Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.
John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.
It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.
Love like Jesus.
But Carl – that is so obvious! How could you miss something that is so clearly taught in Scripture?
I am a man that is easily distracted. Don’t get me wrong – these distractions were good and holy and christian. Distractions like Bible reading, study, teaching, evangelizing…
But Carl – these are not distractions. These disciplines are ministry that believers are called to! Granted, that is true, but the very thing that is good, can easily become an idol we worship, an end of it’s own, a goal instead of a channel.
My friends, Love is the goal of the Christian life. Let me try to explain.
When I first became a believer, I gulped down the Word of God, consuming it’s message like a starving man. It is such good news.
Eventually, I became a believer that others would ask questions of, a source of Bible knowledge for others. This fed my pride, and fueled my desire to know the Word even more.
This is where I tripped. I became a Bible worshiper. Jesus just became a topic.
I sought to study the Word more in order to define the message clearly. Looking back, I “defined the message” so tightly that I built walls around a message instead of bridges to Jesus.
One fine Sunday, as I was teaching a Bible class, I listed all the specific doctrines I trusted on the white board. I used theological terms like soteriology, and cessationism. Foolishness oozed from my marker, elevating my self image above my brothers and sisters in the class.
My foolish pride fueled this display of arrogance. Looking back on that day, I hang my head.
John tells us to love our brothers and sisters. I simply lifted my self above them. I became nothing, as a matter of fact, I became less than nothing, if I take the Apostle Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 13:2 seriously.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
Although I may have self deluded myself into thinking I “understood all mysteries and all knowledge” (how foolish!), Paul put me in my place – I was less than nothing!
Paul described this believer as knowing all knowledge and yet was nothing. I definitely did not possess all knowledge – therefore I was less than nothing!
All this to say that love is the goal of all of Christian life. Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus. The life and death of Jesus.
For the next few posts, I would like to settle on a passage that describes Christian love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
I hope you find the time to join me in considering the action of love, and how it is to be worked out in our lives. As we tunnel into this passage, your comments and thought would be appreciated.
May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.
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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.
52 thoughts on “Love Like Jesus – Introduction”
Romans 9 is clear God exercises His will over man’s will
Do you believe that salvation is conditioned in any way on the sinner?
The first message recorded from Jesus was “Repent and believe the gospel.
He expected / commanded sinners to repent
According to the scripture you used, I think your answer is, salvation is conditioned on the sinner
I used to be a calvinist about ten yrs ago and found I couldnt maintain that teaching in my thinking as I found bible passages in conflict with a deterministic perspective
I don’t believe calvinists believe my last reply
I have never heard this or seen this written from anyone else relative to Romans 10:1-4; but the thought seems simple and appears to be self evident. I was reading and listening to a sermon on Romans 10:1-4 and something came to my mind.
If God wasn’t in control of who, when and if someone would be saved, why was The Apostle Paul praying to God for the salvation of the unsaved Israelites? Telling them to repent and believe the Gospel must not be enough. If salvation was conditioned on man, there would be no need to pray to God for the unsaved. Please don’t tell me it was just because of his heart’s pleasure and had nothing to do with his knowing God was in control of salvation
I agree. Salvation is of the Lord. He invites us to join Him in prayer and preaching. No one gets saved without someone sharing
Yes, God causes the Gospel to be preached and gives ears to hear to his elect
Either you disagree or missed my point in
The apostle prayed that God would save the unsaved Israelites; Just like God’s choice to save Him
God regenerates whom he wills and has mercy on whom he wills and He hardens whom he wills.
All unconditional according to Romans 9:11 John 3:3-8, John 1:12-13 and particularly stated in
16 So, then, it is not of the one willing, nor of the one running, but of the One having mercy, of God.
65 And He said, Because of this, I have told you that no one is able to come to Me if it is not given to him from My Father.
I think I understand the Calvinist teaching friend, and the verses used to justify it. As I mentioned, I was a calvinist for years and taught it in church, but found problems with it as I asked questions. I appreciate your desire to help me understand your way of thinking.
I could send some verses that began to bother me, but if you are curious, it would be better that you dig, when you start to have questions.
Hope all is well and that the Lord leads you and blesses you.
Please send the verses. I have thought this over and over. God has to be totally Sovereign and in control He cannot be in subjection to man and glorify himself and keep his promises. There can’t be 2 Gods.
God is totally sovereign. To be sovereign mean to rule over, not to have meticulous control over everything.
How can God be in control if man is calling the shots? 7 billion people exercising their will and God has to react? Plus where does the will or preferences come from in each of the 7 billion people. How can God keep his promises if man is exercising his will over God’s will and control?
Romans 9 says God is making both vessels They aren’t making themselves.
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very thing I raised you up, so that I might show forth My power in you, and so that My name might be publicized in all the earth.” Ex. 9:16
18 So, then, to whom He wills, He shows mercy; but to whom He wills, He hardens.
19 You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?
20 Nay, rather, O man, who are you, the one answering back to God? Shall the thing formed say to the One forming it, Why did You make me like this? Isa. 29:16
21 Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor?
22 But if God, desiring to display wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction,
23 and that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory,
24 whom He also called, not only us, of Jews, but also out of nations.
25 ¶ As also He says in Hosea, I will call the ones Not My People, My People! And the ones Not Being Loved, Being Loved! Hosea 2:23
26 “And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them, You are Not My people, there they will be called, “Sons of the Living God.”
God is sovereign or in control? Are these the same thing in your thinking?
Please check a dictionary to establish the correct meaning of sovereignty.
A strong and good king does not control everyone in his kingdom, since his subjects willingly follow. He does not micromanage.
Definition of sovereign (Entry 1 of 2)
1a : one possessing or held to possess supreme political power or sovereignty
Being found in Him, based on His work and His imputed righteousness alone. Salvation is a totally sovereign unconditional gift to whom he unconditionally chooses to have mercy. His work and person is the only condition of His people’s salvation.
May I ask you if you have felt any confidence in your religious life?
Please give some detail on what you mean when you asked if I have felt any confidence in my religious life
My confidence came from being surrounded by like minded people, a sort of echo chamber that resisted any type of challenge to my faith.
In that environment, I found a false confidence that I relied in (trusted?)
Only after i asked hard questions did i realize how deceptive that sense of fellowship built up my confidence.
Definitely the best thing I have experienced.
He is to be our confidence.
I understand, to fall into a plausibility structure sustained by unscriptural false doctrine is a big problem.
Are you confident in the teaching you recieve. Do you respectfully ask difficult questions?
Yes, the most difficult question I’m assessing is, Did God unconditionally before the foundation of the reprobate certain individuals? The answer, Yes
How could he determine to send his “enemies” to hell when He tells us to love our enemies
We don’t know who the elect are
Could the elect be those who are called to service. One example may be Jacob, as the head of Israel who was used to bring the Messiah into the world. Esau was not used.
Romans 9 says no
How would we define self righteousness that we would struggle with. Maybe, we can find scriptures that deal with that issue?
There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes,
Yet is not washed from his filthiness.
My first impression after reading Proverbs 30:12 is the verse is describing the same unregenerate person in Romans 10:1-4 being pure in his own eyes… would match or similar to seeking to establish your own righteousness and not knowing the righteousness of God…. and not being washed from its filth would match being still dead in your sins and trespasses in Ephesians 2:2-3
There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes,
Yet is not washed from his filthiness.
1 John 1:8
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
My first impression after reading
1 John 1:8 is “if we say we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us” ….then we are still unregenerate … which is confirmed by “ the truth is not in us” Jesus said I AM The Way The Truth The Life if we correlate and equate “Truth” with the Spirit of Christ, Then, The spirit is not in us
Luke 18:12-14- the tax collector appears to be a regenerate repentant sinner without any reflection of self righteousness. One who knew the righteousness of God and was not seeking to establish his own righteousness
Would you not agree that 1 John was written to believers?
Yes, John was speaking to believers
John the apostle included himself when he said “if WE say we have no sin…..
Yes, The Apostle John would be included since he was a believer
So the apostle John admits to having a battle with sin. This may include battling self righteousness, which in my opinion is the battle of thinking I’m deserving of God’s grace due to my good works, even as a Cheistian.
I anticipated that would be your next point. Hopefully, I can explain what I’m thinking.
1 John 5:13
I have written these things to you, the ones believing into the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have everlasting life, and that you may believe into the name of the Son of God.
John says “ so you may know that you have everlasting life”
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Believers don’t say “ we have no sin”
The meaning for “self righteousness” that I’m referring to is the one found in Romans 10:4 Where the unsaved Jews were seeking to establish their own righteousness to gain favor with God and self righteousness or works as a means to salvation.
The Thief on the cross acknowledged his unrighteousness without any reliance or struggle with self righteousness. The Tax collector in Luke 18:13 had no struggle with self righteousness
Regenerate Christians understand that salvation is based solely on Christ’s work and His imputed righteousness without any contribution from the sinner. Even our works are a result of the spirit of God working in us. Only the Holy Spirit or God is good according to scripture and all that we have has been given to us. Christ Righteousness is imputed and imparted. I find no reason why Christian’s would struggle with self righteousness in this context. Our good works are His work in us. Romans 9 says He is making us, the vessel of mercy.
27 John answered and said, A man is able to receive nothing if it is not given to him from Heaven.
He will complete the work he starts in us.
I have been a believer for 40 yrs and readily admit to my weakness of depending on my self as opposed to trusting the Master. I think I am good enough, or righteous enough.
It’s all a lie but I fall for it too often, and am thankful for His continued love and patience with this ol’ fool.
When you say “ I think I am good enough, or righteous enough” Is this what you mean?
Watch for the dogs, watch for the evil workers, watch for the cutting off party.
3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, and who glory in Christ Jesus, and who do not trust in flesh.
4 Even though I might have trust in flesh; if any other thinks to trust in flesh, I more;
5 in circumcision, the eighth day, of the race of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews ;according to Law ,a Pharisee;
6 according to zeal, persecuting the Assembly; according to righteousness in Law, being blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me,these I have counted loss because of Christ.
8 But, nay, rather I also count all things to be loss because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them to be trash, that I might gain Christ
9 and be found in Him;not having my own righteousness of Law, but through the faith of Christ,having the righteousness of God on faith,
although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh…..
My first impression after reading Philippians 3:4-6 is the Apostle Paul is descriptive of himself while he was an unregenerate Jew…. verse 6 consummates that thought particularly when he says “ persecuting the Assembly” (KJ3)
And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:
My first impression reading Luke 18:7-9 is Jesus is talking about the unregenerate and how he will avenge His Elect that they (unregenerate )have treated (His elect) badly “ and will God not execute the avengement of His Elect….Luke 18:9 “….relying on themselves that they are righteous (unregenerate )despising the rest(Elect)” verse 8 (KJ3) “ …will He find faith on the earth?”
In my friend Floyd’s case, he did not believe the Gospel, so it is safe to conclude he didn’t know Christ and the righteousness of God but was seeking to establish his own righteousness Romans 10:1-4
Those verses are very expressive of the love of Christ and the love that flows from His assembly of believers. I distinctly remember one of my close relationships with one of my customers. We had a great working relationship and we were very kind to one another. While making joint sales calls together, he would bring up those verses as his most cherished verses in the Bible. He went to some sort of church but I can’t remember what the exact name was but we often discussed the Bible and Christ. He told me often he didn’t believe in the resurrection and held to the Jesus Seminar interpretation of Jesus. I asked him why he went to church one day since he didn’t believe in what was written in totality in the Bible. He said for the socializing. I really like Floyd but I didn’t consider him my brother in the Lord
Without the resurrection we are of all men to be pitied
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
I Corinthians 15:19
My friend’s lack of knowledge of the True God, True Christ and The True Gospel was always perplexing to me in one sense because he at least outwardly was a stand up caring person but I realized one day that unbelievers can be moral but yet be unsaved or unregenerate. I often times had the thought cross my mind that he might of had a touch of self righteousness flowing through him which Isaiah 64:6 addresses and Romans 10:1-4
Dont we all struggle with self righteousness?
I had to look up struggle in the dictionary
make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction:
“before she could struggle, he lifted her up”
I’m going to have to look for scriptures
fight, grapple, wrestle, scuffle, brawl, … more
Thank you for your post. This verse on love was the first thing I read on Bible Gateway today as it was the verse of the day. Your post was the second and the same verse so I know that the Lord is speaking to me. Bless you. I’m looking forward to reading your posts.
Appreciate the comment. May you be blessed in your day walking in the light.