God is not in love with you. To say that He is would be to imply that He might also be out of love with you. God doesn’t love you one day and not love you the next. To say that God is in love with you could also mean that He chose you at some point in time for some reason. For instance, it might have been that he came to love you because of your great personality and charm, or your athletic ability or great figure. The truth is this: He just loves you. He LOVES Y-O-U! He has always loved you, since before time, and He will always love you, even beyond time. He loved you before He ever created anything. And He created you because He already loved you.
Love is not a thing with God. That is, it isn’t something He does. Neither does He think about it. He spends absolutely no time considering whether or not He should love or will love. He is love, and for Him who is love to consider whether or not to love would be like a human being considering whether he or she should act human. We spend absolutely no time wondering whether we will for some period of time act in some way other than human, say like a dog, a cat or an alligator. We act human because we are human. Likewise, God loves because He is love.
God always acts from a position of love because He is love.
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8)
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16)
Love is a fundamental characteristic of God, and getting our minds around this truth is necessary for our understanding of Him. His love is an all-giving love. It is agapē love. It is covenant love. Let me repeat the second sentence in 1 John 4:16, “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” We now know from my previous articles when two are said to be in each other, they are in covenant.
Covenant is part and parcel of who God is. Therefore, covenant is essentially a love relationship. It is not a relationship built on the kind of love mankind has produced, rather it is based entirely on God’s kind of love.
The ramifications of this fact are far-reaching. First and foremost, it means that covenant is much more than a doctrine to be learned. It is a relationship to be entered into and lived out of. This idea of covenant with God being more than a theological doctrine to be argued and debated will shake you at your core when you really get it. I know because it did just that very thing to me.
I don’t know if I can put it into words, but I was in absolute awe when the reality of the enormity of having a blood covenant relationship with God first dawned in my brain and heart. That was two decades ago, yet, even now when I think of it I have to stop and try to catch hold of the vastness of it all, and I am awestruck once again.
People have a difficult time comprehending the love of God because of our ingrained sin nature. Even believers, washed in the covenant blood of Jesus, though no longer living as sinners, have a difficult time getting past the memory of their old nature to see clearly into this fascinating realm of pure, unadulterated and unbiased love of God.
When I learn of extraordinary acts of kindness on the part of people somewhere in the world, I sometimes catch a glimpse of what God’s love is like. But I guess the most reliable and consistent place to learn about God’s love is to look in the Bible.
Given For Our Instruction
The Holy Spirit directed Paul to write:
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
All of the events that appear in the Bible, from the lives of individuals to the rise and fall of nations, was written for our instruction. That means the stories we read in the Bible were carefully selected from all of the events that took place in the world. God selected them because of their instructional value. Then He found men with hearts that could be inspired by the urging and prompting of the Holy Spirit, and they were directed to write the stories at His direction. God then empowered and entrusted the Jewish people to preserve and protect His instruction manual to mankind. He has continued to preserve His word to the present day in the form of the Old and New Covenants that make up the Jewish and Christian Scriptures.
God has made a significant investment to ensure we are instructed in His character and His ways. His purpose is “that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4b) And this hope is a covenant hope.
25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,
26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,
27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:25-27)
We understand from my previous covenant articles that the phrase “Christ in you” is a covenant expression. “Christ in you” actually means “Christ in covenant with you.” Therefore, covenant is the mystery which was hidden, but has now been made known to the body of Christ. And covenant with Jesus Christ is our hope. It is also the subject of all of the instruction to be found in the Bible.
To be in a blood covenant is to be in a love relationship like no other. The love of a blood covenant relationship is a God kind of love … it gives all … it asks for nothing in return … it is totally unselfish. The only way to be in a blood covenant relationship with God is to love Him with the same kind of love with which He loves us. Jesus taught the disciples with the following words:
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
Each party of the covenant loves with the same kind of love. God, through Jesus Christ, makes covenant with us with His kind of love, and it is with His kind of love that we are to love Him in return if we are to be in covenant with Him. That’s what Jesus said, and it is not just an idea we can accept or reject, it’s a commandment.
It isn’t strange that Jesus would instruct us about the covenant since He is the Messenger of the Covenant.
“Behold, I am going to send My messenger [John the Baptist], and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord [Jesus Christ], whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He [Jesus Christ] is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
Covenant Equals Law
It is recorded in Deuteronomy that:
“The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.” (Deuteronomy 5:2)
This covenant was the Ten Commandments spoken by God to the people of Israel and later written in tablets of stone by the finger of God. Moses refers to the tablets as the tablets of the covenant.
9 “When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD had made with you, then I remained on the mountain forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water.
10 “The LORD gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken with you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly.
11 “It came about at the end of forty days and nights that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.”
15 “So I turned and came down from the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.” (Deuteronomy 9:9-11, 15)
When king Josiah was eighteen, he ordered that the house of the Lord, the temple, be refurbished since it had been damaged and was in need of repair. While the repairs were being made, Hilkiah, the high priest, finds the Book of the Law.
Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan who read it. (2 Kings 22:8)
Then Shaphan took the book to the king and read it in his presence. King Josiah then commands that the elders of Judah and all the people be gathered so they can hear the words of the book. And it is recorded that:
The king went up to the house of the LORD and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. (2 Kings 23:2)
We see from the verses above that the book of the law and the book of the covenant are the same book. There is no difference between Law and Covenant. Therefore, since the covenant is a love relationship so is the law. Little wonder Paul would write:
8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
Note that Paul says that mandates from the Ten Commandments are summed up in the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. It should be clear that those who would enter covenant with Jesus are required to love others with a God kind of love, especially our brothers and sisters who are also in covenant with Him.
The love spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13 describes covenant love … a God kind of love.
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
The Good News Is Really Good
1 Corinthians 13 describes covenant love … agapē love … God’s kind of love. The good news is that God is calling all mankind to join Him in the greatest love relationship of all time. This relationship extends beyond time to all eternity. God is calling us because entering a blood covenant with God isn’t automatic, it doesn’t just happen. We aren’t born into this covenant of covenants. Neither do we enter into it because we were raised in a certain denomination. We must make a choice. God extends this invitation in, by and through Jesus Christ, and every person must choose whether to accept or reject it.
What decision have you made?