Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Love that Surpasses Knowledge

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Eph 3

       The great mystery of the cross is that He bestows on us AGAPE. He bestows His love freely. No longer is His holiness which consists of the loving glory concealed as with the veil that parted the Holy and Most Holy Place in His Temple and Dwelling Place. He has done a new work in our hearts, a circumcision, that is a destruction, of it entirely. It is not as though He had to remove some parts of our hearts which were filled with hatred and preserve the more noble parts. Rather, our entire hearts were filled with hated.

     This hatred in our hearts from birth is the root cause of our inability to keep His Law, which is summed up in the commandment to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We could not keep His law because we could not love Him. We could not worship Him alone, honor His Name, restrain ourselves from idolatry, and honor the Sabbath day because we did not love Him. We could not honor our fathers and mothers, avoid murder, adultery,  theft, bearing false witness against our neighbors, and coveting because we did not love the people whom He had created for His glory. We did not know that the very people whom we despised and cursed in our hearts and actions were made in the image of God. We did not know that it holds true for all the Spiritual children of God that to him who curses one of them, he will be cursed, and to him who blesses one of them and gives a cup of water to a little one in His Name, that man shall surely be rewarded and blessed. 

     In our own hearts we set ourselves above others. To our own selves, our malicious ways seemed right and just. We inwardly defended our hatred towards others and justified that very thing that had murdered our souls if not for His grace. 

All a man’s ways seem right to him, 
   but the LORD weighs the heart.Prov 21:2

     We looked for justice to be administered to our own selfish causes and scorned those who would threaten to undo us. And yet we refused to show justice, but rather oppressed the poor and demanded bribes from those who could not pay .

1 Woe to those who make unjust laws, 
   to those who issue oppressive decrees, 
2 to deprive the poor of their rights 
   and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey 
   and robbing the fatherless. 
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning, 
   when disaster comes from afar? 
To whom will you run for help? 
   Where will you leave your riches?Is 10

     We were altogether incapable of bearing even a whisper of His Agape on our own. All of the love that we thought that we had apart from what was imparted and imputed to us from Him and all of the love that appears to be true which comes out from those who reject Him and those who do not know Him brought forth only death and destruction. For the love that comes from within a man can only reflect the righteousness of that man. And if he knew only evil from birth, his most noble love is wrought with evil. 

     We consider the mother's intense protective love for her child, that very God-given instinct, and we see its degradation in the face of abortion (please see 180 movie free online; 33 minutes), in the motivational foundation for embryonic stem cell research, and in the incidence portraying the wisdom of Solomon with the two mothers with one living and one dead baby (I Kings 3). The motherly love of the unbeliever, regardless of how noble and tender it is portrayed to the world, can bring forth no true fruit. Even the love between a husband and wife who know not the Father is not selfless. It cannot forgive. It cannot bear up when God strikes with calamity. In an instant the strong tower of human love will fall down before the eyes of the world. 

16 When I tried to understand all this,
   it was oppressive to me
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
   then I understood their final destiny.
 18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
   you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
   completely swept away by terrors!
20 As a dream when one awakes,
   so when you arise, O Lord,
   you will despise them as fantasies.Ps 73

     He calls to us to leave behind everything. We cannot love. We cannot forgive. We need His righteousness. He need our Father to circumcise completely the hearts we once had. We need for Him to give us the new heart that fears Him and never turns away from Him. We who have been regenerated need to know His love. And only when we know It, we will be different from the unmerciful servant who demanded the trifling amount owed to him by another when he himself had been redeemed of a priceless debt. 

     Many of us have come to know that we are unable to love apart from him. A common way for this to happen is for someone to wrong us in some way and we find that the love we used to have for them is no longer in our hearts. And we have realized that the response of our hearts to another who wrongs us reflects whether His true love had been the foundation of our prior love for them or whether we simply had a fallen carnal earthly love. 

     Is not our human love self-seeking? We delight in the company of the other and we are glad by the human happiness that is brought to us through them. It may even be that we feel benevolent to love another for it satisfies the hidden pride of our heart. It may be that we seek to love in human ways to satisfy the gnawing appetite of the ever-guilty conscience. Whatever is that self-related reason, our love apart from Him is dying and passing. It is here today and gone tomorrow. It cannot save. It cannot justify. All of our righteousness was surely as filthy rags. 

We consider the differences between Agape and human love. Here are some differences:

1. Agape is unconditional. It does not depend on the return of love from the subject or the progress or status of the subject. Human love is conditional. It depends on earthly characteristics such as the presence of human emotion, success, money, beauty, talent, personality, and many other things.

2. Agape brings glory to God. It points the audience to the glory and splendor of God. When the world sees It they are drawn to Jesus Christ, who is among them a fragrance that brings Life or an aroma of death. Agape never brings praise to the human nature, but rather to the Giver of righteousness, to the One who leads captives in His train and Gives gifts to men. For this reason, the Christians are known by their love. GOD IN THEM IS REVEALED THROUGH THEIR LOVE.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.Matt 5:16

     And yet the human love does not point to God however pleasant it appears. The world sees human love and may appreciate it for it moral similitude and its tender appearance, yet it points the dying souls of the world to none other but that dying soul who had produced his dying human love. 

3. Agape is able to forgive. It is able to bless when It is cursed. It is able to go two miles with the one who asks It to go One mile. It is able to overlook an offense. It is able to say, "Father forgive them for they know not what to do". It is never irritated or angered...not even in the core of the mind and heart. Human love is unable to forgive even in spite of severe attempts. When love is not returned or when one's own ambition is threatened, the purest seeming love may turn to the vilest hatred. Human love does not forgive because its holder has not been forgiven. It is true that only those who forgive are able to enter the Kingdom of heaven...only those who have been changed by His Agape. 

 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6: 37

4. Agape is selfless. It does not seek Its own selfish gain. When the reward of human love is denied, that human love will falter. When the return of love from the beloved, the gratefulness of the beloved, or the characteristics of the beloved are removed, the human lover is no longer a lover.

5. Agape love is delivered for the Spiritual Eternal benefit of the beloved. We must linger on this for a while. The love of the believer for the other believers seeks their Spiritual and eternal good rather than to satisfy the momentary pleasures of the flesh. Agape seeks for the believer to be rooted and established in love so that the beloved will approach the throne of grace with confidence and be assured of their standing before God (I John). Agape seeks for the believer to be conformed to the image of the Savior Jesus Christ for this is the true and good outcome meant for all believers and will result in the glorification of the beloved in Christ. That believer will be hidden in Christ and when Christ who is the Life of that believer, he too will appear with Christ in glory. Agape seeks for the steadfast joy of the believer. The believer should have the joy which will endure in them throughout trials and temptations. Agape seeks to strengthen the believer in the faith and to arm the believer with the Armor of God that the believer may resist the wiles of the devil. Agape seeks for the peace of the believer, not necessarily for the removal of an earthly trial of circumstance, but that the believer might be Spiritual ready and protected by the One who repairs broken walls. Agape seeks for the salvation of the believer, even if it means that the believer goes through times of Godly sorrow and anguish. Agape seeks to cause the believer to drink from the Living Water and to eat from the Bread of Life. Agape says to the believer, "MAY ALL YOUR FOUNTAINS BE IN HIM, DEAR ONE!" and "MAY YOU FIND IN HIM THE LIGHT OF LIFE!"

     Indeed, in order to love in this Godly way, one must have wisdom, knowledge, and discernment: the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the believer. An ignorant believer would not know what is of eternal benefit to the beloved and what is of carnal benefit. 

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.Phil 1

     Human love strives to satisfy the momentary fleshly pleasures of the subject. It seeks to give that carnal thing which fades away and can never satisfy the soul. It feeds into the carnal malice and hatred that the subject pours out in the form of gossip. It even encourages the subjects worship of self. It denies the conviction of sin and seeks to let the subject be comfortable in their sin and not see their need to repent. Human love seeks to please the subject even if the pleasure of the subject is leading them to destruction and portrays the nature of the broad path on which the subject travels. HUMAN LOVE MAY WORK AS AN AGENT OF THE EVIL FORCES TO COMFORTABLY LEAD PEOPLE TO THEIR ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD. Look around you, I know that you are seeing this before your eyes in the assemblies of nonbelievers that you dwell among. 

 12 This is what the wicked are like—
   always carefree, they increase in wealth.

 13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure;
   in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been plagued;
   I have been punished every morning.

 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
   I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
   it was oppressive to me
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
   then I understood their final destiny.Ps 73

     God is calling us to test our love. Do we have His Agape. There is faith, hope, and love, and He tells us that the greatest of these is love. He tells us that love is the fulfillment of the Law. We know that when we obey, "God's love is made complete" in us. As we live in His love, we are living in the Light and there is nothing to make us stumble because He has opened our eyes to see every stumbling block and to see the Good Path that He has marked out for us: the Calvary Road (Mr. Vogel gave me a reading, the "Calvary Road" by Roy Hession; very good for the soul). But of this we can be sure: as we hate our brothers, we are blinded and walk in darkness and there are innumerable things around that that could cause us to stumble. 

How can we know what love is? We turn to Jesus. We consider how He laid down His Life for us and how He lives to intercede for us.

 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.I John 3

     As we truly love with His Agape, our hearts are at rest in His peaceful presence. I personally know that when I fear judgment, it is because I have not loved in action and in Truth. I have not borne the fruit of Agape. But our hope is in Him. He is transforming us into His likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

     Every time we are tempted to harbor anger, bitterness, and hatred towards another, we ought to praise God for He is testing our hearts. He is convicting our hearts that we may know that we must yet again leave everything behind and come to Him, anreceive His Agape and His forgiveness. The forgiveness that we receive from Him forgives us and dwells in us to forgive all wrongs in others committed against us. True love sees the new creation, made in the image of God. It puts hope in the sanctifying work of the Spirit in the life of another. AGAPE BELIEVES ALL THINGS. It believes that God is powerful enough to completely circumcise the wicked heart of man. It believes that HE WILL DO IT for the person of interest.

Celebrate the Gift 2012 (album here):

I was blessed to hear the testimony and message of Patti Wiens at the NLC Celebrate the Gift Evening. The main things truths that I acquired:

1. God sees us. Regardless of the hopeless conditions that we live under with regard to our lives, He sees us and He is filled with love and compassion.
2. His love is life-changing in every area. His Spiritual blessings have changed Mrs. Wiens to be the woman of God that she is today. He has given her (and believers) everything that they need for Life and Godliness. 
3. God truly has a plan. His Sovereignty allows Him to works all things together for the good of those who love Him. He makes everything beautiful in His time.

Wooed From Jaws of Distress

     In my last letter, I talked about my longing for marriage. God is continually dealing with me in this regard. The Psalms have been very comforting to me each day. I know that this will be a Spiritual battle that He needs to fight for me each day...that He will keep my heart satisfied, pure, and blameless. I need His help greatly. Some days I can joyfully surrender the desire to Him and be satisfied in Him. This can last for a while. But on other days it has been harder. He is calling me to faithful perseverance. Many people that I see in church these days tell me that they are praying for me. Today I was thinking that a husband cannot relieve me from the fear of death, only Christ can. And that is what brings love, peace, and hope to my soul. My conclusion is that I really need God's help at all times otherwise I would certainly be unable obey Him.

“He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.Job 36:16 

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