Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 29 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 29 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
We love, because He first loved us.
We love Him because He has poured His love into our hearts. We love Him because He first loved us and that divine agape love was revealed at Calvary and even that was unseen, unwitnessed, but believed by faith alone. But Calvary wasn't completely blind to us since what was accomplished, what was given to man by God's love and grace was revealed. Agape love gave God's greatest gift and we love both Him and the gift - salvation.
Our love is one of the most intimate and personal relationship with God that He completely initiated. It would exist if there were no inheritance, rewards; even if there were no commands.
I have been emphasizing our love for God based strictly on who He is, i.e. for His sake. I have emphasized this because of the tendency of our fallen nature to get our eyes on the gifts of God and lessen in our minds the Giver. I have desired, or rather, I believe the Holy Spirit has desired, to press the import of our personal and intimate relationship with God as a person, as a Father, a Savior, as a Mentor without focusing on the gifts themselves. This emphasis is for fellowship.
Some teach that all believers receive the totality of their inheritance and rewards, they usually call them true believers as opposed to just professing believers. Others, myself included, teach that some of the inheritance can be forfeited or lost, based on several passages. How much is lost is not stated. But I would ask the believers who are on the no loss side, though I would strongly suggest that the scripture doesn't back this up, would they not live the Christian way of life thinking that all things are secured? And to us who believe there is loss, would we live the Christian way of life for the sole purpose of not losing anything, which to me fringes on fear and love of acquisition over love for the person of God. As we see with legalism and antinomianism, the truth of loving God and loving His gifts lies somewhere in the middle where both are in proper perspective.
The tendency of man, even born again man, is towards the easiest path and lethargy and so God reveals to us that our fruit bearing is eternal and is attached to the inheritance given to us before the foundation of the world, and so some of it can be lost. This is not given so that we may live in fear, but to know that what God does through us in the form of good works is significant and important, therefore antinomianism and legalism are completely off the table.
This is where we began this study in 1Jo 1. Notice that John emphasizes the person of God and not so much the gifts of God.
1Jo 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life —
1Jo 1:2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us —
1Jo 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
1Jo 1:4 And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
1Jo 1:5 And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1Jo 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1Jo 1:7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
And yet, in this fellowship of hearing, seeing, beholding [deep contemplation of His character and quality], and touching Him, we cannot ignore His gifts.
Emphasis of the gifts of God over the person of God bridges on the love of acquisition only and the removal of the deep fellowship with Him. However, a love of Him for His person, for His sake, because He has poured His love into our hearts certainly warrants and justifies a love of His gifts. We would certainly include His love being poured into our hearts as a great gift. So then, while I love the person of God, and only as a reciprocation of His love poured out in me, I also love the gifts from God properly.
Agape love is a love of action and giving and if I reciprocate God's love towards Him then I also reciprocate a tremendous thanksgiving and love of His gifts.
God's agape moved Him to action and giving and so it also does the same from within us unto others.
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
A love of acquisition only is a selfish love and so a human love, or eros love. This love seeks the divine but only to draw itself to Him for what He can give without love for Him based only upon His love; His agape that descended from heaven to seek me the sinner, the enemy, and the ungodly. At its most evil it is the desire to be like the Most High. We could say that Satan loved and desired what God had but did not love God as one who was loved by God. The love of acquisition or eros love sees enough value in myself that I can ascend to the gifts of God or the divine good and spiritual wealth with only some or even none of God's help. It looks to the gifts only and forgets the giver.
Deu 6:10 "Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build,
Deu 6:11 and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied,
Deu 6:12 then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish [if it were possible] that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,
Paul's desire is fully opposite of an acquisitive love.
Being occupied with the Giver of all good things does not negate a tremendous love and thanksgiving for His gifts, but rather puts that love and thanksgiving in their proper place. It brings our desire into the realm of love and grace and away from the love of acquisition.
God has already blessed you with all His heavenly gifts before the foundation of the world as He elected you to His highest and best. There is nothing more to give to you. He did it before you were ever aware that He did. You love Him because He poured His agape into your heart. You love Him because that agape was unveiled at the cross of Christ, and then with time in accumulating the word of God in your soul you love Him and are filled with thanksgiving to Him for all the gifts that were given to you through that agape love, and you do not get so occupied with the gifts that you start to forget the person of God who is agape love.
Yet, as we have seen, some of these gifts, the inheritance, can be forfeited. This would occur when we don't love and respect the person of God and so live in a manner that is not worthy of our calling. We cannot lose our salvation, but we can lose rewards or a portion of our inheritance.
When God can transform you to the point where you have capacity to enjoy all His gifts then He is magnified and glorified to the maximum.
Psa 37:1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
The thought here is the earthly prosperity of the evildoers.
Psa 37:2 For they will wither quickly like the grass,
And fade like the green herb.
Psa 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Ra'ah, translated "cultivate" represents what a shepherd allows domestic animals to do when they feed on grasses in the fields. God is the faithful Shepherd and Israel were the sheep that could feed in His fields. This goes beyond bumper crops in the Promised Land and onto the principle of feeding on God's truth which the true Shepherd shall faithfully supply.
"cultivate faithfulness" - feed on the truth that the faithful Shepherd will always provide.
In this time and culture the cultivation of the land and its abundance, milk and honey, were the desires of most. Yet here we have the cultivation of faithfulness - trust in God's faithfulness, His word and promises, and be faithful. This is feeding on the truth. Our faith and God's faithfulness will produce fruit. Divine good fruit production becomes a great desire in the life of the positive believer. Straying sheep do not feed on the faithful land but seek their own. Sheep have no steering mechanism and nor do we.
God's desires each believer to partake of and enjoy all His blessings. He is the faithful Shepherd and the faithful Giver.
Psa 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart [which desires fellowship with God's].
'It is heaven on earth for a man's mind to move in charity, to rest, in Providence, and to turn on the poles of truth' [Francis Bacon]
Psa 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord [literally - roll your way upon Jehovah],
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
The image is a rolling off from his shoulders a burden which he is not able to bear and onto Jehovah's, who is able to bear it. This same image is used in the NT.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.