~~Alexander Hamilton to John Laurens, August 15, 1782
I have been going through the three epistles of John, and have been meditating on them lately. The permeating theme in these letters is "love" -- that is, God's definition, and not the world's. Love is the nature of God. All of His justice, mercy, glory -- all of these atributes spring from His perfect love.
Since God is love, we, having been born again to Him are to partake of His nature. God wants us to be perfected in love. Love is the mark of the true believer, for it cannot be counterfeited or faked for long, especially in the hour of trial. God tests the hearts, and He knows how much we truly love Him and love those who have fellowship with Him.
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
I read this chapter recently.
Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you --
The sure mercies of David. ...
Seek the LORD while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the LORD,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55: 1-3, 5-11
I read this yesterday, and wanted to share it with you all, as I participate in Jean's meme, Word for Wednesday.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.I put the phrase "for this very reason" in bold, to bring out a fact that can be so easily missed as we read this verse. Peter charges us to add to our faith virtue, and so on and so forth. It is the human tendency to suddenly take such charges as some sort of legalistic charge, to work something up that we don't have, that we may gain something from God. But according to the context -- specifically, the first portion of the chapter, Jesus Christ, by His glory and power has already given these things to those who have put their faith in Him (after all, don't virtue, knowledge, self-control, etc. pertain to "life and godliness"?). This fact makes sense when we also notice that Peter says to add to our faith.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Of course, these things must be exercised diligently, as this passage exhorts us. We do not simply wait for a lightning bolt from the sky, and *BANG!* we are filled with everything from virtue to brotherly love.
One of the interesting things about God is that He always wants the submission of the will of man. He is not satisfied with outward works, with grudging concessions; rather, he wants the will and the heart of man. It is even more interesting to think along this line, keeping in mind that God created man as a "free-will creature." The original purpose, it seems, for the creation of man, was the voluntary service and willing worship of beings fully capable of reason, of choice, and of love.
And as we see in this passage, love is the end and aim of all things.
"Love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10
"Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith." 1 Timothy 1:5
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:7-8
Well, there is your Word for Wednesday!