failure, we are assured that God loves us and that His love endures. I recall a statement from the late Dr. Adrian Rodgers, “God cannot love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less.” The chapter concludes with this assuring reminder expressed in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The vastness of God’s love is revealed in the song “The Love of God,” rendered so powerfully, yet poignantly, by “Mercy Me,” an appropriate way to conclude today’s blog entry.

God’s love: it is what it is (not)

February 11, 2018

1-Corinthians-13-4-5_web

With its emphasis on the love of God, the Verse of the Day for February 11, 2018 continues with the unfolding of 1 Corinthians 13 and its quintessential definition of love, as we move even closer toward Valentine’s Day. The next section from verses 4-5 illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV):

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Here the Word of God continues to answer in detail “What is love?” What unfolds is an extended  definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

And so the definition of the love of God continues to unfold. “Foreigner,” the British-American rock band released the pop-hit of the 1980s featuring the New Jersey Mass Choir with lyrics that expresses this desire: “I wanna know what love is.” To truly know what love is, we must know who God is, for God is love. First Corinthians 13 provides this magnificent definition of the love of God.

As we seek an even greater understanding of agape, the highest expression of love, we must remember there is no fear in love. When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of any “self-imposed prison,” from which Christ came to set the captives free. As believers, we must never forget:

There is no fear in love

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,

because fear involves torment. But he who fears

has not been made perfect in love.

I John 4:18

 

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you

 from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

Rick Warren

 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear

And abounds to transform any adverse atmosphere.

We are perfected and made whole when we walk in love,

A true love that we live and not one we just speak of.

Such love is pure and never repels but draws us near.

 

This balm of love heals all wounds, no matter how severe

With words of compassion each soul on earth longs to hear;

A true love that we live and not one we just speak of.

There is no fear in love.

 

We follow in Christ’s steps, knowing our mandate is clear.

Assured of triumph, there is never a need to fear.

We press toward the mark, the prize we seek to lay hold of

To ascend in victory on wings of a gentle dove.

We walk forth as bold pioneers on a love frontier:

There is no fear in love.

We close our discussion of God’s love with this reminder: “Love Never Fails” by Jim Brickman and Amy Sky:

If I have not love

February 10, 2018

1 Corinthians 13--1-3 New

Following closely on the heels of yesterday’s Verse of the Day focusing on “Increasing Faith” and “Abounding Love,” the passage that we will examine on February 10, 2018 directs our attention toward love, a concept we will hear repeatedly in the coming days. Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV):

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Moving into the second week in February, our thoughts turn toward February 14, Valentine’s Day, a time that is set apart to celebrate love. We must recognize, however, the various forms of love, including the love of God or agape, the highest form of love. It differs from eros or passion or sensuous love of the flesh and is even beyond philos­ or love of friends or family. The root of philos is found in the designation of Philadelphia, which is known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” There is a love which is “more intimate than friend, or kin or wife;” this close-knit love is known as agape. This particular term used exclusively in the New Testament, reveals the uniqueness of God’s love

The passage offers a series of conditional phrases beginning with “If I. . .” If I performed a number of actions, followed by the results if “I” performed them outside of love, then “I” would be only so much noise or “I” would be nothing or “I” would have gained nothing. Love would not be impacted by those actions, but the individual who performed them would not fully benefit or profit from those acts if that individual chose “not to love others.”

I Corinthians 13:1-3 is also the ultimate illustration of going from articulation to manifestation. Verses 1 and 2 clearly relate to speaking or using words to express oneself, but agape or “the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation” must be present. In other words, there must be a corresponding demonstration or tangible expression of the words that are articulated. Verse 3 provides actions demonstrating the expression of love; however, the underlying motive must generated by love or else the actions are not profitable to the individual who, in reality, “gains nothing” outside of God’s love.

During this week we will have ample opportunity to think about the love of God, as we approach Valentine’s Day, but as we follow the Scripture’s encouragement, we are to walk in love every day, not just on February 14.

I Corinthians 13 is often recited at weddings, as we see so beautifully presented in 1 Corinthians 13 – The Wedding Song – Love Never Fails by Bernie Armstrong.

Just how much God loves us

February 10, 2017

1 Corinthians 13--1-3

The New Year continues to unfold, and our thoughts turn toward “love” as the 14th of February approaches. Not just on Valentine’s Day but every day, we should seek to soar to the heights of a love supreme, the love of God or agape, the highest form of love. This love differs from eros or passion or sensuous love of the flesh and is even beyond philos­ or love of friends or family. The root of philos is found in the designation of Philadelphia, which is known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” On the other hand, agape, a term that is used exclusively in the New Testament, reveals the uniqueness of God’s love which is so clearly defined in I Corinthians 13, a passage of scripture that is often excerpted or quoted in its entirety at weddings. The Verse of the Day for February 10, 2017 is the opening section of this celebrated expression of God’s love:

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

The Greatest Gift] Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

This passage makes reference to magnanimous spiritual accomplishments or “great spiritual exploits” related to the ability to speak  in tongues, whether a language spoken on earth or the heavenly language of angels or being able to prophesy and demonstrate a depth of spiritual understanding or being able to live a life of self-sacrifice to the ultimate degree. No matter how impressive these endeavors may be, they ultimately do not benefit the individual who performs them if that person’s underlying motivation is not love.

With love, as with any other emotion, there must be a demonstration or manifestation whereby one knows the reality of the emotion in question. Believers speak of the love of God in manifestation which is so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Indeed, all love is giving. The essence of love as defined by giving is also seen in these words from John Oxenham:

Love ever lives, outlives, forgives,

And while it stands with open hands it lives.

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give

The book of I John also elaborates on the love of God:

1 John 3:16

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.

The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or brought to maturity in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. This demonstration reveals the depth of love that God has for us. May we always remember:

“. . .  Just how much God loves us.”

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].

1 John 4:10

Father, expand our mind and widen our comprehension

To recognize your ways to an even greater dimension.

As we call upon your name and bow in humility,

Deepen our understanding, as you give us eyes to see.

Enlighten our souls with the wisdom that comes from above.

You call us your beloved, worthy of your endless love.

When we are tempted, knowing that you love us dispels all fear.

As we seek to please you, open our ears that we might hear

Your word and endeavor to hide it deep within our heart.

Despite past failures, misdeeds, and shortcomings on our part,

Your love is constant and never changes but ever grows,

Unfolding in matchless beauty as a dew-kissed rose.

You say do not love worldly things or pleasures they may bring.

You show us God’s love is to be prized more than anything.

Listen to these heart-strengthening lyrics of “The Love of God” offered by Mercy Me:

God’s unfailing love

September 2, 2015

Psalm-119-64The Verse of the Day for September 2, 2015 speaks of the love of God that never fails:

Psalm 119:64 (NLT):

O Lord, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.

The Power of God’s love is profoundly expressed as a verb in the following poem:

 

To Love

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies,

they will fail; whether there are tongues,

they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

1 Corinthians 13:8 (New King James)

Above all else, nothing is greater than to love.

Beyond all limits, nothing is better

than love.

When it comes down to the salient points of life,

Nothing is free. Everything has it price

but love.

No one can make you do what you don’t want to do.

Each day you decide if you are going

to love.

Searching for the right words and the right melody:

Ballads, show tunes, doo-wops, and blues–all songs

of love.

Been round the world from pole to pole and back again,

Looking here and there and everywhere for

true love.

Find it, mine it, and then define it, if you will.

If you seek it, you will find it, for God

is love.

Although we may graduate, learning never stops.

It is only by loving that we learn

to love.

“Dear ones, keep on and you will lose your mind for sure.”

To put on the mind of Christ is to put

on love.

Ultra refined, untainted, in its highest form:

Strip away all pride and you have

pure love.

Beyond display, far more than merely show and tell,

With every decree from God’s Word we see

God’s love.

This constant, ever-enduring quality of God’s love is described in Romans 8 which relates the constancy of the love of God which never fails. No matter the circumstances of our lives, whether on the pinnacles of success and dreams come true or in the pits of disappointment and failure, we are assured that God loves us. I often recall a statement from the late Dr. Adrian Rodgers, “God cannot love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less.” The chapter concludes with this assuring reminder expressed in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The vastness of God’s love is revealed in the song “The Love of God,” rendered so powerfully, yet poignantly, by “Mercy Me,” an appropriate way to conclude this blog entry.

Grace,love, and fellowship: A three-fold cord

September 21, 2014

2-Corinthians-13-14

The Verse of the Day for September 21, 2014 can be seen as a benediction to close out the second epistle to the Corinthians, rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all

This verse was also the inspiration for:

Grace, Love, and Fellowship: A Three-fold Cord

                                      

Blest be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds

Is like to that above.

Dr. John Fawcett

 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14 (New Living Translation)

 

Grace, love, and fellowship bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

These three traits never diminish but only increase.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Grace: a priceless gift that no one on earth can afford.

God’s great grace abounds toward us and shall never decrease.

Grace, mercy, and fellowship bind our hearts as three-fold cord.

 

That the love of God never fails cannot be ignored.

Spanning from age to age the same, this love shall never cease.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Fellowship with God abounds when we live in one accord.

All those who are bound the Word of the Lord will release.

Grace, love, and fellowship bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

 

All who seemed forsaken, God, our Father, has restored.

We commune with God and find that in His will is our peace.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Boundless love and favor are waiting to be explored,

For we are so designed to shine as God’s masterpiece.

Grace, love, and fellowship bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.                

 

Here are three songs that express the essence of these three spiritual qualities:

Grace:

A song with a simple title is “Grace,” written and performed by Michael W. Smith

Love:

The Love of God, as performed by Mercy Me, is among the most recognized songs describing God’s love:

Fellowship:

The contemporary Christian group A cappella describes “Sweet Fellowship” in song:

Love one another . . . one more time

February 26, 2014

1 John 4 9-10The Verse of the Day for February 26, 2014 reminds us that love must be demonstrated, as 1 John 4:9 relates to the love of God:

In 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.

How do you know that someone loves you? Listen to what the individual says and watch what that person does. There must be a demonstration of love, first of all with God, and secondly with others. God didn’t just say, “I love you, world” and blow the earth a kiss, He communicated His love when He so loved that He gave His only begotten son.

1 John 4 goes on to discuss the love of God in more detail, exhorting believers, likewise to show their love to one another:

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In 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.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

This time Steve Green offers yet another reminder to love one another:

The love of God always endures

February 12, 2014

1-corinthians-13-4-7In the Verse of the Day for February 12, 2014, we find two more verses from 1 Corinthians 13 further describing “charity” in the King James Version or agape or the love of God:

1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 KJV:

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Here are two variations of these verses from two other Bibles:

New Living Translation:

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Amplified Bible:

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

As I thought about these verses from 1 Corinthians 13, a passage from Romans 8 (my favorite chapter in the whole Bible) also came to mind, relating to the constancy of the love of God which never fails. No matter the circumstances of our lives, whether on the pinnacles of success and dreams come true or in the pits of disappointment and failure, we are assured that God loves us and that His love endures. I recall a statement from the late Dr. Adrian Rodgers, “God cannot love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less.” The chapter concludes with this assuring reminder expressed in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The vastness of God’s love is revealed in the song “The Love of God,” rendered so powerfully, yet poignantly, by “Mercy Me,” an appropriate way to conclude this blog entry.