Reconciliation Part 2- Love
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” ( John 13:34)
The Greek word for “love” used in this verse, and almost all verses that deal with how we are to think, feel, and behave toward one another is rooted in the same Greek word: “Agape” Of the four Greek words used to describe love, this is the only one used to describe the love of God as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13.
On the eve of Jesus’ destiny being fulfilled, He utters the words that will introduce the new covenant law that would begin at the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. It is the commandment of Love. In one declarative statement, Jesus sums up the nature of the Father and the nature we as born-again believers are meant to abide in.
All the hidden, dark, secret places of the carnal mind are exposed now before the Holy Spirit. Under the Old Covenant one simply had to obey the rules. The heart was a secondary issue.
That is because ever since the rebellion of Adam and Eve, the ability to love by the power of the Holy Spirit was not possible. True love (agape) is love that is flowing from the throne of God, and until the Holy Spirit could make His permanent home us, true love was simply not possible. This is not to say without the Holy Spirit we cannot love, but there are 2 basic kinds of love.
Carnal Love –
Carnal (natural) is earthly love that has its roots and strengths coming from the man estranged from God. It is one of the many emotions that is within a person even when one does not know Christ as Savior. This love has no power of God in it. It is of this realm.
Kingdom Love is the Love that flows from the very heart of Christ. It is the nature of God Himself and this nature now abides within us.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ( Rom 5:5)
“Poured into our hearts, through the Holy Spirit…” It is the Person of the Holy Spirit in us that makes it possible for us to love out of His nature. We draw from Him and from Him we live and flow and give of His love. Its His love we partake of.
NOTE: The Child of God has the choice to live immersed in the Love of the Holy Spirit, or to think from the carnal mind and to so love out of the carnal mind.
Anything that we do that is not in agreement with His Word is in opposition to His truth. This includes how we love.
Love is the only attribute of God that takes up an entire chapter to be expounded on. And of all the things compared to, the “God kind” of Love is paramount, trumping all other things. (1 Cor 13:13)
God’s love is perfect. There is no fear in love. If we are feeling emotions attached to love that involve fear, we need to examine if we are drawing from earthly emotions instead of the kingdom of God within us.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
When we accepted Christ as our personal atonement, the Holy Spirit came to live within us. (Eph 1:13-14, Acts 2:38, 2 Cor 1:22, 1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:16,19) The first step in being reconciled to each other is Agape. Without Agape there can be no unity.
Ever hear a christian say “Boy, I was fuming… I knew that the right thing to do was to love…so I bit my lip and walked in love toward that person.” ?
Uhhh… no, that christian didn’t walk in agape.
That christian exercised self-control and refused to give in to the carnal tendencies that were dominating their thought life at that time. Agape never entered the picture. Agape love flows. True love is the love of God. This love flows from His heart. It is His very nature itself and amongst many other things, is unconditional.
This is not a choice. This is a state of being. Experiencing and flowing in the Love of God is the result of communion and an outward expression of that intimacy. Squeeze an orange, and the juice comes out. This is how agape flows.
This bears repeating.
God’s love flows without conditions to the recipient. God’s love is never withheld, never measured out, never calculated. It does not look to the worthiness of the “candidate.” The time has come for the Body of Christ to repent of loving itself from an earthly fallen mindset and begin seeking to live out of the Kingdom. To the degree that we think and live out of the carnal mind, is the degree that we will love from that same darkened abode.
We once lived in darkness under the power of the god of this world. We now have been given the mind of Christ.
“..who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, (Col 1:13)
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Rom 8:7)
“but we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:16)
We are given a new mind. We are to love out of the heart, thoughts and power of the Spirit of God in us.
“For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members…” (Rom 7:22)
We must make a choice to either love out of our own ability and strengths, or to love from the kingdom within us… to flow in agape.
So how exactly do we flow in this love??
As with all questions, the word tells us. “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Beloved church, here is the crux of it all: To the degree we understand how loved we are, is the degree we are capable of loving each other from the Love of God, and not the carnal man that we died to.
To the degree we know how much God loves us is the degree we can pour from his throne-room within us to those around us.
If we are going to be reconciled to each other, we are going to have to be reconciled to the truth that we are deeply, passionately and with reckless abandonment, loved by our Creator. (Ummm, insert entire book of The Song of Solomon right about here for starters..)
Lets visit an oft misinterpreted and misapplied section of scripture and place it in proper context here to drive this truth home a bit.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7)
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this quoted in reference to salvation. “See, if you don’t love, you are not saved!”
No, not really actually… remember the audience of the book of 1 John is born-again believers, not the unsaved. The Holy Spirit is speaking to and teaching Children of God here.
The Lord is telling His church If we don’t love, we don’t know God. This does not mean we don’t have the Holy Spirit in us and that we are not truly born again.
Remember what Paul said?
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Phil 3:10)
The man who wrote two-thirds of the new testament is stating that he “may know him…”
We grow in our understanding of our Lord. It is a process. As our minds are transformed through the word and time spent in prayer, we grow in our revelation of who He is, and His love for us.
The church needs a revelation of the nature of God.. and His thoughts toward us (which include Him deeply loving you) to be revealed.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (John 4:10)
He initiates it all. We need a deeper understanding of this amazing passion He has for us. Meditate on this truth. Speak the word over your thoughts until they agree in your heart with what the word says. Allow yourself to be transformed…
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
Starting to come together a bit now? If we are living IN love, this means we are living IN Him. Because He is love. It really is simple.
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
We can now see these verses as they are intended, not as a legalistic death sentence, scripted to place people under fear and judgement, but rather as a litmus test for His beloved church to see in what areas we need a deeper revelation of His love.
The body must decide to obey the only commandment given. It was a commandment given just prior to the crucifixion. By the power of the Spirit, we must abide in the Father and the Son. In our time with Him, we partake of more and more of His love. From there we give to one another. We cannot give what we do not know is within us.
Step one toward the body coming together is to Love.
To do that… we must first begin to ask Him to show us just how much He loves us. I warn you though. Its a Pandora’s box. Once we begin to ask Him to reveal His love to us, He set things in motion that will embark you on a journey like no other. His love is a whirlwind, a storm, a brimstone of affection… and a whisper carried on the wind all at once. All that force is directed…at you.
“whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye.” (Zech 2:8)
If we are going to fulfill our destiny in this generation and walk in the full authority, power and love of our Lord, in unity with each other, we must first learn how loved we are. Then, from there, we can begin to love each other. No more bickering, no more division, gossip and emotional judgement of each other.. but in all things, see the will of our bridegroom through the eyes of His love for us and each other.
We need His unity… we need a revelation of His love.
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which ties everything together in unity.” (Col 3:14)
Notes: suggested supplemental word studies: agape, storge, philia and eros – these are the 4 greek words for love- (eros is not found in NT scripture though)