1 John 4:17-19, “love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He(Jesus) is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear involves punishment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.” This verse sets the tone for the manner in which God loves under the new covenant—the covenant of grace and peace. Grace meaning Jesus, and peace referring to the Holy Spirit. The bottom line of the above passage is that the effect of love in a believers life should be; joy, peace, strength. Yet, many believers and unsurprisingly unbelievers have a negative outlook on God, because they’re unable to reconcile His holiness and His love. This takes us to the cross. At the cross God’s righteous judgement was satisfied and His holiness was magnified. At the cross Jesus perfectly satisfied all of God’s claims on man, hence fulfilling the law as said in Matthew 5:17.
-Under the law, we are required to love the Lord with all our hearts, mind and strength. But in reality nobody has and can ever achieve that status and for this reason Jesus came. Now remember Jesus didn’t come and then God loved us, but God so loved the world and sent His only begotten Son that whosoever shall believe in Him shall have everlasting life. Therefore under grace, which is the present truth, we love because God the Father first loved us. We love out of His overflow of love to us. So how therefore are the believers who think that God is out to get them or that when they sin God leaves them. What does Romans 8 say? Nothing can separate from the love of Christ. For if the bible has said, “as Christ is so are we..” then don’t you think that as Jesus is so loved by the Father so are you? Common let’s reason together, if the infallible word of God has declared that as Jesus is the beloved of God, then so are you, why then don’t you believe God? Because faith works by love(Gal 5:6). Now this love here is not your love for God, but God’s love for you. Because under grace, God was always the first to make a move, we simply flow with His purposes. If your Christian life is characterized by feelings of condemnation, fear of punishment and uncertainty of salvation; you have not been made perfect in love. Now see it doesn’t say, “make yourself perfect in love.” What then does it mean to be made perfect in love? It means to have a full and substantial revelation of the love of God from the cross. Because if you judge and gauge God’s love by anything but the cross, then you’re no longer focusing on Jesus and hence judging God unrighteously, for it’s on the cross the we died without ourselves dying, to be raised with Christ forever and by Him we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in high places.
-Now the faith referred to above is justification by faith, because in the verse before that, Paul says, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” Everything always ties back to this key questions. 1.) Do you believe that God loves you that much as to completely forgive ALL your sins by putting it on His Son? 2.) Do you believe that you’re justified by the cross, and whatever you do or don’t do CANNOT separate you from the love of God? If you’re shaky in answering those questions then the root is becoming uncovered. You may have at the time salvation so full of His grace, but as mixtures of works come in like, “you must confess every sin in order to be forgiven” then we are putting ourselves back under works. Declaring that an omnipotent God who loves us cannot righteously forgive all our sins including the future ones. We really underestimate the love of God. Abraham was righteous by faith, and for him to have waited so long on God’s promises means that even if times of frustration comes up, he knows the One who made Him the promise and His heart. Too many of us know God’s ways, but we don’t know His heart. You can call God wicked from reading two or three chapters of the bible superficially. But when you know His heart as His child, you can then testify of His love to those who only know His ways, and end up judging Him unrighteously when the truth is the Lord is Holy and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
-The bible says, ‘For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.’ What does this strength represent? It represents the strength to please God but efforts. Which is putting ourselves back under law. God simply loves us so much that He wouldn’t have an eternity where we are lost, and for that reason made provision for the rightfully accused to stand in the place of the justified and by power of God the statuses of these two parties are no exchanged. Christ who knew no sin became sin at the cross for us, and that we may become the righteousness of God in Him(2 Cor 5:21). God loves you too much to make a covenant where in your efforts or lack of it can cause you eternal pain. That’s the reason in Genesis 15 after God declared Abraham righteous, and God told Abraham to bring animal sacrifices, God saw Abraham struggling to keep the birds away from the sacrifice. He was using his effort to keep his end of the covenant. But God doesn’t delight in mans efforts. Paul says he glories in his weakness, for in it the perfect strength of our Lord Jesus Christ is manifested. God delights in Jesus Christ— His dear Son. Yet it’s that same Son, who came willingly sharing the same heart of love as the Father towards us who were lost. God so loved and He gave. God’s heart is to freely give and give abundantly. Now back to Abraham’s story, God put Abraham to sleep and the fire and the smoke crossed thereby ushering in the covenant. In this account, the Lord Jesus is the fire and God the Father is the smoke. This again shows God’s heart of love that He doesn’t want man to under any yoke due to not being able to keep the covenant—for the strength of man is small. That’s why in Psalms 21, it says, “the king shall have joy in your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!” Jesus stood in our place as one to suffer the complete judgement of God’s fiery anger towards all unrighteousness. That is why today, you can only expect the lovingkindness of God to be upon you. For His anger is for a moment, but His mercy endures forever. Where was His moment of anger? It was at the cross. On the cross Jesus became the worst sinner for a world who could care less about Him. He cast aside His dignity for our salvation. How don’t you believe that God your Father loves you after He has demonstrated such a feat?You think it was easy for our Abba to give up Jesus? Yet He did it for us. We are so loved by our Daddy God!
-Remember faith works by love right? Well the reason some believers and unbelievers, although this shouldn’t be so, but they share very close images of God in their head. “Authority figure”, “watching for my faults”, “always angry with my faults.” Such mindsets of God come from a lack of revelation of justification by faith. As you realize that all of God’s laws has been fulfilled at the cross, because Jesus blotted out by His blood the handwritings of requirements that were against us. Which means as believers, we are sons/daughters of God. Co-heirs with Christ called to the glory of His name. You have a wonderful Abba, He is your Daddy God. Why is that Christians who struggle with accepting that they’re justified only by grace and that they’re completely forgiven because of the cross, don’t walk in the realm of the miraculous? They lack faith in God’s love. But how does faith come? It comes by continually hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. Whatever sermons or resources you watch or listen to, it must leave you with a sense of your closeness to God your Father, for the book of Ephesians says, we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Therefore, we are already so close to God and as He delights in Jesus, so also does He delight in us. For we are in Christ and are one with Him.
-I will conclude with this question. Do you really know in your heart that Jesus loves you? Because this life we are called to is a life of faith to be walked in and worked out of the Lord’s rest and supply. We love because He first loved us. So start by hearing for yourself the truth of His grace that unveils His heart. Every time just like John did and I highly recommend you do, confess—“I am the disciple whom Jesus loves.” Verbalize God’s truths! You believe in your heart, now confess with your mouth. The confession of faith is like a battle cry getting you amped and focused on your commander and his voice. Jesus here has given the word, “IT IS FINISHED” Therefore, our confessions of faith must stem out of that truth. As you confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ, I am the beloved of my Abba in heaven” and whatever you wanna add. As you confess verbally, you’re sensitizing your Spirit and your mind to see only God’s reality and whenever the enemy shoots a fiery dart of condemnation, stress or sickness you confess God’s love reality despite what you’re seeing. “I am the forgiven of God” “There is therefore now no condemnation for me in Christ.” “As Christ is healthy right now, SO AM I.” Apostle Paul says what is see is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal. God calls those things that are not as though they are. So call out your closeness to God because you’re in Christ; and even though you don’t feel it, the more you confess and believe these eternal truths, God’s favour and power will flow in you because you’re no longer trying to earn it. I pray the Lord reveals to you the depth, the length, the width and the height of the love of God for you in Christ. May the Lord give you wisdom and favour this week and May the peace that Jesus walks in guard your heart and mind. In Jesus name, Amen.
Resting on the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ at the cross, and the faithfulness of God our Abba.