1 John 4:7-11 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” NASU
The reality that God who is love, makes His best friends out of unholy, bad, messed up, rotten and selfish people is Good News and nothing short of Amazing! That is the Gospel! That is another word that often falls short in our human vocabulary and understanding in today’s world. Many people think that the Gospel is the first four books of the New Testament. The word gospel in the original meant, “The good, glad, merry news that makes a man fairly leap for joy!” I hope you wrap your head around that and rejoice in the Gospel. When we realize that God loves the messed up and less than perfect people and includes them in His family that is GOOD NEWS. That is news that makes us leap for joy! That is the Gospel.
If God is the God who will come to people who do not deserve His love, and He is, that produces another wonderful word, “Grace.” Grace means that God gives to us what we did not and cannot earn. It is the opposite of what we deserve. That is Good because He is Love He must deal with us in Grace. Everything that God is to people who do not deserve it He gives freely or Graces us with His love, mercy, and forgiveness. That means that something has happened to us. If you do not deserve something but it is given to you what do you do? Hopefully, you say, THANK YOU! The New Testament calls that FAITH, which is our response to the Gift that God has given or gives.
I hope that resonates in your spirit. God gives, through nothing we have done, because of nothing in us, simply because of Who He Is. The only thing that we can do is respond and receive saying THANK YOU! When we do that, we discover that He means it and we can rest in that truth. That is the Good, Glad, Merry News that makes the heart leap for joy. THE GOSPEL! God is Love, He acts in Grace, and we respond in Faith. It is not trying to be better it is not trying to do good. It is FAITH. It is simply saying, THANK YOU and when we do that a miracle transpires and we are BORN AGAIN.
But, what happens in this New Birth experience? We are birthed into the Family of God. That begs the question, “What is the character of the Family of God?” LOVE! The Love that God is comes into us and we become new people or new creations. THAT IS THE GOSPEL! To demonstrate just how much mankind needs God’s Grace, God threw in an extra ingredient that has produced confusion for many. God put it in at Mt. Sinai and took it out at the Resurrection, THE LAW! He gave the “Ten Commandments” but I suggest that it only looks like ten but it is actually ONE. In Leviticus God boils it down to TWO, “Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.” That is the heart of it all.
If you love your neighbor, you won’t murder, steal, or slander him. Love takes care of that. The commandments are simply manifestations of God’s incredible Love. You can get away with the first Nine without Love, but the last one is impossible outside of LOVE. “Thou shalt not covet…” Covet deals with motive and means that you not only do not do it, you do not want to! To fulfill that commandment, we have to find something that will cause us to NOT want to. That is LOVE! When you LOVE as God loves you will not hurt your neighbor. You will want to do the exact opposite and bless your neighbor. That is where man has completely failed and missed the mark.
Remember Israel at Mt. Sinai? God sent Moses down the mountain to see if they understood what they were getting into. Israel said, “We’ve Got it and we Agree.” They promised to do everything that God said. Moses went back and reported to God, “They understand.” God sent him back three times and in thirty days they had blown the whole thing. We focus on the DO NOTS of the Commandments. It is not simply, do not murder, steal, slander, etc. No! No! It is that we LOVE! That was God’s desire from the beginning that man should walk in Love. That is the will and purpose of God before the Law and since the Resurrection it is unchanging. So, He gave the Law to show man just how much we needed Him to take over and enable us to LOVE! He gave the Commandments to show us that we were unable to keep them. Have you ever tried to not do something? The more you determined you would not the more you were tempted to and the less successful you were. The Law stirs up sin. The Law was never given as a path to salvation but was given to reveal to us how hopeless and helpless we are without Him.
I pray that God will richly bless you as you enjoy His love and this wonderful day!