God has given us the gift of faith and the righteous are to live their life by faith. We are to live by faith and not by sight – by the faith of the Son of God Who loved us and gave Himself for us. A past faith when we were born from above, (a saving faith in the Lord Jesus). A present faith when we are being sanctified (a living faith through Christ the Lord). But what of a future faith? Well, it will be the realisation of faith: when Christ is all in allCol.3:11. Faith will effectively be replaced with sight: for we shall see Him as He is. 1John.3:2.
God has also given us the gift of hope – a kingdom hope reaching into the eternal future. A future hope – an expectant hope when God’s promises reach their climax. That future hope is a time that the believer looks towards, through a lifetime of pain. That blessed hope.. the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Titus.2:13
And God has given us the gift of love.. a love that passes understanding – a perfect love, for love is the very nature and character of God. A pure love, that will no longer be hidden by the clouds of doubt and fear – a wonderful love, for God is love and God is eternal. His is a love that is eternal. Yes, a perfect love: for perfect love casts out all fear. 1John.4:18. These three gifts.. these three promises: but the greatest of the three is love.
How fundamental to accept without question this astonishing love of God. A love so incomprehensible, in that He loved so much, that He died for you and me; a love for us that was conceived by God before the foundation of the world; a love so deep that it spans from eternity past into eternity future – a love so intense that He took us from the miry clay, and wed us to His Son. A love so glorious that He removed our filthy rags to deck us in His righteousness; a love so powerful that we’re pronounced co-heirs with Him on the throne of Christ – a love we do not understand, as our lives spiral out of control.
Faith without love is nothing worth. Works without love is of little use. Gifts and knowledge without love are discordant gratings and empty receptacles. Love suffers long and love goes on suffering. Love suffers on and on without recourse. Love never fails and love never ceases – it continues and continues on and on. Love in other guises is of little worth, unless absorbed within this love of God. Never confuse human love with this love, for human love at best is a selfish love. Never confuse parental love with this love, for it is grossly shallow by comparison. Never confuse sexual love with this love – although it isGod’s gift, it is tainted with lust.
The love of God in us must be Him living in us - His love shining through us: for God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts by His Holy Spirit, Who is given to us all, as we read in Romans chapter 5. Love is preeminently a grace bestowed, just like faith and hope and all other fruit. Love is primarily a holy adhesive, uniting faith, and hope in all that Christ is. Love is the continuous, unpaid debt of the believer, so richly immersed in His love. Love is indeed the fulfilling of the Law of God and Paul tells us:- owe no one anything except to LOVE one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Rom.5:5
And yet - and yet it is even more than to love our neighbour as ourselves. That is the fulfilling of the Law, but the Lord Jesus went so much further. A new command I give unto you that you love as I have loved – love in exactly the same way as I have loved you. Can you for a second imagine that you could love to the depth of God’s love? Never – not in an eternity of eternities – and yet that wasn’t a suggestion. This was His impossible command to us… love AS I HAVE LOVED. This love is simply to be the badge of every disciple of the Lord. Christ’s love radiating in all directions like beams of a light, shining from a heart-core. Love streaming to the heart of the Father and also to the beggar in the street. Love pulsing through the warp and weft of life despite the shadow of the cross. Love that we in this life of sin and sadness, pain, and problems are instructed to mirror. This we are required to do, because He first loved us.
Though circumstances sometimes appear to the contrary, His love will never fail. Today we only see dimly through a darken, frosted, opaque glass. We only can see through the current prison bars that restrict our present life.. bars of illness and grief.. bars of poverty and pain.. bars of abuse and aggression – prison bars that make us wonder if God’s love is for real or just an illusion. But His love for you now, is no less intense than the reason He died on Calvary. Just because you don’t see it, or feel His love, will never negate the truth of His love.
Let me tell you my friend, Christ’s whole life was lived under the shadow of His cross. He was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world – He was slain once for all. Oh yes, but for the last 2000 years, there has been a Man sitting on the throne of God – and that Man is Christ, and for 2000 years He has been interceding for His saints. And that Man’s love for you is passionate and deep and eternal, for we are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. Eph.5:30. And today that Man is sitting on the throne of the almighty God – loving you. Do you imagine for a moment that He does not feel your particular pain or hurt? His Love for you has never failed not will it ever, despite appearances. He’s not sitting with whips of punishment, but interceding day and night for you. He knows that the enemy is increasing His attacks on the elect night and day, but every lash in life that you receive, He is there with you – this is fact, not fiction.
Yes, there are three amazing gifts that have been bestowed on all that believe – Faith, and Hope, and Love – these three gifts – these three promises, but the greatest of the three is LOVE.
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