"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."
God expressed His perfect love toward us in sending us Jesus--"that we might live through Him"
But wait a minute! Why is this fellow living under guilt and condemnation? He's a Christian--aren't all Christians always supposed to feel God's love all the time? Aren't Christians always supposed to be happy and filled with joy?--What is wrong with this guy??
Oh now--this is even worse! Our poor friend is still under guilt and condemnation, caused by legalism. He is still not receiving God's love--but now he is pretending to be joyful when he really isn't! He just wants to fit in with the rest of his church--he wants to be happy and joyful and Spirit-filled--he wants to feel God's love--the same way everyone else seems to--so now he is pretending! That smile doesn't fool us--or God!
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2, KJV).
You see, there are two things our friend has to do to get out from under condemnation. It's not enough to just "be a Chrsitian"-- He needs to be "in Christ Jesus" and he also needs to "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" You see, there is a "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" which makes us "free from the law of sin and death." Our poor friend wasn't living through Jesus--he was trying to live through his works--not through grace. He was walking (living) through his flesh--not after the Spirit.
Let me tell you--our friend was trying to live a good life--he was trying to keep God's laws--he went to church every week--he tithed--he did his best to help others--and you know what? He was miserable! Why? Because he forgot one thing--God loves him! Remember--"God so loved the world, that he sent His only begotten Son....." Jesus did what He did out of love--and He commanded us to love God first...
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40)
This is the law to obey! LOVE GOD! When our friend got caught up in legalism, he ignored what Jesus said--that all the other laws hang on this first requirement. If he first loved God--all the other commandments would fall into place! As I said, our friend just simply forgot that God loved him--Of course you can't outdo God--Why should we love God?---
"We love him, because he first loved us." (1John 4:19)
Ahh! now he's got it! It's simple--Jesus loves you!--and don't you forget it!
".......the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Romans 2:4)
It is God's love that leads us to true repentance. When we see God's great love and His perfection--we know truly that we are sinners--and we cling to the cross of Christ as our only salvation--and we understand completely that we must depend upon His grace and His righteousness for our salvation. God's love, our repentance (turning away from sin) and our love toward God is the path to salvation. It begins and ends with love--first God's great love--and then our love toward Him. God already owns everything--what He really wants is our love. How many folks who consider themselves Christians and are living and doing what they think a Christian ought to do, have simply forgotten that Jesus loves them. He loves you and he wants your love! That's what it's all about!
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1John 1:6-7)
"......and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (1John 1:3)
Now that's what I call a happy ending!
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