Thursday, November 3, 2016

Experiencing God's love… By faith or action?

We can only bring God's infinite love to others to the extent we have received it ourselves.

Why do we need to receive it before we can give it? Because in and of ourselves we do not have the *love others need. We cut ourselves off from the Father in all his infinite love by our rebellious distrust (our turning away from trust in God to trust in our self) and our attempts at living independent of love and life i.e. God himself. We are now void of his love outside of being reconnected to God through Christ.

Receiving God 's love

Receiving his love is not necessarily a feeling or emotional experience but a faith experience; the engaging of our trust. It is believing in the objective reality of God's fixed love for us in Christ. This is what we are called to do; to trust/believe. This is our "work." 

Joh 6:29  Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

Receiving Gods love is believing, receiving and knowing we are already fully loved in Christ, not waiting for some subjective feeling of his love to overwhelm us and drive us to action.

Love (a subjective sense of it) however is also usually experienced and released in and through our loving others. Loving others as God calls us to is itself an act of faith.

This is why were are told we not only come into the kingdom by faith but we also live it and walk in it by faith.

Gal 3:11  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." See also Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Heb 10:38

It is in our treating others with kindness and compassion (because we have been treated this way by God) that we experience His love by living it out and letting it flow through us to others.

What moves us to action?

Faith is our motivation. Or rather God himself and his infinite love is. As we believe and receive his love as fully ours (he is for us, not against us) it is released in and through us. This is the primary means (our faithful obedience to love others as he loves us) by which we receive/experience his vast unlimited, never ending love and by believing his love is fully ours in Christ, we are moved to action/obedience.

This is also what it means to abide in Christ. To **remain/stay/abide in a posture of faith that God loves us fully and infinitely in Christ regardless of what we do or don't do, feel or don't feel, experience or don't experience. It is only as and when we **abide that we bear "much fruit." For without Christ (in his infinite all embracing love) we can "do nothing" i.e. love with God's kind of love i.e. bear much fruit.

This is the very same love that flows between the Father and Son. This love is fully ours who are in Christ and already dwells in us by his Spirit. The very same Spirit of love that units and flows between the Father and Son. Simply by virtue of God's Spirit living in us we are living in and under the perfect covering and care of his love, irregardless of our feelings i.e. this is the objective reality of our status, our state of being. 

The more we believe his love is totally ours (always fully present with us, in us and on us regardless of feelings or circumstances) the more we are empowered to live it out to others. The more we live out his love to others the more we engage, participate in and experience it.

Joh 14:21  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (This vs is part of the answer of Christ to Phillip to "show us the Father" stated earlier in Joh 14:8  Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.")

The (subjective) manifestation of God's (objective) love is clearly tied to our pursuit of God (keeping his commandments). 

Seeing the Father (and subjectively experiencing him fully) is directly tied to keeping God's commandment. The primary commandment being "love one another" stated later in this same conversation. 

Joh 15:12  "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 

So which is first? Do we experience his love by faith or in our acting by faith?

Both

His love has already been fully poured out on us and demonstrated to us by God sending his Son to live and die for us. This is the objective reality of our status before God. There is nothing else needed to fully prove God's love for us. The only thing preventing this love being ours (experiencing it) first hand is believing God and his Son did this for you and I personally and than acting accordingly. Once we recognize and accept Christ's work on our behalf, his Spirit of infinite love takes up his abode within us and his care for us, remains on us (objectively) without condition.

However once we are in Christ, we are now called to extent this same love to others who have yet to receive it. In our extending it, it flows to us and through us to others.

Joh 14:21  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home (dwell with, abide with, be present) with him.
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*we all need Gods bottomless, never-ending, infinite love; mere human love is insufficient.

**For a fuller discussion on abiding, click here


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Grace to you
Jim Deal