How does God show His love of us? He sends His only Son to earth as a baby, allows two flawed humans to raise Him, sends Him into the wilderness to contend with our adversary, asks Him to travel — preaching and healing — for three years; then commands Him to sacrifice Himself to a terrible, slow death and to the darkness of separation from His own glory.
“In this the love of God is made manifest among us, that God sends His only Son into the world, so that we may live through Him.” (1 John 4: 9)
We live through Jesus. Make no mistake, we do not live through our own power. Our lives are powerful only through the finished work of Jesus the Christ.
Do you know that we need the strength of the Holy Spirit Himself “to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” As we are “strengthened with power through His Spirit in [our] inner beings,” (Ephesians 3: 16) we are then “filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3: 19)
We become new creations through Christ’s sacrificial death and through the power of the Holy Spirit with whom we are sealed. Simply put, the seal of the Holy Spirit is akin to indelible ink, an ink which appears from the inside out.
The Holy Spirit is a fire within our hearts, an unquenchable fire who marks everything we are — what we think, what we say, what we do. The Holy Spirit “roots and grounds us in love” and makes it possible for “Christ [to] dwell in [our] hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3: 17)
Do you know that without the powerful seal of the Holy Spirit, we are lost? He keeps us steadfast, directing our hearts toward God the Father through Jesus Christ, the Son. Without Him, we do not choose to follow Christ’s way; instead, we chomp at the bit the way a stubborn horse might.
Without the Holy Spirit, we are incapable of knowing that which surpasses knowledge — we can not know God nor the depth of His love of us. Be grateful for God, the Holy Spirit — He seals us for the day of our redemption.
Righteousness pursued “as if it is based on works” does not result in the attainment of that righteousness, says Paul.
A zeal for God is not enough. The cornerstone, who is Jesus Christ, makes those who seek God under their own power, stumble.
“For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they do not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10: 3 – 4)
We do not bring Jesus down nor do we rise up to Him; instead His “Word is near [us], in [our] mouths and in [our] hearts.” (Romans 10: 8)
Our righteousness is based on faith alone.
Our salvation depends not on our will or our exertion, but on God’s willingness to be merciful. If God is not willing to provide us with His mercy, then we are already condemned by our sinful nature, which we recognize as “the fall.”
Without God’s powerful calling, we do not respond to Christ’s sacrifice; rather we run in the opposite direction.
God, the Holy Spirit draws us to Himself. He empowers us with ability to see our sins and to know we need Jesus’ sacrificial death and powerful resurrection so that we might live new lives in God’s grace.
John writes that we “are born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 13)
And the author of Hebrews reminds us that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11: 6)
From whence comes the faith which is required to please God? This faith is a gift which does not come from our parents, nor our friends, nor certainly from our adversary; rather our faith is a gift from God Himself. He gives us this precious faith to believe Him, to know that He exists and to
choose to follow Him.
For our part, we live in gratitude.
The author of 1 John says that God’s “love is perfected in us.”
God is perfect; His love is perfect — lacking in nothing. How is it that His love is perfected in us?
Jesus says to His disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15: 13 – 14)
Jesus dies not to remain on the cross or in the grave; instead Jesus is raised to live both in us and at the right hand of God the Father, where He intercedes for us. His love is expressed to us from heaven, but it is also expressed through us as we love one another on earth. In this sense, God’s love is perfected in us.
Paul says that no one dies for an enemy, and that hardly anyone dies even for a friend; but Jesus does both — He dies for His friends even when we are still enemies. (Romans 5: 6 – 8)
What is Jesus’ command? He commands us to love one another as He loves us.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we conclude this: that one dies for all, therefore all die; and He dies for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake dies and is raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh…Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is passed away; behold, the new is come.” (2 Corinthians 5: 14 – 17)