Posted by: dhkrause | June 19, 2016

God’s Love and Forgiveness

1 John 4 speaks of the out-flowing of God’s love – through Christ and through His people.  Being born of the Spirit, we can know Him through love, love as He loves, and forgive others out of love.

1 John 4 (NKJV)
Knowing God Through Love
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. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

John further declares that knowledge of God, and His love, comes by the gift of His Spirit:

1 John 4
Seeing God Through Love
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

John 1 teaches that those who receive Jesus are born again, from above:

John 1
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Jesus explains in John 3 that unless one is born of the water and the Spirit [born physically and spiritually], he cannot enter the kingdom of God:

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Believing in Jesus, we receive God’s gift of eternal life through Him.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus’ gift of abundant and eternal life comes through the Holy Spirit who lives in us:

John 4
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The Holy Spirit abides in those who receive and believe in Jesus, and His love and power flows through them:

John 7
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Romans 5:5 says, “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” The Holy Spirit enables love and forgiveness to flow from those who have been redeemed. Having received God’s  forgiveness, they forgive themselves and forgive others.

Romans 5 (NKJV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Love is the first “fruit of the Spirit” listed by Paul in Galatians 5:

Galatians 5 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Jesus declares in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”  He instructs the disciples in Matthew 5:44, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”.  The command to forgive is again underscored in Jesus’ prayer and teaching in Matthew 6:

Matthew 6 (Complete Jewish Bible – CJB)
12 Forgive us what we have done wrong,
as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us
.

14 For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours.

In Matthew 18:35 (CJB), Jesus says that If we treat others without mercy, God will treat us the same way: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat you, unless you each forgive your brother from your hearts.”  The vital importance of showing love, mercy and forgiveness to one another is described in James 2:13 (NKJV): “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  6-18-2016


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