by Ian Harrison
Love (Part 3)
(Editorial note - see the comment in the editorial of this issue)
Let's dig up some treasures of why God loves us. We will get a glimpse into his extravagant generosity by the gifts he dispatches for free. We will discover why he faithfully holds onto us. Then we will see that he has a reason for teaching us about himself, showing us his will in giving us a sense of purpose, direction and hope.
Firstly we discover that we are much loved. John 3:16 says ( "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whomsoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." ) Now we get a bit of a glimpse into God's heart for us. In 2 Peter 3:8,9 it says ( But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years one day." ) then ("The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. ) He does not want anyone to perish but he gave us free will so that we could make a choice for ourselves. We have minds of our own and he expects us to use it. We are now discovering that God has immeasurably more patience than we could possibly fathom or hope for, after all he is God and not man. You see he is not bound by time and space barriers like we are because he created it. With this in mind he expects us to use what we have been given wisely. To use our time, tithe, talents and gifts out of an attitude of service in order to build people up. This is why it is imperative that we take seriously his promises to us by claiming them and believing them. His promises reflect the goodness and righteousness of his character and this is where his abundant treasures for us lie. In Matthew 7:7 it says ( "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." ) He promises us that anything that we ask in his name, if it's according to the frameworks of his character he will give it. So we are only given what he thinks is best for us at that point in time.
Secondly God gives to each of us gifts according to the plans he has had set aside for us to accomplish when the're needed. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 we read ( "There are a diversity of gifts and activities as well as different ministries. The Holy Spirit reveals these gifts to each of us for the building up of everyone." ) we read in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 that (" One is given the word of wisdom, another the word of knowledge, another faith, another the ability to heal, another the ability to work miracles, to another prophecy is spoken, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same spirit works all these things, distributing to each individual as he wills." ) The emphasis on these gifts are their source not the person giving them.
Now the elements of love given through words of wisdom and knowledge are the spirit's insights into what needs to be heard from him at that point in time. You see from knowledge comes wisdom which is the mind of Christ. Now from his wisdom we gain understanding. With this heavenly wisdom he is giving us the capacity to avoid the opportunity to sin. The enormity of the capacity we have to indulge in this harmful activity is beyond our ability to comprehend especially the multiplicity of them. In contrast also the inexhaustible wisdom of his righteousness is at work with us. If God were to hand us over to our own devices we would not be able to cope. So he loves us so much that his son would be provided to protect us from ourselves, this is what God wants to do for us. This is just a fraction of his service to us, he never stops providing. God uses the depth of his experience to nurture us as children just as our earthly parents do. The child depends on the depth of that experience until they feel secure and confident enough within themselves to become their own person. With the gift of faith we can trust in the unseen power of God as he manages to keep the visible and invisible things of his creation going. The gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues and their interpretation all show us other ways we can serve each other. Tongues need to only be appropriate either at church or in private. The other gifts can be useful in any contexts.
Thirdly God's faithfulness is so strong because he wants an intimate relationship with us on our terms. In Romans 8:35 says ( "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" ) This is a rhetorical question because the answer is "nothing". Then we will want to relate to him on his terms. Because faith is even a gift then what about trusting in the faith that he has for us?
Fourthly he yearns for us to get to know him. The closer we grow into him the more we see our desperate need of him. In 2 Timothy 2:13 we read ( "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." ) It is not within the framework of his character to break a promise. He cannot disown who he is, the faithful and true God.
The abundant treasures that we are given surely give us a glimpse into God's immense love for us. He will not let us go and that is a promise from him. To whom much is given much is expected so we are expected to use what we know.
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