A Devotion for 19 March 2021 Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord), the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”
(Proverbs 10:12;all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“nd above all things have fervent charity(LOVE) among yourselves: for charity(LOVE) shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein 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 ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
(1 John 4:7-13)
My friends, I need not tell you of the profound power of love; love was the impetus for the Creation of the world, of life itself, and of the price paid for our salvation in Christ and, therefore, life eternal. Love is multidimensional and multifaceted. There are worldly attractions (falsely so called love) such as that of the carnal mind; there is natural love such as exist at all levels of the animal kingdom expressed by the mother’s love for her babies; and there is divine love which is expressed in the bloody sacrifice at Calvary.
The first example – worldly love – is not truly love at all, but a simple attraction. A woman may say that she loves diamonds, or a vintage wine – but that is not love but rather an attraction spurred by fleshly desire. We carelessly claim to love chocolate, or reading, or travel; yet, these are kindled, not by sacrificial love, but by simply strong preferences. All genuine love descends from God and permeates both spheres – the natural and divine.
A mother deer will love her fawn with a love that transcends her life. She will bear the pain of death in protecting her baby. This love is instilled by the Creator at the moment of conception of the creature for the sake of perpetuating the species. There are endless accounts of a mother sacrificing her life to defend her children. Look at the mother hen to which our Lord made reference in covering her progeny with her wings – not just against the storm, but against the predator who means to destroy them. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37) She will die with her wings spread in covering them. The Divine and Almighty Wings of our Lord were thusly spread abroad in the defense and salvation of His elect at the dark day of His passion without the gate of Jerusalem. This act at Calvary combined the natural love with that of the divine.
Though there are many applications of love given in Scripture, I will emphasize today that love which the believer must practice “one to another.”
All love is of God whether natural or divine. If we bear the image and likeness of our Maker, we must possess the qualities of love which He has shared to us. The Ten Commandments are not done away but rather made more binding by the one element of LOVE. When our Lord gave us the two Great Commandments, it was a declaration that bound us to the Ten by way of love – the only means by which we are able to obey God.
Though our Lord did not annul the Ten Commandments, He did give us ONE new Commandment – and what was it? “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34) This new Commandment did nothing to nullify the other Commandments of God because God does not change in either mind of purpose. “For I am the LORD, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6) But it did add rigidity of purpose to our obedience of all Commandments. That rigidity is Love which is unfailing.
How are we to love one another as Christ loves us? Simple! Our love must be self-sacrificing and pure. If we love our neighbor as ourselves, how can we withhold any need from them that we can satisfy? The wounded man on the road to Jericho did not live next door to the Good Samaritan. In fact, he, being a Jew, would have scorned the Samaritan as the Jewish rulers scorned our Lord. But the Samaritan saw his desperate need and, without question, went to him sharing his time, resources and, yes, love!
THE SOURCE OF LOVE:
Again, the SOURCE of ALL love is from God! “ . . . . for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” “We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:19-21)
THE WITNESS OF LOVE:
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) You see? Love is a seal and passport declaring who we are in Christ. As is the Maker, so is the product. When we go about sharing the Gospel but show disdain or hate for the lost, what are they to believe about our gospel. Perhaps it is not genuine, is it. Just like currency in circulation of a nation – we bear the likeness and seal of the issuing authority. Do we bear that seal of love and name of our Maker – our Lord Jesus Christ – in our daily walk?
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF LOVE:
Love is patient and long suffering. It is never proud, but humble. It seeks to comfort and not to hurt. “ . . . . Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” The most extensive description of the character of love is found in the ‘love chapter’ of the Bible: “1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Cor 13)
RESULTS OF LOVE:
“If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” Do we hunger to know God more intimately and to be purer servants of His care? “ . . . . every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” We learn the heart treasure of our friends and neighbors through the power of love. We fell in love with our future spouses through that same power. It makes us to be loyal, kind and forgiving in marriage as well as society.
LOVE IS TEACHER TO THE DEVOUT:
“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9) Perhaps the purest source we can know intimately of love is that of the Holy Spirit who, as a dove, points always to Christ and His love for us.
THE PURITY OF OUR LOVER:
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:22-23)
Friends, judge yourselves by the measuring stick of love and God will not judge you. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judge.” (1 Corinthians 11:31)
If we can love our pets, we surely can love each other!