Thursday, December 22, 2011

Love God?

The Christian life doesn't work by us trying to love God more. It only works by understanding how much God loves us. God continually loves us. When we recognize His love for us we will love Him more and more.

Jesus was asked by a Pharisee lawyer/scribe, "Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" (Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34). Jesus answered by saying what the greatest commandments of the law are, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" & "Love your neighbor as yourself." He said "on these commands hang all the law and the prophets." He didn't say on these commands hang the gospel or the kingdom of God or the new covenant.

Those commands were the best the law had to offer. Romans 8:3 says that the law is powerless. The wisdom of the commands do not give you the power to keep them. Galatians 3:21 tells us that "No law can give life." 2 Corinthians 3 tells us that the Law (specifically The Ten Commandments) is called the ministry of death and condemnation. The word ministry means service. That means the law serves up death and condemnation. That is what it gives you.

Jesus, life Himself, came to give us life by giving His life for us. He did what the law could not do. Instead of merely telling us to love Jesus came as love and showed us who & what love is. Jesus never commanded His disciples to "love God." He told them and showed them how much God loves them and then told them to love one another. When you understand God's love for you loving God is a given. As we grow in our knowledge, understanding, and experience of the reality of God's love, love becomes a natural thing that is expressed in our lives. God isn't the person we put up with and try hard to love despite our feelings. God is the ever-loving Father, the closest friend. He woos us like a spouse.

We love because God first loved us. This is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us. (1 John 4:9-10)
Understanding the truth here is the key to walking in intimacy with God. The love we have does not come from a commandment it comes from the fact that we grow in God's unconditional love for us. We love, not because of commandments, but because God loves us.

We usually put the responsibility on ourselves to love God more. If we can realize the depths and importance of His love for us there will be a natural inclination for us to respond to the love that He has for us instead of us trying to love Him more. We will respond to His love instead of trying to love Him to get Him to respond to us. The gospel is not about us loving God. The gospel is about God loving us. Sadly it is easier for us to believe that God wants us to love Him than it is for us to believe that God loves us.

Jesus' new command is to "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34). This is not a powerless command. His love is essentially included in it. His love is the means to loving others. Your love is dependent on His love. He is responsible you are simply responsive. Again Jesus never commands His disciples to "love God" because He knows loving God is unavoidable once you know His love for you.

 For more listen to these podcasts from the guys at Growing in Grace
We Love Because God First Loved Us
Living by Law vs. Living by Grace
Are We Commanded to Love God?

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