What is the ultimate expression of the faith and beliefs of a Christian? Is it good works? Is it giving a helping hand when needed? Is it showing our faith is real through the things we do, our behaviours and where we stand when the going gets tough?
Well, all of these things do have a bearing on our Christian life and the walk that we are on with Jesus Christ. All of them are certainly important. But there is a foundation upon which all of these plus many other aspects of the Christian life stand.
That foundation is love. Not love as it is expressed in this world, but the love of God and living a life that reflects His love for us in all we do and say.
God Is Love
Needless to say it is impossible to live a life in Christ unless we express it through the love of God.
The scriptures tell us that God is love and that being true means that He cannot do anything but give His love and show His love to us who are His children.
The opportunity we have to be set free from sin, death and all of the wickedness in this earthly life exists only because God loves us. His grace is nothing more than an expression of His love for anyone who will seek Him out and come to Him to receive His salvation offered through Jesus Christ.
His love also is not like the depictions of love in this world. It is not the soppy mush portrayed in movies and books. It is unique for His love is unlike anything on this earth.
The love of God did not require us to love Him first. He shows that while man was still His enemy He gave man a chance. While man is still a sinner, torn apart by the wretchedness of human passions, emotions and lusts, God offered His grace, and through it His love so that we may be saved.
Furthermore, there is nothing that we can offer in return except ourselves. The Lord Jesus made the point that when He gives us anything it is not as people of the world give. People give to others expecting something in return. But the love of God gives expecting nothing in return for who has anything or can offer anything that would repay God for what He has given to us.
Debt of Love
To that end then we are being trained to love as Christ loved us. We see these sentiments expressed in these verses in Romans 13 saying,
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
Do not be indebted to anyone except to love them as God and Jesus Christ first loved us. That is the sum of all we are called to. We are called to love.
We know that when Jesus died He took away our sins. And at the same time He also set us free from the law and ordinances of the old covenant as He issued in the New Covenant age.
But we see in the law the expressions of God's love. The commandments we see above are just a few of the Ten Commandments and as each of these ones as well as most of the rest relate to how we treat the people around us, they are by nature expressions of love.
The great commandment in the law was to love one another just as God loves us.
But now that we are free from law, we are freed from this law also. However, we do not reject what the law tells us. Rather we are at greater pains to uphold the truth of the law and the love of the law because it is the nature of God. We may not be bound under law to love, but we are convinced and convicted by the Holy Spirit to live a life of love for it is the Holy Spirit's role to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.
So when we are living in the love of God as this scripture informs us, we do not seek to upset, offend or wrong anyone. Instead we seek to help, conciliate, overcome conflicts and seek the peace of God to work in all situations.
This is our call. We are called to be children of God. And to be a child of God is to be a child of love, exhibiting the love of God in us through all that we do and say.
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