The graduation of F’s
Foreign to God’s love.
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12).
At the beginning of our travels toward God, we are oblivious to His love, much like the embryo is oblivious that it is growing and developing into a baby capable of entering the world. We walk through life, making the best of it. It’s hard because this world is designed to be loveless, but the human cannot function without love. We are made in God’s image. He is a communal person, and so are we. We don’t know the cause of our anxiety, that it comes from not knowing God’s love.
This life is only business. It’s professional. It’s cold. To love demands too much from us. To love one time commits us to perpetual relationships, which might cost way too much of us. So it’s easier to remain aloof. Except for a very small minority, the large populations of this world ignore most of the people around them. Nobody on this planet lovingly seeks what is best for everyone they meet.
All this because we haven’t known God’s love for us. How can we give what we haven’t received? It’s impossible. Even the churches are ignorant of God’s longing for them. Many pastors don’t know the depth of His love in order to be able to preach it. Sermons are only intellectual. They may be full of good gestures and good standards for teaching the people to be moral, but the love of Jesus is missing. Thepeople learn of right and wrong, but they have no power to obey because they don’t have love in response to Jesus’ love.
They don’t have a divine pattern to follow or to empower them. Though they profess the Bible, their Jesus is only a human, with only human love. They don’t comprehend a love composed of infinite justice and infinite mercy, a love institutionalized in the perpetual Law of God, love written in eternal stone by His own touch. Without there being a love over and above anything a human can make, there is no need for faith, nor for the true God. Thus, theirs is an inferior replica, a human fabrication of love and a false god.
The path to their Jesus’ love is not righteousness by faith. He who is forgiven much, loves much; but repentance is not the narrow gate to their love. They have not wrestled with sin; the Law of God, and their failure in keeping it, is not in their reckoning. In their sin and shame they do not need a loving Savior for His wonderful counselling. They have not fallen on the Stone and been shattered. “Their rock is not as our Rock.” (Deut. 32:31).
Thus, without faith, they never know the peace that passeth all understanding, and they always feel a deep-seated anxiety that even the greatest human love or psychology can’t resolve. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (Jn. 3:36).
But when anyone wants more than an empty, anxious life, the Holy Spirit then has opportunity to draw that person into a search for the great solution—a knowledge of our heavenly Father, His Law and His welcoming, infinite, perfect love as revealed through His Son.
Find God’s love—not an epiphany.
Through the leading on of the Comforter, we stumble upon a knowledge of God’s love. We discover its existence. How? Through the work of the Holy Spirit and the providence of God, someone makes it real to us for the first time, or, for the lack of a helping human hand, we discover it on our own. We barely begin to be able make out the love in God’s word to us. “Thou God seest me,” begins to become our new song as we compare the experience of Bible characters to ours, and apply the help and appropriate the mercy they received. (Gen. 16:13). And as we look more, His love begins to coalesce right before our eyes.
Fickle about God’s love.
But we keep forgetting about His love, even disbelieving it; and it temporarily alludes us. Like the disciple Peter kept falling out of remembrance of his Master’s deep love for him, so do we. We get busy with life’s work. We get swamped in one crisis after another. We may start the day relearning heaven’s love, but most of the day is filled with making bricks to build Egypt.
But, we’ve tasted of divine love and forgiveness and we feel miserable without keeping it foremost in our minds. We can’t function consistently without Jesus, and our obedience is in and out, mostly out. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17).
We Fantasize about our heavenly Friend.
Now His love is no longer a philosophy. It is real and we long for it all the time. We want no other subject for meditation than the love we have begun to discover through and through the Bible, a book which before this we believed to be the most boring thing in the world.
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1,2).
We steadily try to fix our mind’s eye on the wonderful prize to be had. We squint to behold God’s love, all of it for me, yes, could it all be for me? Is He withholding Himself a little in case I act badly? Is my good behavior, at any time, the cause of His loving me, or my misbehavior the reason He must turn off His love?Understanding that His love is not based on our behavior, whatsoever, we are almost in full possession of a constant, continuous walk with the God of love. The love of Christ is constraining us.
“...That I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection.” (Phil. 3:8-10).
“Very pleasant hast Thou been unto me: Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” (2Sam. 1:26). Because we have become better aquainted with Him, if we lose Him and His love, we have learned to sufficiently confide in His love to realize that God’s mercy is ever flowing. We know enough to go right back and pick up the hope that basks in His fatherly care.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn 1:9).
From Foreigners to Fickled to Fixed. “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Ps. 57:7). Now we have arrived to where Enoch, Noah, and Abraham were. This is where David and Solomon lived, in the house of the Lord forever. (Ps. 23:6). We are satisfied to the core; nothing can disturb us again. Nothing makes us sad because Jesus makes us glad by His presence.
But this is not the end. It’s just the beginning.
We Favor Him.
He is our role model, we resemble Him—His loving attitude, actions and words. We copy His self-sacrificing love. We have an affinity for His special kind of all-encompassing love. All must be loved! No one is an exception! Now we can correctly represent Him and His love to others.
Followership through Fellowship.
We seek out and make disciples of others. We affiliate with fellow believers. The more the merrier! “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1Jn. 1:7).
A great Future of Felicities.
A huge celebration in end with all who we ever shared His love with. Imagine the glory of it all! We will hear Jesus say to us, “Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without?” “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Gen. 24:31;Matt. 25:21).
And in that rarified atmosphere of love we will find it to be true, that in heaven they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels of God. For any old human arrangement that we had here in this life, even within the deepest intimacy of marriage, will only detract from the glorious love known there. We will have no need of anything earthly when we are in the very presence of the God of infinitely pure love and His Son who left all that to allow us to enjoy it together with Them.