Greetings friends everywhere! This may be the most important editorial I have posted thus far. For it has to do with the purpose of life and why we draw the breath of life. I share this with you as we enter the year 2016. I wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year!
God made humans to be the receptacle for His divine Love. “God is Love” – that’s the “image and likeness” in which He created humans, and His one desire and purpose for making man. (1 John 4:8; Gen. 1:26-27). In this write-up, I would like to present with unambiguous clarity how God Loves man and how His divine Love enters the life and heart of man. First, man express human love all the time, but his narrative of love, no matter how good and noble he may try to convince himself of its benefit, is not the divine Love of God by any means at all. The prophet Isaiah said, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on Your Name or strives to lay hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have given us over to our sins” (Isa. 64:6-7).
Since Adam’s downfall at the hands of the devil in Eden, man’s nature has been under his evil sway, and man’s heart has never seen the light of God’s divine Love. By saying, “all our righteous acts (human love) are like filthy rags,” the Scripture is pointing us to the “tree of the fruit of good and evil” we partake of as Adam had done. (Gen.2:17) Paul said, “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom.3:10; Psa.14:1). Remember though, the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was in Eden, and therefore in God’s presence. So, all human “good and evil” exists within the sovereignty of God. That’s to say, human goodness is from God but not of God for everything exists within His sovereign will. Nothing escapes Him. Isaiah quotes God, thus, “I form light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” (Isa.45:7).
Often Asked, Seldom Understood – What Exactly Is God’s Love? (Pic: Wiki Commons)
Those are pretty straight shooting claims. So, there is no reservation whatsoever, our narrative of human love as we see it, is anything but divine Love. Like human life is not divine life, neither is human love, divine Love. But everything exists within His sovereign will. Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. You must be born again.” (John 3:6-7). It cannot be more plain and simple than that. Humans can reproduce only human love, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual Love. (Rom.5:5) Jesus is the second Adam (or human) who opens the way to receive the divine Love. (John 14:6; 1 Cor.15:45)
God has given man the human mind with the potential to comprehend spiritual matters unlike any other species in creation. He gave man a mind like His, with decision-making ability, because He wanted man to comprehend and live in His divine likeness. In his fallen and depraved state of existence, he cannot become a receptacle of the divine Love which regenerates him. Something has to change, and change at a primordial level. His nature has to undergo a wholesale transformation, in fact, he has to be given a complete new life – literally! Jesus tells us, “What I’m about to tell you is true. No one can enter God’s kingdom unless they are born with water and the Holy Spirit. You must all be born again” (John 3:5,7; Rom.5:5). Jesus is speaking of a reincarnation. Just as Jesus stepped into our human existence in His incarnation and became the prophesied Immanuel, so must we step into His divine life in our spiritual reincarnation to enter into His Love relationship with the Father. (Isa. 7:14; Matt.1:23) Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor.5:17-19).
God Loves man absolutely, beyond what our human minds can think or imagine, so much so He did not spare His Son but gave Him up for us. We have to understand the primary reason why the Father gave His Son. We have heard repeatedly Jesus died to save man from his sins, and rightly so. But we have not been told why. He is not merely Savior, but an ongoing Mediator in His High-Priestly role in heaven before our Father. He died not merely to save man from his sins, but what man’s sinless state would bring him. And here is the crux of the matter which is hardly taught, if ever – God can Love humans, only if man enters into the eternal Love relationship of the Father and the Son.
Listen to what Jesus affirmed before the disciples in His prayer to the Father, shortly before He was crucified, “You (Father) have Loved Me from the foundation of the world” (John 17:24b, emphasis added). Jesus said, “As the Father has Loved me, so have I Loved you. Now remain in My Love” (John 15:9). Before time was, from eternity, this was the only activity of God – the Father was continuously Loving His Son, and the Son was always Loving the Father. Each found fullness in each other in communion with the Spirit. Of course, if “God is Love,” then that is all He does – He Loves!. (1 John 4:8). This Love relationship between the Father and the Son has been flourishing and blooming from eternity, and will continue forever. It is hard to imagine such a Love with our fallen, depraved, and limited human minds, but the Spirit enters our hearts and reveals the deep things of God. (1 Cor. 2:10)
Human Mind – Possessing the Spiritual Spark for Repository of the Divine Love (Wiki Commons)
Remember this, the divine Love of God cannot exist outside of His Triune relationship. The most basic and pivotal knowledge man can have is to understand God is Trinitarian, so is His Love. It is the basis for which God spontaneously and organically connects Himself to man through His Son, and in the power of the Spirit. This Love relationship between the Father and the Son is the spring from which the divine Love is channeled to man through the Spirit. “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). Humans cannot claim a separate relationship with God outside of the Love He has with His Son. Hence, Jesus said, “I am the Gate for the sheep. Anyone refusing to walk through the Gate into a sheepfold, who sneaks over the wall, must surely be a thief! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The Gatekeeper opens the gate to Him and the sheep recognize His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He gets them all out, He leads them and they follow because they are familiar with His voice” (John 10: 7b, 1-4).
There are only three Persons in the Trinity, man is not the fourth being in the union, God has always been Triune, and will continue to be so for eternity. Rather, man can only stand in Jesus if he is to be united in Love with the Triune God. And Jesus has done this by becoming the Immanuel, and becoming mankind’s Door into the Triune Life and Love of God. Man does not lose his separate and unique personality and become lost in a giant banana pudding, so to speak. God blesses each human with unique gifts with the freedom to express themselves as individual persons in Christ. Human personhood is fashioned after the image of God who is three distinct but unified Persons. Paul said the purpose of life is to “know and experience the Love of Christ – though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Eph.3:19). Love is God’s singular motivation, it is impossible for Him to exist in any other way but in His holy Love!
Man’s sinful and depraved state of being prevents the divine Love from entering the human heart. Only through removal from his sin condition, and substituted by the Spirit’s Love condition, can he enter into the divine Love relationship of the Father and the Son. (Rom.8:1; John 17:23; John 15:4-5) This is what Jesus has done once for all when He took our humanity in Himself and died as our Savior on Calvary. This is what Jesus came to do – He took up our humanity and glorified man in His perfect human life, His death, resurrection, and ascension, and literally begot (incarnate) and unified mankind into the Love relation He had with His Father from eternity. Paul said this, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).
If Jesus had not come as the Immanuel (“God with us”), there was no other way for God to Love man, nor for the divine Love to enter human life so man can Love God. He took our humanity and included us in His Love relationship with His Father. Man is incapable of Loving God perfectly in a separate and independent relationship because he is not holy as God would have him to make a Loving relationship possible. But God made a way for man – only another God could Love God the Father perfectly and unconditionally in holy union, and He is Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “You must remain in My Love. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit (Love); apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4, 5). In other words, we must be anchored in His life and Love, so as our Substitute and Shepherd, we can vicariously enter into His eternal Love relationship with His Father, and our Father.
Divine Love Springs Solely From The Life of The Trinity. Rublev’s Icon of the Holy Trinity (Wiki Commons)
The divine Love can only be lived within the realm in which Love exists – not outside it! I cannot claim God’s Love independently outside of Jesus’ mediation. I have to be anchored in His life and His Love to enter into a Love relationship with our Father. Why, because only Jesus can Love God perfectly and unconditionally, and man Love the Father through and in Jesus (Immanuel). Only by entering into that circle of Love between the Father and the Son, can Love enter the human condition so man is regenerated by the Spirit.
John was inspired to write, “See how great a Love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him (Jesus). Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He (Jesus) appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is (glorified human). And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3). By saying, “See how great a Love,” it is telling us something that’s beyond human love. Mankind had never seen nor tasted this divine Love until Jesus came and revealed it to man – first to the 12 disciples and the rest of humanity. Sin must first be removed, so we can enter into and participate in their holy union of Love.
Jesus prayed to the Father, “The glory (Love) you have given Me I have given them, that they may be one, just as we are one” (John 17:22). This “glory” means the Love activity that has eternally existed between the Father and the Son which united them as one God. Jesus asked the Father that the disciples may “see My glory which You have given Me, for You have Loved Me from before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). Jesus wanted the disciples and His followers to not only see, but step into and participate in this glorious existence of Love between the Father and the Son. He prayed the Father that they may experience this divine Love relationship which existed from eternity, and continues after Jesus ascension back to the Father, and will exist for all eternity. He said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you Love one another” ( John 13:35). John said, “Whoever does not Love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). Jesus prayer was the Father’s will from the start – for together in their Loving purpose, they planned to create and have humans enter and experience their Love relationship.
In this activity of divine Love, we Love our fellow humans, like Jesus did when He walked this earth, doing nothing but good by healing all who came to him. (Act. 10:38) I become an extension of the Triune God in their intense self-giving Love for each other as they have always lived from eternity, and extend that in my relationship with another. Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have Loved you. Greater love has no one than this – to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:11-14). Jesus gives us all a purpose and calling through which His Love is dispensed to God first, and secondly to our neighbors. (Luk.10:27) Remember, we cannot Love God and our fellow man unless we enter Christ’s life so we can receive the divine Love, and through the Spirit be empowered to do the divine will. (Rom.5:5; 2 Tim.1:7) Jesus was the only human who Loved God perfectly, and we Love because He has already done it for us, thus, we Love God and neighbor vicariously in Him. “Whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness, and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor.1:30). Paul said, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who Loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Yes, He is our life now!
Fruits of The Spirit – Face of God’s Divine Love (Wiki Commons)
Of course, this divine Love is not entirely transcendent and nonphysical, nor is it incomprehensible. Jesus revealed the face of the divine Love when he went about doing nothing but good and healing all who came to Him. He brought healing to the sick and crippled, relief to those oppressed by evil, He raised the dead, fed the thousands, and finally dying for our sins at the cross. When it comes to God’s divine Love, Paul catalogs the moral inclinations of God’s divine Love showing how it affects our everyday human existence. In his letter to the Corinthians he reveals the fruits of the divine Love, yet, this is not entirely exhaustive, for Love is ultimately the life and move of the Spirit in our lives. It is something personable and intimate, not legalistic. But it gives us a window into His Loving nature: *The fruit of patience, *the fruit of kindness, *the fruit of contentedness, *the fruit of being modest and unboastful, *the fruit of humility, *the fruit of honor, *the fruit of unselfishness, *the fruit of calmness and dignity, *the fruit of forgiveness, the fruit compassion, *the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, *the fruit of tolerance, *the fruit of responsibility, *the fruit of enduring hope, *the fruit of steadfast perseverance, *the fruit of joy, *the fruit of peace, *the fruit of goodness, *the fruit of faith, *the fruit of gentleness, and *the fruit of self-control. All these and other traits reveal to us how the Father and Son Loved each other from eternity. The fruits of the Spirit spells one thing: the power behind God’s Love. Jesus could not have done the good works if He was not cloaked by these Love fruits. For example, He showed gripping compassion for human suffering with the Spirit empowering His miraculous activity and ministry. (Act. 10:38) It was not human love but divine Love.
I must say that when the fruits of the Spirit is mentioned, most view them academically through the lens of human self-improvement. We live powerless lives when we do. We miss the fact that the “tree of good and evil” also produce counterfeits of the divine fruits. For every divine work of the Spirit, there’s a competing work of the flesh that’s of the devil. (2 Cor.11:13-15) For example, humans may show kindness, but it is the underlying motive that determines its roots in authenticity (Love) or vanity (fear).
In closing, Jesus gives us the metaphor of a river telling us how God’s Spirit, carrying the divine Love, flows through man. “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Does anyone believe in Me? Then, just as Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from inside them.” When He said this, He meant the Holy Spirit” (John 7:37-39). There is one undeniable truth about rivers, they never stop flowing. It’s called hydrology. Hydrology is “flow” and is the central driving force of a river’s ecology. “Flow” means movement and life. So is the divine Love of God flowing in man. Man is the riverbed, and the Spirit is the “living waters” (Love) which flows in him. The riverbed is charted by God to the specific valley it is ‘called’ to water and replenish. Man and Spirit flows into the valley of people he is called to water and bring life. Without hydrology or “flow” of water, the river’s existence comes to a swift end. There’s only one way a river dies – the riverbed dries up for lack of water. Flow means action, it means life, and it spells the river’s mission in life. Hence, we are told “do not quench the Spirit.” Do not put out the Spirit’s “fire” (1 Thess. 5:19). To quench the Spirit is to empty your life of God’s Love (“living waters”). Whatever happens, never empty your riverbed!
God’s Love – Like a River of Living Waters Which Never Runs Dry (John 7:38-39) (Wiki Commons)
This is the heart and core of the Gospel. There is no other Gospel. The Gospel is Jesus Christ Himself! It is about the Messiah who came to take our humanity, glorified us in Himself, so we can take our place in His divinity and enjoy the Father’s Love. He died to restore us to right standing with the Father, so that we can enter into their Love relationship for all eternity. He gave us the gift of the Spirit to keep us safe on this earth for Himself. The Spirit is constantly taking us into Jesus glorified humanity as our High Priest in heaven so we can ever be with the Father in the Spirit – even in this human life now, and forever in immortality in the resurrection.
Paul was inspired to write, “If I can understand all the secret things of God and know everything about Him. And suppose I have enough faith to move mountains. If I don’t have Love, I am nothing at all. Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give myself over to a difficult life so I can brag. If I don’t have Love, I get nothing at all.” He goes on to say that if we master many languages and even speak the language of angels, and have not Love, we are just a loud gong which reveal the emptiness of our hearts. (1 Cor.13:1-3).
And why do we live like God does in His Triune Love? Because any other way opposite to God’s outgoing Love is destructive and leads to death. Sadly, that’s what we see much of in the world today. And that’s why we are nothing if His Love does not motivate our every thought, word, and deed.
So, friends, that in a nutshell is how God Loves humans and how we become recipients and receptacle of God’s divine Love in His Son and through the fellowship of the Spirit. God’s Love is for all humanity, for Jesus said, “God so Loved the world (all mankind) that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) I hope you too can believe and receive His Love in faith.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the writer in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.*
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven you and make all things concerning you possible in 2016.
Kiang, (Your Servant in Christ)
* The “Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bula man-river, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise