12th November 2019

Faith, Hope and LOVE

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:8-10 (NIVUK)

The apostle Paul states that some spiritual gifts will cease, but faith hope and love will remain. These three gifts are interconnected. Without faith we cannot knowingly experience the God of love; without hope we would not endure in our faith until we meet Jesus face to face. But in spite of the importance of faith and hope, love is even more crucial.

As the opening scripture states, God is love. God is not just loving, but love is the essence, the very nature, of God himself. There is perfect love between the Father, Son and Spirit. As Jesus said, “I love the Father,” (John 14:31) and that the Father “loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24). There is also “the love of the spirit” (Romans 15:30) by which “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts” (Romans 5:5).

God’s love is demonstrated not only by his words but principally by what he has done. Love is the motivating force behind salvation. Without that love there would be no redemption. Love is what motivated God the Father to send his only Son, and the Son to willingly die for humanity. Thus love is the virtue upon which all Christian faith and hope now stand.

God’s love for humanity is special: it is unconditional. It is not based on performance, or on meeting certain conditions. There is nothing we can do to cause God to love us more and conversely, there is nothing that will cause God to love us less.

A proper understanding of God’s love is the antidote to sectarian and religious hatred and violence in the world today. Today religious violence is often fermented by what has been termed “altruistic evil” that is, evil committed in the name of God or a higher cause. Extremists divide groups into “friends” and “enemies”, into “us” and “them.” This mind-set fuels scapegoating, rivalries, and genocides. But there is something that humanity finds difficult to accept: God’s love encompasses not only “us” but also “them”. Hence the biblical instruction, “the foreigner residing among you…Love them as yourself,” (Leviticus 19:34) and Christ’s command to “love your enemies.” (Matthew 5:44).

In his love for us, Jesus has set an example for all Christians as we see in John 13:34, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Prayer
Father, we thank you for your love that has given us life and salvation. Help us to be conduits of your love out into this world.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh
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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
Regus Meeting Rooms (Management Suite)
1 The Oasis
Meadowhall Centre
SHEFFIELD
S9 1EP

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.church

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