Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 34 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 34 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
Gal 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
It must be remembered that the ability to love your neighbor as God does is a gift from the grace of God and nothing that we work for. We learn of it, we come to believe it fully, all by means of the Holy Spirit, and so in growth we love as God loves because He loves us fully, and all this occurred for each believer, no matter who they are, station, race, gender, etc. by grace through faith at the moment of salvation.
What happens when this is not taught, but rather the truth is believed to be that one works for his salvation through a false humility that is of the flesh through self-denial and self-abasement is the atmosphere of the church at large in Medieval Europe. Anonymously written around the 12th or 13th century is a lovely poem/story about a nobleman, Aucassin, who falls in love with a common girl, Nicolette, who is told that if he does not marry from his own station and takes her as his mistress that he will not be allowed into Paradise and will go to the fires of hell. To this the nobleman in the story replies:
"What have I to do with Paradise? I don’t wish to enter, but to have Nicolette my sweetest friend that I love so much: for only those people I will tell you of go to Paradise. There go the old priests and the old cripples and the limbless ones who squat all day and night in front of those altars and in those ancient crypts, and those in their old worn cloaks and their old tattered habits, whoever are naked and barefoot and shoeless, whoever are dying of hunger and thirst and cold and misery: they go to Paradise: with them I have nothing to do. But to Hell I will go, since to Hell the fine scholars go, and the lovely knights who are slain in the jousts and in the great wars, and the good soldier and the noble man: with them I would go: and there go the lovely courteous ladies who have two or three lovers as well as their lords, and there go the gold and the silver and ermine and miniver, and there go the harpers and singers and kings of this world: I will go with them, so that I have Nicolette my sweetest love with me."
Everything we have from God is a gift of His grace and His many blessings are to be enjoyed as well as graciously shared.
Gal 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Theology over the many years have added a third commandment here by misinterpreting the second one and that is self-love. There has arisen a tradition that there need be love for God, love for oneself, and love for one's neighbor.
But we all know that self-love is man's natural condition. Spiritual self-esteem is not self-love, but rather confidence in God, i.e. love for God. Self-love is the reason for the perversity of man's will. Cain loved the produce of his own hands.
What the commandment is saying is that love for one's neighbor should replace love for oneself. Love for others with God's love overcomes love for self.
Christian love actually excludes and overcomes self-love. The believer is to be content because he fully belongs to God and not because he loves himself.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
Love for self is not a command and in fact will be excluded from the believer who loves his neighbor as God does. The idea of self-love being somehow spiritual has caused much damage to the doctrine of divine agape love.
Human love is conditional, just as the Jews concluded they loved their neighbor and hated their enemy, but this isn't the love of God.
When Christ said, "love your enemy" He equated this as being perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Luk 6:27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luk 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luk 6:29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
Luk 6:30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Luk 6:31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.
Luk 6:32 "And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
In other words, don't rejoice in operating in the old nature, even in a so called strength, "I was good to someone who loves me." What is of divine agape love is a love for your enemies and of course, the same love towards those who love you.
Luk 6:33 "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luk 6:34 "And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount.
Luk 6:35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
1Co 13:4, 5
Love is patient, love is kind … it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong
The great reward is the reward to the soul, the mental attitude of the heart and soul that walks in agape love and mercy. Remember, we cannot earn rewards from God. All blessings to the believer have been given before the foundation of the world. One of those wonderful rewards is the prosperity of the soul under divine virtue love. To seek to love one's enemy so that God will give something is not agape love but the very definition of eros love which is always acquisitive.
Luk 6:36 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luk 6:37 "And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
Luk 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
It is very important to look at this from the standpoint of agape love. Eros love would conclude that one should give to get more in return. In this the giving is not of agape but investment. Did the poor widow become rich when she gave her only two copper coins? We're not told, but she was praised by Christ for her attitude, which was not to be seen nor to gain anything in return, for that is godly. Christians have devised financial plans based on the Bible promising financial prosperity and this is not agape, not if anything is sought in return. There is nothing wrong with investing and planning but not in conjunction with Christian giving. Yet the Bible says that we will be given to.
How can the promise of being given to, to the abundance of pouring into our laps, co-exist with God's agape love? What is given is then sown by the heart filled with agape love.
2Co 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.
2Co 9:7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
2Co 9:9 as it is written,
"He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness abides forever."
He quotes Psa 112.
It is well with the man who is gracious and lends;
He will maintain his cause in judgment.
He has given freely to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted in honor.
2Co 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
The heart filled with agape has capacity for material blessings because his heart is always occupied with the Giver, therefore he will sow God's seed gift, as God fully knows.
If your power behind giving is anything else besides agape love
Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the Lord,
And whose deeds are done in a dark place,
And they say, "Who sees us?" or "Who knows us?"
"And you felt secure in your wickedness and said,
'No one sees me,'
Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you;
For you have said in your heart,
'I am, and there is no one besides me.'
Pay heed, you senseless among the people;
And when will you understand, stupid ones?
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
2Co 9:11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality [simplicity, singleness of heart, generosity], which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
2Co 9:12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.
2Co 9:13 Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,
2Co 9:14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
2Co 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Christian love has its prototype and ultimate ground in God's love. To isolate neighborly love from God's love is entirely wrong. The real meaning of Christian neighborly love can only be understood if we take serious account of the fact that it, no less than love towards God, is dependent on fellowship with God by which we experience divine agape love. It is unconditional. It is not looking to anything within the other man for motivation.
How was it that Paul of all men, he who had done all that lay in his power to destroy the Christian church, should be called to be an apostle? Were it a matter of worthiness, he would least of all have deserved to become an apostle of Christ.
For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am
For what could show more clearly how unmotivated, how contrary to all human calculations, God's love and calling are, than the calling of a persecutor to be an apostle?
And more than that, agape love finds its highest expression in the cross of Christ.
Rom 5:1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rom 5:2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Rom 5:3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
Rom 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
Rom 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out [perfect passive indicative] within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Rom 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Rom 5:10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Someone might die for a righteous man or a good man, but it is very scarce. But for whom was it that Christ gave His life? Not for the righteous, but for sinners. This is emphasized three times in this passage in vv. 6, 8, and 10: ungodly, sinners, and enemies.
It is expressed because it is in us, just as a light must shine, whether the object reflects that light or not.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves;
2Co 4:8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
2Co 4:9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
2Co 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus [the reference is the agape of God], that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
"Carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus" has fueled the ascetic theory, but that is not what is here. The dying of Jesus is the agape love of God for the whole world. Certainly suffering is in view in the prior two verses, but the response to those sufferings, which are undeserved, is the same as Christ - agape love.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
While we love God and our neighbor, in the CA, it is the agape love of Christ, which is new to the church.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
1Jo 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
1Jo 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
The statement expanded would be to say, "I fellowship with God," while the person hates his brother. This person is a liar per 1Jo 1:6. Love for God in fellowship with God is the only way that agape love can flow to our visible brother in Christ. If he does not agape love his brother he does not fellowship with God whom he is not seeing.
1Jo 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
The Lord told His disciples that if they loved Him they would keep His commandments, Joh 14:15. He laid down as His new and chief commandment that they should love one another as He loved them, so that everyone would know that they were truly His disciples, Joh 13:34. Similarly in this letter John has already emphasized that brotherly love characterizes the children of God.