Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 26 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
We love, because He first loved us.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The believer is released from one law consisting of a set of ethical principles to which was attached blessing for obedience and punishment in the case of disobedience and he is encapsulated in a law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus. Through what God has made him and gifted to him at salvation, he is now ready to grow in grace so as to walk in the supreme Christian ethics.
And his love for his neighbor is to be pure agape and not a love mingled with human eros love. Eros love always seeks for something more, an ascendency, a move higher and closer to the ultimate goal, whatever that goal may be. In the higher forms of religious eros man love's his neighbor only because God may be in him and so he concludes that love for his neighbor is just a necessary step closer to God. But this is not agape.
Agape loves without thought of any gain. It loves for love's sake, or synonymously, God's sake - God has gripped them in His love and so it naturally passes on to their neighbor.
Also a spiritual eros moves into the mind of the believer who loves his neighbor because he believes that this earns him rewards with God. First, what he doesn't know is that he has already been graciously gifted with his inheritance, in full, before the foundation of the world. The showing of eros love towards one's neighbor is, therefore, regarded as a meritorious act, a step up on the way to God, and so in this way it is justified. But there again an ignorance is revealed in that every believer is as close to God as can be at salvation and nothing he does could ever get him any closer, God in him and he in God. Agape love, God's love, seeks no gain. It loves because it is God's love poured out in our hearts and it takes control of us, fills us, and we agape love for that reason only. Agape love is directed to the neighbor himself, with no further thought in mind and no side long glances at anything else, and this includes his enemy. If loving my enemy can be viewed as meritorious then one can find some motivation to do so, but when this ulterior motive disappears how and in what way could I love him as God loves. It seems to simply be an unreality. Love implies doing and action, even if the doing and action are not having mental attitude sins or judging and maligning. So where in lies the motivation or what starts the movement of such love? The answer can only be God Himself.
Being Himself agape, He alone brings forth agape. This is vital if we are going to love our neighbors, friend or enemy, with God's agape love.
Any other kind is not of God. This is miles above the love of the OT and so is not under the Law but under the grace of God through the Spirit of God within us.
This is the true meaning of "for God's sake." It's not that God needs us to do so or even that we should. For God's sake is purely causal. Since God is agape, everyone who is loved by Him and has been gripped and mastered by His love cannot but pass on this love to his neighbor. In this way God's love passes over directly into the Christian's love for his neighbor.
Under the Law there is no escape. The Law shut them out of all forms of escape other than faith in the prophetic Messiah's blood sacrifice.
The law was a jailer who held in custody those who were subjected to sin, in order that they should not escape the consciousness of their sins and their liability to punishment in the form of the curses that God stated.
We find Paul in the NT expounding on this very thing as some of his flock were fooled into returning to the Mosaic Law as a means of worshipping God.
GAL 3:23 But before faith came ["the faith" - faith in a historic cross as opposed to prophetic], we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.
Sinners were kept guarded under the law with a view to their exercising faith in Christ. The law shut them up to one avenue of escape, namely, faith in Christ, for during the 1500 years in which the law was in force, it was the means of convicting sinners of their sins and of causing them to look ahead in faith to the atonement God would someday offer which would pay for their sins.
GAL 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor [a slave who had general charge over a boy 6-16 years old] to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.
By describing the law as a paidagogos, Paul emphasizes both the inferiority of the Law of grace, and its temporary character.
GAL 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
GAL 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
By switching from the first person "we" to the second person "you" Paul is now changing from referencing the Jews to a reference to his readers. The wall between Jew and Gentile has been destroyed and all believers become children of God in Christ Jesus.
sons - ui`o,j[huios] = a son of full age. In context, no longer under the paidagogos. In grace we have outgrown the surveillance of the former guardian - the Law.
So what is to restrain us now? Well, it's not a what but a Who, God the Holy Spirit, and you're no longer a child under the curse of the Law but a born again child of God who has been blessed by God with adulthood in His very family. By this union and our dependence on God the Holy Spirit we actually show off the power of God within by following the commands, but walking in the ethics of Christianity, the law of love, the royal family honor code, and I don't mean showing off in terms of approbation, but revealing to the world, to your neighbor, the agape of God that He has poured out within you.
2CO 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about [en - in]my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Power is perfected in weakness = God's power is in us who are all weak.
"I will rather glory "in" [en] my weakness" = Though myself weak, I will glory in God's power within.
Is Paul saying that we should be as weak as possible so that we can experience God's power? No, rather, it is a statement. God's power is in us who are weak. We are inherently weak and always will be, but God has poured His power into us. And so Paul does not boast or glory in his weaknesses as if we were to glory in the flesh, but to glory or boast in the power that God has poured into him though he himself, alone, is weak.
2CO 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Again, the preposition "en" is not translated in but in this case "with". The wrong translation of this tiny preposition, by far the most used in the NT, causes false application of this verse, which the antinomians like - glory in the flesh.
I am well content "in" weakness ... for when I am weak [in myself always], then I am strong [because of the power of God within me].
The context of the strength of God, and that being the only thing we should ever glory in, necessitates the translation "in" so that we see Paul, who was able through this indwelling power to overcome the effects of the thorn in the flesh, glorying in the power of God within and understanding that alone, without that indwelling power, there would be no way he would be able to handle it, so in his own weakness, his vessel of clay, he finds the treasure of God, and it is from this treasure that he operates.
If God has removed the thorn, the power of God within him would not have been made as clear, nor as manifest to Paul.
In the midst of insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties, for Christ's sake, ignore the weak solutions from the weak flesh and look to the power that God has put within you - Spirit, truth, agape…