If God Loves Us…So What?

11 Nov

When God created the day and the night, it was good. When God created the sky above, it was good. When God created the land and the oceans, it was good. When God created the Sun and the moon, it was good. When God created everything in the seas and everything in the skies, it was good. When God created everything that lives on land, it was good.

When God created man, and he was alone, it was not good.

When God created them, man and women, it wasn’t just good any more, it was very good.

God, since the beginning, has created mankind to be part of a community, reflecting the very nature of God who as community did all the creating that was done. More than this, since He created mankind as a community, He’s been crafting for Himself a new community, a new people. We see it in the Old Testament as He saves not only Noah, but his family also. We see it as He calls Abram and all his household. We see it as Moses says to Pharaoh on God’s behalf, “Let my people go.”

Supremely Christ created (or re-created) for Himself a people in the church, a new community. Titus 2 “…Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

The New Testament metaphors for the church conform to this; a body, a flock, a family & so on. Even the communion instituted by Christ reminds us that though we are many, we are one body.

So what? Well this new community is suppose to have radically new relationships in it. The New Testament is awash with commands on how members of this new community, the church, should relate to one another.  But one command to one another pervades them all…

1 John 3:

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another…

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 and sisters….

18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Such a simple command but one that so often we fall short of. If God has loved us, we should love one another. According to John it’s as simple as that.

Do we do it in our own strength? Of course not. Not only does the Gospel motivate love for one another, it enables it. As Christ set us free from slavery to sin, He set us free from slavery to self-centeredness. Apart from the Cross we cannot love one another as we ought to. Not only does Jesus active love encourage us to actively love one another, it makes loving one another actively possible.

So how do we love one another actively? By spending real, quality time with one another, really listening, really caring, really speaking words of encouragement and challenge and rebuke, really providing for physical and material needs, really praying for each other…the list goes on, and on, and on.

When we love one another in such a way two things happen. Firstly, we are worshipping God, by imitating His Son, we aren’t seeking His approval, but responding rightly to His Grace. But secondly, we invite others to worship God along with us. Our lives bear testimony to our words. We preach Christ crucified which leads to a radically changed relationship with God and each other and when people see real, active love, they’ll believe it.

What a challenge. What an encouragement.

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