The Greater Love (Part Two)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

I John 2:8 – Again a new commandment I write unto you {referring to the new commandment that Jesus gave in the Gospel of John 13:34}, which thing is true in him {Christ} and in you: because the darkness is passed, and the true light now shineth.

The new commandment that Jesus gave to us originally was only available to himself until he had redeemed humanity. However, since Christ has redeemed us, this new commandment gives us the ability to enjoy the spiritual love of God that once only Jesus knew, but now we can know it also. We can daily realize what Jesus had taught is true, for the love of God is in him and it is in us. “The true light that now shineth” means that we indeed can experience this “greater love.”

I John 2:10 – He that loveth his brother {a fellow Christian believer} abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

When we love as Christ loves we are abiding in the light. How often when we walk in the light will we even have an occasion to stumble? Never!

I John 3:16 – Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he {Jesus Christ} laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

This is a verse of Scripture that we best look over very carefully. First we can now perceive with understanding, God’s actual love, because we now have it. We currently have the love of God in our hearts because Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. Then comes the phrase “we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” and we may think “No way I am doing that!” In real life very few people can honestly up and die for someone else. They may say it, yes, but carry it through?

In the Gospel of John 15:13, Jesus said “greater love hath no man {no one} than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” No one other than Jesus had this greater love. John 15:13 was pointing to a future moment in the life of Jesus that would end his life in a horrible, torturous death. However, I John 3:16 is looking back in time to when “he laid down {past tense} his life for us.”

Today we have this greater love that Jesus utilized, but for us in God’s family we are never encouraged or directed to die for one another! Rather we are instructed and encouraged to live for one another in love, and live immersed in the light of God’s love. Man’s love at its strongest point could encourage one to say, “I would lay my life down for you.” However, God’s love in its greatest emphasis encourages us to live for one another, not die. Also notice that I John 3:16 does not say to die for each other. We are only encouraged to lay down our lives in service, and what we are to serve is the love of God!

Well, praise God for knowing His truth. There is no profit in dying, especially when your God desires that you enjoy the more abundant life (John 10:10). Jesus taught that only one would suffer and die. Yes, it took the love of God for Jesus to accomplish this for you (for all sinners, so anyone could be saved), but now God’s “greater love” is given to enhance your life each and every day.

God’s Family – the Season of Grace

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Whenever anyone confesses and believes Romans 10:9 and 10, they automatically become members of God’s family. When we become saved we are in His family for eternity, and God is our heavenly Father forever. Salvation into God’s family is one of the easiest things in all of God’s Word, yet for so many people, even believing Christian people, the truths of salvation are all too often not understood and thus many find it difficult to accept God’s eternal invitation that has been recorded in Romans for nearly two thousand years.

Before I began understanding God’s wonderful, healing Word, I thought that salvation was reserved for a special few, very good, religious people, and that the rest of us needed some kind of confirmation from someone holy to become saved. Oh was I wrong! We can miss God everywhere until we literally come face to face with Romans 10:9-10, and then we can find God anywhere after we come to accept this Scripture:

Romans 10:9-10:
-9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
-10: For with the heart man believeth unto {God’s very own} righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto {your very own} salvation.

This is the only section of Scripture in the entire Bible that specifically explains how to receive salvation, how to acquire it (believing from the heart), what to confess (said aloud or to yourself — that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead), and what will be received (the righteousness of God, and our complete salvation). If and when men and women fulfill these Scriptures, then they are going to heaven, and that is the simple truth. When we believe and confess in the resurrection, God gives to us eternal life, and this life, as stated in I John 5:11, is in the Son of God whom God places within our very souls; as Colossians 1:27 reads: You have “Christ in you.” You will never need to have any man confirm this for you because you yourself confirm your own salvation by your own confession! Well, bless God!

Ephesians 2:5 states, “by grace are ye saved,” but it does not record that we are saved by works as I was taught and unfortunately lead to believe through my youth. No one can save themselves by works, nor are we saved by confessing our sins to anyone else, but rather we become saved by confessing our Savior from sin, the Lord Jesus. This is genuine repentance. There is no man on earth who has the privilege of confirming another soul to God, or denying salvation to anyone else, because God has given this distinct privilege to each and every person by his or her individual free-will choice.

Acts 13:46 – Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Who in the above verse was responsible for judging themselves worthy or unworthy? Themselves. The Scriptures have not changed, for man still has the privilege to accept Christ, or to turn him down. We have the right ourselves to become members of God’s family and save ourselves (Acts 2:40-41), or to condemn ourselves (Titus 3:10-11); the choice is so obviously clear and it is so inconceivable to me that some will reject everlasting life. However, when we do accept our salvation, a joyous party literally commences among the angels of God in heaven because someone has believed unto salvation and spiritual wholeness, and they are set apart for heaven. From that moment, we can be “followers of God as {His} dear children” (Ephesians 5:1).

John 3:15-21:
-15: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
-16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
-17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
-18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
-19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
-20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
-21: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Luke 15:10 Likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. {“Repentance” is literally to confess and believe in Romans 10:9 and 10.}

I have no doubt that the angels of God are joyful when someone receives their salvation. However, Luke 15:10 in the Greek Text explicitly states that the joy is emanating out from God Himself Who is in the presence of His angels because He has received a new child into His everlasting family. God is so blessed when someone chooses Him by his or her free will, and now are eternally part of His family.

When we first become saved and introduced to the heart of God and His wonderful Word, we usually have hundreds, if not thousands of questions about God, life, and our future. One thing that I usually explain to those who are newly saved is to have patience with yourself, and with God, because He will begin answering your questions. Nevertheless, the answers may not come at the precise moment we want them, but as they do come to us, we will recognize that God’s timing is perfect. Just allow yourself to enjoy your new spiritual union between you and God’s divine love. Salvation is a heavenly experience that only happens once, though it never ends, for it lasts for eternity.

This spiritual love is an absolutely wonderful and intimate heartfelt connection between the individual and his or her heavenly Father (Romans 5:5). When we first become saved, we literally have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life, from being our own master to allowing Christ to become our Lord and Savior, as God in Christ begins introducing us into the household and spiritual family of God.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

Another honest question for some people is, how do we know which Church or what group of people is truly founded by God? For some people the answer is obviously clear, the one to which they belong! And this is actually true because all believers have received an unconditional and eternal salvation in the sense that God Himself always looks on the heart rather than at the denomination or the group to which we might belong. “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). He is all love and according to His Word, anyone who is saved belongs to Him for eternity because God is no respecter of persons or groups — anyone, anywhere, under any circumstance can become saved and become a member of His household. We become members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27), and we may fellowship with whomever we desire.

God is your Father and He is blessed when you are blessed, He is never upset simply because you go somewhere to learn more about Him Who does counsel and comfort in your deepest spiritual thoughts. God is not a despot causing bad things to happen, nor does He throw you a curve simply to test your faith (James 1:13), rather He loves you. God never thinks ill of you, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Whenever anyone or any group of people think that they are the only people in the Church of God, something is most definitely amiss (Luke 9:49-50; John 10:16). God does not look at the human race by way of brand names because “God so loved the world” (John 3:16), and He changes not (Malachi 3:6). We can simply be thankful that God called us rather than worrying about who is in or out. God can and does bless and has mercy on anyone He feels like blessing and giving mercy to (see Romans chapter 9), He even blesses unbelievers from time to time, especially if those blessings will eventually affect the believer in a positive way. We can be so thankful that He is eternally our heavenly Father Who will always honor our believing. I Peter 4:18 informs us that even the believing believer is “scarcely” saved (more on “scarcely” below) and we should be so humbly grateful for our salvation.

Ephesians 2:12 That at that time {before our salvation} ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel {the citizenship that Israel once enjoyed with God}, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

The English words “without God” are the one word atheos in the Greek Text and literally means “atheist.” Atheos is someone without God, while a Christian believer is someone “with God,” and with God, all things are possible. Our salvation, righteousness, and spiritual wholeness are gifts from our loving God, and “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalms 84:11).

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off {way out there} are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

You see, the completed work of Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation for us, and because of him, his personal sacrifice, his own works, and his life’s blood offered for us, we are saved – scarcely; “if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear” (I Peter 4:18)? The word scarcely means with much labor, pains, and with difficulty, which ended up being a horrendous, torturous death that Christ went through for us to give us citizenship into God’s household. The second part of the verse- where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear has nothing to do with you, the scarcely saved, and I know that they (the ungodly and the sinner) will be given every possible chance to believe, but because you have believed today – you have moved up to the scarcely saved, and you know where you will appear. So, please today enjoy the privilege of being among the scarcely saved, because tomorrow life will get even better with God! Because Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

It is such a blessing to realize that we truly are members of God’s family and that we are saved and heaven is our eternal destiny. May you continue to grow in the light of God’s gracious Word this day while being immersed in the warmth of Christ’s love, for today is your Season of Grace.

God Bless You!

John 3:1521 (The Amplified Bible):*
-15: In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever!
16:  For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
17: For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
18: He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation–”he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]
19: The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.
20: For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.
21: But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are–”wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him].

* Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

The Walk of Love (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Sometimes Christianity can become confusing when external tagalongs fasten themselves to the believer’s walk. There are many things that appear to be a part of the Church of God yet only hinder the believer from walking in the light of God’s Word. For instance: Have you ever been told “the Bible says that you have to do this, or you need to do this?” However, the Epistles never say “thou shalt, or thou shalt not,” regarding laws or commandments, rather the Epistles give the believers almost unimaginable freedom by offering to give us whatever we need to enjoy our eternal lives with God in Christ which has already begun in our lives.

Galatians 5:1:
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Philippians 4:19:
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Anything and everything that the Epistles reveal to the believers is offered by God’s grace, and it is literally God’s love that activates our believing to receive from God. God never made the Christian lifestyle to be burdensome but rather easy to know, to live, and to enjoy. In God’s family, He is the provider for our needs, and gives us His love so that we may walk with Him being well pleasing before Him in His unending love.

Ephesians 1:4:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.

It is man’s personal baggage, his condemnation, his own inability to be perfect which slows and hinders his personal walk and fellowship with God. But when the believer can recognize the truth that God looks at the heart and blesses our lives for believing in our Savior Jesus Christ, and that God loves us just as we are — then we can begin walking and growing in the spiritual nurturing that emanates out of God’s love for us.

I Thessalonians 3:11:
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.

The word direct means to guide and show the way. Paul was teaching that it was God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ who guides, directs, and shows the believers the godly way in which to walk before God in His family.

I Thessalonians 3:12;
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, being in us, can inspire the desire within our hearts to walk and conduct our lives within the love of God. The purpose is so we may increase and abound in love toward each other (toward every believer) and for all other people. It is true that most people have the inability to love others outside their sphere of influence, either believers from other Churches or unbelievers in their communities.

This is a great lesson in learning that God’s love transcends all human barriers, for God’s love is spiritual and is for everyone, “for God so love the world” (John 3:16). God has given to us His love and this love can only be spiritually ascertained when manifested by loving believers.

This is not a “thou shalt” walk in love commandment, but rather this is something Christ inspires within our own hearts.

As we look to God and Christ the Lord, we will find their strength in us that increases and abounds in love so that we can apply this spiritual love in never-ending abundance. When we do apply the love of God in Christ in us we will realize how terrific love truly is, for the rewards will always return back to those who apply spiritual love.

I Thessalonians 3:13:
To the end he {Jesus Christ} may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Jesus Christ is always at work within our hearts to help us recognize and acknowledge our God-given rights of being unblameable in holiness before God our Father. This is how we are viewed (in the sight of God) at this very moment as we stand purely in God’s love, and our heavenly Father will see us this way until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ when he gathers us up to take us home in the eternity of God’s love.