I Give You Jesus
During the Fourth of July each year, I like to pause and remember the huge sacrifice of love that was given for my freedom, initially by a band of patriots and then repeated over and over again. I treasure this freedom! There is nothing like it on this planet. It is not perfect. It is not without its challenges. Nevertheless, the love that it took to preserve that freedom is precious indeed.
So, too, is the incredible freedom that I have in Jesus Christ. In Christ, I am free and loved with an everlasting love. 1 Corinthians 13 is often used as the basis for love for many things. Often it is used at weddings. Sometimes, it is inappropriately used as means to dismiss bad behavior or as a reminder for being tolerant. The original word for love in this chapter is one that is often called “brotherly love” or “charity,” as it is in the King James Version (KJV).
Frankly, it is a word of principled love, not a sexual love or the love between family members. This love that Paul speaks of is a love that acts responsibly and acts with dignity. Philippians 4:8.
The Bible tells me: First, all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23); Second, the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23); Third, the Godhead had a plan to save mankind from sin. The first evidence of this is a promise given to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:15); Fourth, Jesus gave us the sanctuary service to help us visually see the plan of salvation in its beauty. And from that experience we learn clearly what Paul shares with the Hebrew believers, that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. (Hebrews 9:22).
Jesus then demonstrated this principle very clearly. He came to Earth, took on humanity and then died in your place and mine as the law demanded.
He loved so much that He gave His life as an atonement for sin. Praise God! That is genuine love! The same as demonstrated in the Old Testament in the most Holy Place where He came down in the presence of light, the Shekinah, as a form of His great love. God’s law was contained in the Ark of the Covenant and where God’s law and God’s love met was at the Mercy seat. Praise God that is principled love! That is genuine grace!
And God requires you and I to love like He does, with principle. We love in order to restore and love to encourage and love to live responsibly. Two thousand years ago, Jesus did this for you and me. Let us love one another with the same passion and compassion as Jesus did: “He has shown thee O man what to do and what is required of thee, but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:8 (KJV).
By Richard C. Dye, Sr.