Faith Energized by Love

I guess in a way the most unique attribute of God is just that: His uniqueness.  His holiness.  His set apartness.  His off-the-charts Godness.  In a comparative sense, God is untouchable, a one of a kind.  And the most unique attribute of God’s holiness, His uniqueness, is His love.  God is Love.  And that love found us.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).  As Kenneth Osbeck writes in Amazing Grace, “Christ did not die merely to display God’s love – He died because God is love.”  God, in His very essence, is love.  And as a Christ follower, love should be our essence as well.  “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” (Eph 5:1-2).  We imitate God best when we love.

If faith is the fuel of the supernatural Christian life (we are going nowhere without it), love is the accelerator that puts faith into motion.  James says, “Faith without works is dead” (Js 2:17).  Works give life to our faith.  And our works are a direct reflection of our love.  If we love well, we will serve well.  “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal 5:13).  How do we have the motivation and power to serve well?  Through love.  “The love of Christ compels us, controls us, motivates us” (II Cor 5:14).

This kind of love is made possible by our new identity.  Paul begins his classic defense of the new identity – Romans chapters 5 through 8 – with this introduction, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exalt in hope of the glory of God…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given for us” (Rom 5:1-2, 5).  One of the ten million things that were given to us at our new birth is the assurance of God’s love.  We were justified by faith.  We were introduced to God’s grace by faith and in return the Holy Spirit literally “poured out” (vs 5) God’s love over us.  We were and are immersed in God’s love.  Take a minute to meditate on the concept of God’s love washing over you.  Let it sink in deeply.  We will explore some of the ramifications of that “outpouring” next time.