Love is of God

“Beloved, let’s love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

The outcome of sound doctrine and following Christ will be the life of love. We are constrained to love each other, because love is from God who visits us with this mark of the Christian. We love because God imparts the gift of love to us His family.

It is tempting to think that doctrine is dry and will quench the spirit of love in the heart of the Christian. It can seem this way, as often Christians can get into arguments and debate about doctrinal issues and end up with schism and bad feelings. This is not the way of Christ. Doctrine that is false will lead to lack of love, but sound doctrine will build the Christian’s character and mind so that we can be receptive to the love of God.

“The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many away from iniquity.”

Malachi 2:6

When the truth and righteousness of God infiltrates our character and behaviour, we walk in peace and love towards the Lord and our fellow human beings, particularly the people of God. We are constrained to love each other because we have been born again into the family of God and are now peaceable towards our fellow family members. This is the confirmation that we are in the family of God, that we love the Christ-likenesses in our sisters and brothers in Christ and seek to be like our Saviour too. It is the family resemblance that holds us together in the bonds of family love.

We also love the outsiders and seek to bring them the good news about forgiveness and the salvation of God,so that they can come into the family as well. The love of God extends to the weak and the spiritually poor and seeks such to come to Him and be in His kingdom.

“Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him?”

James 2:5

The love of God is extraordinary and extends to the least and the lowest, and this should be our attitude to other people. Our love should be our defining feature in our lives and we should be known for our kindness and compassion. This is the love of God and how we know we are of the household of faith.

Born of God

“Whoever is born of God doesn’t commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can’t sin, because he is born of God.”

The Christian is born again into the family of God. They have experienced two births – natural physical birth and supernatural spiritual birth. The Christian is born of God and now has the family likeness of God imprinted in their psyche. Their heart and mind has been changed and they are new people.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

We now have a new nature that wants to please God and live righteously, however the old sinful nature is still there and wars against the spiritual. This is a source of conflict for the Christian and one that needs many lessons and skills to learn to overcome. But we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who teaches and empowers us to fight and win the battles with self and sin. We have the seed of God, the family likeness of God in us that gives us the motivation to fight until we overcome the sin that is pulling us down and going against our new spiritual outlook and demeanour.

“Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Matthew 5:48

The verse, and our text, seems to suggest there is some sort of sinless perfection for the “real” Christian, but the meaning is not that we are somehow now perfect, but that our new disposition is to not want to sin. The sins we commit will be in error or with some other proviso, but not continuing in sin with knowledge, for this is against our Christian character. To live a life in deliberate sin suggests the lack of true repentance in the first place. The Christian will be marked by a life lived in holiness to the Lord and in serving Him with a true heart. A Christian will not habitually live a life of sin, but have the motivation and the practice of a godly life, that has deliberately turned its back on the action of sin and puts both self and sin to death.

It stands to reason that if we have confessed our sin and truly repented and have seen the horror of our sin, we will not live in that sinful mindset any more. We have confessed it and so now walk in faith and obedience to God, not ourselves or the enemy, the devil, who practices sin continually. We will be like our Father God, loving righteousness and holiness and shunning all evil. We will not sin with impunity but we may fall into sins and get entangled with them for a while, but will seek repentance again and be free from them. Sin does not have the mastery over us any more.

“For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace.”

Romans 6:14

We are saved by God through the work of grace in our life and not from our own efforts, therefore He will give us the victory over our sin, through Christ and through the work of His Spirit in our life, as we fight with the spiritual weapons we now have at our disposal. This is the reality of the Christian.