God is Love. A lot of people have that sign hanging in their homes, or as a sticker on their car, some even have it tattooed on their body. But do you know that there is great power, even divine power in love? We often don’t stop to think of the implications of that statement that God is Love; and not just any kind of love, but divine love. You see the world has greatly corrupted the idea of love… some see it as synonymous with sexual intercourse, while others see it as something cruel and hurtful. However divine love is not like our corrupted human ideas of love. Divine love is so much more, and so much better, and so very powerful
The Bible says that we can have all knowledge, all wisdom, and all understanding, but if we do not have love, we are empty… we are noise without substance, and what we will be studying today, is the power of divine love. Because there are many who think that love is weak, but in reality, it is the strongest and greatest of all.
Let’s begin today by reading 1st Corinthians 13”1-3:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. >>
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. >>
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.”
These verses are so vital to everything that is God… and there is such a great truth here for us to learn. Surely most of us have heard these verses before, read them in Bible studies, and thought of them more than once throughout our time… yet many of us have not stopped to consider what is really being said here. Think about it – we search for more knowledge, secret wisdom, more Bible facts, we look to be “more enlightened”, yet these verses tell us that even if we speak with the tongues of men or with angels, and do not have love, we are as empty noise.
If we have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries (that’s perfect understanding), and have all knowledge, and even all faith to move every single mountain but we do not have love, we really have nothing at all.
Even more-so we are sounding brass, which represents judgment and condemnation in the Bible. The people who have knowledge without having love will always end-up in such a place of judgment and condemnation… and preachers will preach that way as well.
Then we move on to areas of physical works In verse 3… If we give all that we have to the poor, even giving our own body to be burned-up with all of my toilsome labor, but we still do not have love, it profits us nothing. Now this probably puts a lot of people off; it probably offends a lot of people… but never-the-less it is absolutely true.
Now I want to call your attention to the specific way that these verses are phrased. They do not say that we need to give love – that may come as a shock – but these verses are very careful to say that we must have love.
The attention here is being focused not on something that we must give, but something that we must receive and have. This isn’t just nit-picking, this is actually an important detail because there are a lot of people who are trying to give from an empty cup and they are being used-up, burnt-up, frustrated and confused. The focus here is on the divine love that we receive from God. This love from God is what gives everything else substance. This love from God is the most important thing. And this divine love from God is also what gives us power. Take a look at Galatians 5:4-6:
“Christ is become of no effect to you, whoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.”
We see in verse 4, that Christ is become of no effect to you… eesh! That’s a pretty scary statement right there! And take a look at what makes Christ of no effect; most people would instinctively say that sin can make Christ of no effect; but that is not what the verse says. Instead it says that Christ is become of no effect to you, whoever of you are justified by the law! You see, the Law nullifies Christ, because the Law nullifies love. The Law puts people under a demand-centered mentality; it places them under a performance-driven mindset; saying “do good, and you will receive good – but do bad and you will receive bad; you get what you deserve, you reap what you sow” – and this nullifies the reality of Christ because according to scripture, He reaped all of what we sowed. He received all of the consequence and punishment of our sin. (Romans 3:21-31).
The verse of Galatians 5:4 then goes on to say that whoever tries to be justified by the Law, has fallen from Grace.
We tend to use the phrase “fall from Grace” whenever we see someone sin… we say “Oh, they fell from grace”. However that really is not the Biblical definition of the phrase. We see here in verse 4 that to fall from Grace actually is when someone tries to be justified by the Law. Often, Grace is presented as some kind of a balance for the Law, but that idea is actually not Biblical. We see from this verse that Grace is actually higher than the Law. You fall from Grace into the Law, which means that Grace is above the Old Covenant Law.
In verse 5, we see that we are to wait (which properly translated means to confidently look for, expect) righteousness by faith. It should not be a “dice roll” in our mind; we should be confidently expecting it. No doubt, no wondering about it. Righteousness by faith should be as natural as breathing and blinking our eyes – It should be not even something that you think about – just there as an everyday part of live because that’s who you are in Christ. The End; Full Stop.
Now verse 6 is where things get really interesting, and it is where things begin to tie-into our study topic. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision… We know this, that whether you obey the law or not, neither one really gets you anything; only one thing at all has value, and what is that thing? …faith which works by love.
Faith is the only thing that has any real value or profit in the sight of God. That is, faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for you (Galatians 2:16).
Take notice now, of the last part of verse 6, that faith has a specific method by which it works; faith works by love. I want you to see this, because it shows you how powerful indeed that love is! And again, this is not referring to our human ideas of love, but to the divine love of God towards us. Without receiving the divine love of God, faith has no avenue by which to work! And this is a problem for many people who are desperately trying to conjure up faith within themselves but the have not yet received the catalyst for faith, which is the divine love of God!
You see, it is the divine love of God being received by you, through Christ Jesus and His Spirit of faith (2nd Corinthians 4:13) We have not received the bondage again to fear, but we have received the Spirit of power, love and a sound-mind (2nd Timothy 1:7) Notice that power is mentioned there, and it is mentioned first. Obviously God wants us to know it. Followed right next to it by love and a sound mind, because all three go together.
To see this more clearly, turn with me to 1st John 4:17-19:
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. >>
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. >>
We love him, because he first loved us.”
Our love is made perfect (complete) in that we have boldness in the day of judgment. Now this is not what we would typically expect. If you take an unscientific poll from most believers in a typical church-setting, they would tell you that love is made perfect through good-works and their own efforts to keep the law. Yet again, that is not Biblical. We see here that love is made perfect when we have boldness in the day of judgment.
Now most people think that it would be insolent to have boldness towards God, but in-fact this is the boldness that comes from being in Christ Jesus. We can have boldness in the day of judgment because we already know the verdict! We do not have to fear judgment, because we have already been pronounced innocent by God Himself! We have been cleared! And not only have we been cleared, but we have been cleared righteously! Now that is an important detail because some today like to claim that the message of Grace just sweeps sin under the carpet, or that it paints an inaccurate picture of God; one who has gone soft on sin… but no. We have been cleared righteously because all of our sin has been punished and paid completely by the shed blood and broken body of Jesus Christ! In-fact, Christ has so completely redeemed us, that verse 17 continues on to say that as He is, so are we… As Jesus Himself is, so are we! That’s awesome! That’s amazing! Yet it doesn’t even stop there! Most people think that they will be like Him when they get to Heaven – they are just waiting until the sweet by-and0by when one day they will be like Him. Until then they just have to suffer and endure hardship… but look at what the verse goes on to say:
As He is, so are we in this world! That is the power of the love which Jesus Christ displayed for you on that cross! He suffered and endured, not just so that you could pray a prayer and go to Heaven one day after enduring so many years of suffering on this earth. Jesus bled and had His body mutilated and crushed with the full weight and punishment of every single one of your sins so that you could be revitalized with His life and become One with Him; having your full relationship restored. Not so that you could live for Him, but instead so that you could live through Him – to live completely with His life! That is why He says that He is the Life! He is the definite article of life – apart from Him there is none! And His is the life that you were called to. He offered you Himself, and the complete fullness of what that means!
In His life, there is no fear at all, verse 18, because His perfect divine love which courses through you and embraces you, completely destroys and throws out and ejects fear. Believe me, once you see and get a revelation that you are completely righteous, redeemed and made holy (sanctified) by Jesus Christ Himself, fear will not have a any leg left to stand on! Who can accuse you of absolutely anything when the God and judge and ruler of all creation says that you are cleared of all charges? (Romans 8:33)
Then verse 19, we love Him, because He first loved us. This is important because there is a very dangerous and very prideful idea going around today… telling people that they need to love God more, and prove their love for Him through various means and works and efforts. Listen, let’s be real here, the scripture is very clear: we love Him because He first loved us. We do not even have any capacity to love anyone – including God – without first receiving His love for us. Our loved is corrupted by sin and a fallen world – when compared to the genuine article, it’s not even recognizable, it is no love at all.
Genuine divine love from God, gives us boldness. We do not need to fear God’s punishment or wrath or judgment. But we can come to Him legitimately as sons, with the rights of blood relative and relationship, and we can have power… the power that He wanted us to have from the very beginning; and even more so because we are seated with Christ and we are one with Him (Ephesians 1-2, John 17). And it is this realization of God’s love for us, that enables faith to be effective. This is the power of Love; His love for us in Jesus Christ.