Revealing the SIMPLICITY that’s in Christ

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"Taking your stand, part 3"

Let’s look at Gal 5:1 — “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Let the first 4 words of this verse settle into your thinking, “It was for freedom”. God’s main purpose in sending Jesus into this world is that we, who believe in Jesus Christ, would have this kind of freedom — the freedom that only Christ can produce in one’s life. Our instructions as God’s free people are to keep standing firm, and not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. When we, as God’s free children, turn to keeping the law (WORKS) instead of trusting in the living Christ (GRACE) for managing our behavior, we subject ourselves to a yoke of slavery. It is when we allow His grace (Christ’s indwelling ability) to work in our lives, that we’ll keep standing firm in our freedom. This is what we have been looking at in these lessons. So far, we have investigated 7 ways that help us in taking our stand in freedom. Now, we’ll look at the “more excellent way” in taking our stand.

8. Understanding God’s unconditional love, and how He treats us as His own children.

John 3:16 — “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.”

I believe that this verse is the most popular verse in the Bible. It is used in many sporting venues to communicate the gospel to the world. People have used it so much over the years that they have lost the simplicity of God’s love-message revealed in it. God loved us a long time before we loved Him. No one had to “qualify” for His love — God just freely gave it, because that’s who He is. I think it’s safe to say then that His love is unconditional, with no strings attached. We may believe that for the lost in the world, but after we become Christians, we sort of tweak this love-message, and start evaluating His love for us as His children from our feelings or performances. We also seem to forget that His life — “ETERNAL LIFE” — is inside us, with the promise that we should NEVER perish. Think about it, God’s unconditional love gave us eternal life — His very DNA is running through our spiritual veins! Eternal life is the kind of life that has no beginning and no ending — it is the very essence of God, and because of His unconditional love, He gives Himself to all those who believe in Jesus Christ! No wonder we shall never perish!!!

As great as this is, many still have a problem in wrapping their minds around the idea that God’s love is UNCONDITIONALLY theirs. Their unrenewed minds still gauge His love by outward things (which they call “BLESSINGS”), their performances and how they feel. It’s hard for any of us to get past the point that our performances — both good and bad — have nothing to do with God’s love (God doesn’t love us less when we do bad, and He doesn’t love us more when we do good). Honestly for a lot of people, they think this way because they’ve seen how God acted in the Old Testament, as a vengeful, punishing God to the disobedient and backslidden. They have boiled down His love to that of puny, human love. But God’s unlimited love is not at all like human love which is limited to say the least. An Old Testament prophet named Balaam was onto something when he said (Num 23:19) — “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent”

Following this same reality of eternal life that we saw in John 3:16, look at what Jesus prayed for us moments before He went to the cross (John 17:3) — “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Knowing that eternal life is inside us as God’s children, look at its main purpose — “that we may know” the truth about the Father through Jesus Christ. This means that before eternal life shows up, no one is able to know the truth about God. For instance, we may get partial glimpses of God from the Old Testament, but to really know who God is, we have to look to Jesus and the writers of the New Testament letters. When we look and see what John said about God and who He is, he said that God is light (1 John 1:5, where “light” refers to true knowledge), and God is love (1 John 4:8, 16, where “love” refers to the nature and character of His life — eternal life). I love how LIGHT (true knowledge) and LOVE go together, because this describes what Jesus was praying in John 17:3!

This leads me to 1 Cor 13:9-10 — “9 For we know in part (have partial knowledge) and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” When Paul mentions THE PERFECT coming, we know from context that he’s referring to God’s love; for God’s love is perfect, see 1 John 4:17-18. We know that God’s love came into us when we received His life; that’s when we became God’s children. Without the perfection of love, the best that someone can have is partial knowledge of the truth. But by seeing things through the eyes of God’s love, partial knowledge becomes useless and ineffective. This gives us a new perspective about God’s love, doesn’t it? 

Because of God’s unconditional love towards us, I want to show you the truth on how God, our Dad, treats us (This is the polar opposite of what we see in the Old Testament). Look at these characteristics given to God’s love (v.4-7) — “4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Paul gives us these characteristics of love, not only to explain the way that we should be behaving towards others, but more importantly, to show us the way that the Father treats us as His children; for as we read in 1 John 4:19, we love others because God first loved us. The truth is that we’ll never truly love others in this way, unless we first understand His unconditional, parental treatment He has for us.

1. God’s love is patient. God’s never in a hurry when it comes to us to get things right! He’ll wait as long as it takes for us to “work out our own salvation”.

2. God’s love is kind. It’s one thing for Him to patiently wait for us, but it’s another thing for Him to wait kindly! Unlike many of us have been told, God never acts harsh to any of His children. 

3. God’s love is not jealous. God never gives us the “green-eye” of jealousy when we overstep or get out-of-line.

4. God’s love does not brag. God never “lays it on thick” when we are not thankful and grateful like we should be; praise is for our benefit, not His.

5. God’s love is not arrogant. It’s funny that many people teach “praise and worship” like God is arrogant, who demands people to worship Him. Praise should be our expression of love and thankfulness; it’s a response to His love!

6. God’s love does not act unbecomingly. This sounds simple enough when it comes to God, but when we, as His children, think that He’s still judging us because of sin, we think He’s acting unbecomingly. God always acts according to His love-nature.

7. God’s love does not seek His own. Again, this sounds simple enough when it comes to God, but when we think that He doesn’t want us involved in sin because He can’t stand it, we judge Him as self-seeking or selfish. God doesn’t want us involved in sin because it causes hurt and damage, but He does want us to enjoy life to the full!

8. God’s love is not provoked. When we think that God holds us accountable because of something we’ve done or failed to do, we see Him as being provoked. Our sin doesn’t provoke God, but understanding His unconditional love will sure cause us to stop sinning!

9. God’s love does not take into account a wrong suffered. We must realize that sin never cancels out God’s grace. God is a very present help in time of need, and can be fully counted on.

10. God’s love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but He rejoices with the truth. Since you are His child, you are always on the side of the truth, see 2 John 1:2. God always greatly rejoices over your life, see Zeph 3:17!

11. God’s love bears all things. His love is unquenchable!

12. God’s love believes all things. His love is undeniable! 

13. God’s love hopes all things. We rightfully esteem Him as great, but because of His love, you are His biggest fan! He’s always rooting and pulling for you!

14. God’s love endures all things. It doesn’t matter to Him if it takes you 1 second, or a lifetime to overcome a certain vice; His love towards you is constant and will never fail, see v.8!

God’s love is the nature and character of His eternal life. Let us now grasp the reality of what Paul told us in Rom 8:38-39 — “38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Notice that Paul’s conviction here about God’s love wasn’t just about himself, but it was concerning US and how secure we are in Christ! He firmly believed that nothing on this side of heaven was able to separate us from the endless, unconditional love of God we have in Christ! We can see from this that, without one understanding God’s unconditional love — a love that has no strings attached to it; no requirements or conditions, but is constantly the same — he will have trouble taking a firm stand in freedom.     -    13120 Three Rivers Road Apt 3004  

Gulfport, MS 39503   


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