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Living in God’s Eternal Love

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)

Thomas had voiced the question the other disciples were likewise wondering, and Jesus’ answer had been profound; now it was Philip’s turn to speak up: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”1 It had to be a frustration for Jesus on the eve of His crucifixion—he had covered this ground with them before—but at the heart of the matter was life itself, so Jesus taught them. “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? … Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me…”2 We can sympathize with Philip, for the Father and the Son being one, each living in the other, is an enigmatic existence for finite minds to comprehend and a deeper intimacy than timid hearts will dare to brave. Yet this is who God is, and it is this unifying relationship into which He calls us, having paid the ultimate price to do so. Looking ahead to His resurrection, Jesus continued, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”3

This is difficult for us to imagine, but it is true—“All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.”4 Then as “God is love,”5 we can love as He does, for “love comes from God.”6 This is pure love, the patient and kind sort of love that keeps no record of wrongs and rejoices with the truth—always protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering.7 It is liberating love, so complete and secure that we can “love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us].”8 Yet God’s love is also the gauge by which we know our incomplete notion of love falls short. We are tempted, then, to condemn ourselves and withdraw from God in shame, or to make love a rule for us to keep in order to gain His favor. God does not condemn us, however, nor should we. And true love is not our means of reaching up to God to earn His favor, rather it is proof that He has reached out to us to show us His grace. Then, “[A]s we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”9 This is His doing; this is our joy.

Father, we pray your love will grow more abundantly in us and flow more fruitfully from us to those we encounter today. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.

1 John 14:8
2 2 John 14:9-11
3 John 14:20
4 1 John 4:15 NLT
5 1 John 4:8 NLT
6 1 John 4:7 NLT
7 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
8 Matthew 5:44
9 1 John 4:17 NLT

2 replies on “Living in God’s Eternal Love”

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