The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Reciprocal Love

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 16, 2014

Many of us know what it is to receive reciprocal love. When we take care of a pet, and that animal voluntarily comes and shows affection toward us when it could run the other way, we are warmed inside by this “free will offering” of love. When our children do for us some act of kindness that goes over and beyond the rules, we experience the thrill of being truly cared for by them. There is something very precious about voluntary reciprocal love–not only to us, but to God.

God is love, and God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. While we were yet sinners–not concerned in the least about what God deserves–Christ died for us. While we still hated God, God cared to the point of His own hurt. While we were friends of the world, carnal, and enemies of everything good, God was working out a Way to redeem us and save us from our self-destruction.

What does such a God deserve? Does He not deserve sincere reciprocal love from us?

“We love Him because He first loved us.” (I Jn. 4:19)

And what does this love look like?

There are thousands–perhaps millions–of people who claim to love God while they live and behave in ways that make God sick and angry. Not only do they not reverence Him or do anything He says, they hate and hurt one another (sometimes even claiming they are doing it for God–John 16:2). But did not Jesus say, “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me”? Yes, and He also said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love Him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21)

God loved us through the sacrifice of Jesus. We owe Him love and gratitude in response to that gift, and our love will be evidenced by our keeping His commands. Our keeping His commands is the key to abiding or remaining in His love (John 15:10). Our reciprocal love toward Jesus will be met with MORE reciprocal love from God toward us.

The Apostle John wrote, “This IS the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” (I John 5:3) In this statement, John has written for us a very clear definition of the love of God. It has been, since the beginning of time, God’s will for men to heed His voice. This is only as it should be. He is the self-sacrificing Shepherd; we are the sheep. He is the benevolent Father; we are the children. He is the wise Potter; we are the clay–only useful to Him and others if we yield to Him.

However, men given over to the lusts of their own flesh despise authority. They want to be in charge of their own lives so they can do whatever seems good to them. Since they also want to be religious, they have decided for themselves that the love of God is something other than what the Word of God says. They have re-defined the love of God to be something that they find easy to fulfill. For some, going to church on Sunday fulfills their commitment to love God. For others, wearing a gold cross on their neck, or trying to be nice and agreeable (tolerating sin) is “proof” of their love for God, even while they ignore the things God says. But this “worship” toward God is not in Spirit and Truth, and God does not accept it.

For the person who has been truly born again by God’s Spirit, the commandments of God are not burdensome, because whatever is born of God overcomes the world (I John 5:3-4). True faith manifests as obedience to God because true faith recognizes that God is the wisest, kindest, and best Authority there is; and the only correct response to that authority is obedience.

David wrote in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do your will, O my God, and your law is within my heart.”

This is a far cry from a reluctant attempt to appease God here and there while still trying to live for ourselves as we please. If we are still trying to please ourselves, we have not yet been crucified with Christ to this world and our flesh. This is why we have no resurrection power to overcome the world. No one can serve both God and self. If self is still allowed to rule, we demonstrate that we do not yet recognize how criminal this usurpation of authority is. As rebels, we are contributing to the world’s problems rather than being helpful to the world. And despite any lipservice we give to God concerning the Sacrifice He has made, we show by our disobedience that we do not value that Sacrifice at all.

If we are playing at religion while harboring love for the world–and our temporal lives in it–in our hearts, we need to come clean and admit we are enemies of God (I John 2:15-16). We need to sorrow over this sorry condition we are in, and commit to seeking God until we are completely changed from the heart.

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And His grace has the power to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age (Titus 2:11-12). In other words, God’s grace–if it is not received in vain by a hard, stubborn heart that doesn’t care–has the power to produce in us a sincere reciprocal love for God that manifests itself in obedience to His commands. And only those who love Him in this manner will escape the curse of damnation that is coming on this world (I Cor. 16:22).

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2 Responses to “Reciprocal Love”

  1. smilesback said

    Excellent message! Thank you! May everyone listen and heed it!

  2. My advice to the world is this, have faith like a child, and if you do not love, you do not know God. God is Love, Jesus Christ had and still has Love in Him

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