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Chapter 5 - Jesus is Love
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:39
Jesus is our example of love. We can see that the love of God fills Jesus and is extended to us.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. - John 17:26
Just as truth is dynamic and not static, love also fills, unifies, and flows. Jesus offered the greatest sacrifice for us so that we could be born again in him and receive eternal life.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. - John 10:17-18
The love of Christ is to be our example.
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. - Ephesians 5:2
The hallmark characteristic of love is selflessness. We can see that Jesus understood when his death was immanent that it entailed more than physical death. We cannot understand what it means to be 'made sin' or how much more than death would bearing the sins of the whole world be. However, Jesus knew what was coming and still surrendered all.
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. - Luke 22:41-44
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
A father that forgoes his own interests to provide and care for his family or a mother who endures the wearying demands of caring for hers demonstrate the beginning of the path of love. Setting aside self is the start of love. Jesus shows us the complete emptying of self and total dependence upon the father is not wearisome, or burdensome.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus extends his love to us and calls us to follow him. Giving up self can seem burdensome and unrewarding because of all the things we desire for ourselves. However, as we grow in truth and understanding, most of the things that at first seem appealing are recognized for the actual harm they bring. For example, the person who suddenly obtains wealth finds that each of the things he purchases become objects that require maintenance and attention from him such that what time he has is devoted to the things he has bought. In a way, he becomes their slave. Things we would have, people we would use, positions we would achieve, fame we would obtain, and power we could have all consume and destroy leaving an empty life. Love is an emptying of self that would destroy us and a filling with all that which truly enriches and endures.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. - Hebrews 12:2-3
Jesus had planned to surrender his life for our sakes even before the world was created. He emptied himself of everything and placed his fate in the hands of the father so that he would be a channel for us to also trust in God.
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. - 1 Peter 1:19-21
In Jesus we have a path to God by faith. It is a path of love. It requires the loss of everything as the world sees it, but is the inheritance of everything as God sees it.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. - 1 Corinthians 1:18
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, - Philippians 3:7-8
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, - Ephesians 1:17-19
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