“Progenitor Of Love” ( 1 John 4: 9, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


The author of the first letter of John writes of love, of what love is and of its progenitor — God. “Love consists in this: not that we love God, but that He loves us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) This amazing love “was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9)

Living through Christ allows us to know the love of God, for as God the Father loves His Son, so He also loves His Son’s brothers — that is, us. We are adopted into God’s family as children, and “if children, also heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ — seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:17) “The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15) “In the same way, the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)

The Holy Spirit Himself prays for us to God the Father, reminding Him of His Son’s ultimate sacrifice, and the effectiveness of the Blood of Christ in washing away our failings, mistakes, omissions, and sins. God the Father looks at us, and sees Jesus. In the same way, we should look at one another and see our brother, Jesus Christ. We should love one another as He loves us.

Always remember, it is “not that we love God.” (1 John 4:10) The truth is that “God is love.” (1 John 4:16)

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“Not That We Love God” ( 1 John 4: 10, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

 

Think of love this way. God — as the Three Person Godhead — creates mankind despite knowing that Adam and Eve are to fall into disobedience and sin, fundamentally changing the nature of all humanity. God the Son knows that one day, He will leave His glory behind to enter time and space to become an infant, grow into a man, minister for a brief three years, then die an agonizing death on a cross. God the Father knows He will — for a time — forsake His Son as Jesus becomes sin for us. God the Holy Spirit knows that He will one day dwell in each individual Christian as coach, comforter, helper, healer, mentor, best friend.

 

Despite His foreknowledge of our ruin and His sacrifices, rather than say, “Why should I create these people?” God continues His plan to populate the earth with human beings. Because God loves us this much, “we also must love one another.” (1 John 4:11)

“Great And Mysterious Things” (Jeremiah 33: 2 – 3, NEB) by Carley Evans


God says, “If you call to Me, I will answer you, and tell you great and mysterious things which you do not understand.”

That God is a mystery is no secret. He is not like us. He Himself tells us that His thoughts are not like our thoughts; that His ways are not like our ways. He is not us; we are not Him.

Jesus comes to earth, becoming fully human while remaining fully divine. Jesus is a mystery; that God the Father “makes the leader who delivers [us] perfect through sufferings” is mysterious and incomprehensible. (Hebrews 2: 10) That sin is always punished is not surprising; that sin is punished in the body of the Son of God is bewildering.

We call to God; He does answer us. But, we do not always understand what we hear. We are often confused about heaven and hell, about salvation and damnation, about good and evil. These clear-cut opposites are mysteries to us despite our acceptance of them as truths. We trust God, then we doubt. We question, then we find answers which seem to work well with what we already know. At other times, we are like the three year old child who asks, “Why?” We want to understand, but we don’t.

Paul prays for us: “We ask God that you may receive from Him all wisdom and spiritual understanding for full insight into His will, so that your manner of life may be worthy of the Lord and entirely pleasing to Him.” (Colossians 1: 9 – 10)

“The Liar” (1 John 2: 22, NEB) by Carley Evans


“Who is the liar?” asks the writer of 1 John.

The liar is the one who denies that Jesus is God.

Who is the father of liars, of lies? Our great adversary who gave up his place in heaven to rule in hell, per Milton in PARADISE LOST is the father of lies, of liars. Satan tells the great lie to Eve and Adam, promising them they can be as gods if they disobey God. The cost of believing this lie is immeasurable.

People are deceived. People do prefer to live in darkness so the light does not show their deeds — which are deeds of the darkness, and not of the light. (John 3: 19 – 20)

Satan likes keeping people in the darkness, lest they see the light and prefer it. Hence, Satan lies about everything, keeping people in confusion as they try to figure out what is the truth. Satan’s favorite lie is the one of the anti-Christ — the one which tells the world that Jesus is a good teacher, but not the Son of God, not the expected Messiah of Israel, not the only way to paradise — that is, eternal life in the very presence of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is a good teacher, says Satan. Pay attention to him, follow his rules, believe his little parables, but do not commit your self to him, do not believe he saves you. For this belief is foolishness. Satan lies.

“God Is Kind” (Proverbs 21: 21, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Whoever pursues…kindness will find life…”

We speak of God being loving, but how many of us ever say, “God is kind?” The kind person is considerate first. Do you think of God as considerate? As Jesus is the “exact imprint of [God’s] nature,” we might be able to imagine God the Father as considerate. Jesus is certainly considerate of the crowd when He tells His disciples to “give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14: 16)

“And great crowds come to Him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at His feet, and He heals them, so that the crowd wonders, when they see the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. Then Jesus calls His disciples to Him and says, ‘I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’ ” (Matthew 15: 30 – 32)

Jesus, the Son of God, is kind. He feels compassion.

Jesus says, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him, and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” (Luke 11: 5 – 8)

Jesus tells us to pursue kindness and find life.

Jesus tells of the persistent widow who keeps coming to a judge “who neither fears God nor respects man.” (Luke 18: 2) The widow is seeking justice, and comes to the judge repeatedly. Eventually, to rid himself of her, he grants her justice. “And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? I tell you, He will give justice speedily.” (Luke 18: 8)

God, the Father, is kind. He gives us righteousness and life.

“God Is One” (Deuteronomy 6: 4 – 5, ESV) by Carley Evans


God is One. We are to “love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our might.”

God is three persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Each person of God is equal to the other; we worship God as One.

Jesus says, “I know where I come from and where I am going.” (John 8: 14) “My judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent Me.” (John 8: 16) “If you know Me, you know the Father also.” (John 8: 19)

“For God so loves the world that He gives His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16) So, “Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son.” (Hebrews 3: 6)

Jesus says, “I send [the Helper, the Holy Spirit] to you. And when He comes, He convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me, concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you see Me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16: 7 – 11)

Jesus prays, “And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory I had with You before the world existed. I manifest Your Name to the people whom You give Me out of the world. Yours they are, and You give them to Me, and they keep Your Word.” (John 17: 5 – 6)

The prophet Joel writes, “And in the last days it is, God declares, that I pour out My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters prophesy, and your young men see visions, and your old men dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I pour out My Spirit, and they prophesy. And I show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below… And it comes to pass that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord is saved.” (Acts 2: 17 – 19, 21)

“A Life Of Love” (Ephesians 5: 1 – 2, NIV) by Carley Evans


Paul calls us “to live a life of love.” We are to “be imitators of God.”

“Then Mary takes about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she pours it on Jesus’ feet and wipes His feet with her hair. And the house is filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12: 3)

Mary loves Jesus. As she shows Him her love, the fragrance of her act fills the house. Everyone is privy to the redolence of her life of love. Only Jesus’ betrayer protests.

Jesus washes Peter’s feet as well as the feet of His other disciples. “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I Am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13: 12 – 15)

Jesus calls us to “love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15: 12) He calls us to imitate God — God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. God, who loves Himself and who loves us enough to give up Himself to death, to death on a tree.

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Galatians 5: 14, ESV)