“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (1 John 15:13).
In August, I wrote about hearing well-meaning Christians say things that don’t seem consistent with the message of ‘Christ in you’—the gospel of grace and truth. Paul makes it clear that we are to reckon as true what is the truth. We don’t make it true, we simply acknowledge that it is true already. We often inadvertently place ourselves in a state of unbelief when we think there is something else we need to do or add to Christ’s finished work.
The nature of God’s covenant-love (khésed = “lovingkindness”) is that He promises to hold up His end of the deal when it comes to faithfulness in bringing about the fulfillment of the conditions of the covenant, will, or testament. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). In a contract between two people, if one person doesn’t follow through, the contract is null and void. But in a covenant, if someone fails to fulfill his promise, someone must die.
Another way to see it is like a Last Will and Testament. Kelli’s father went to be with Jesus on October 4th. He had a will, but it was useless until he died. His death enacted the will. If someone had tried to take Gene’s belongings before his death, without his consent, they would be stealing and could be severely penalized.
We must confess, we have “let God down” when it comes to following through on the commitments and promises we have made to Him. We’ve all fallen short of His will, purpose, and design. The Scriptures say we should die for that (Romans 3:23; 6:23). But Jesus did not entrust Himself to man (John 2:24). God’s not relying on us. Hebrews 6:13 reads, “For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.”
Do you realize the significance of this covenant-love God has for us? The demands God required in His covenant, He also fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4). His covenant-love does not include us; that is, it is not between Himself and you or me. He swore an oath by His own name. He holds up BOTH ends of the deal! We were not in the courtroom when the divine documents were signed. Not one of us was worthy enough, holy enough, blameless enough, honorable enough, or remotely capable. You and I only appear in the legal agreement as beneficiaries. Did you hear that?! We are only relevant in God’s covenant-love (in God’s Will) as recipients of His great mercy and lovingkindness made possible through the death of His Son. That’s the amazing grace!
2 Peter 1:2-4: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers [not imitators] of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
We partake in the life of God as receivers, not achievers. His divine power has qualified us for eternal zoe-life? None of us are capable of living (or even asked to live) “the Christian life;” only Christ can live His life in us. Therefore, we don’t imitate Christ, but participate in His life. God flips the world’s Performance-Based Acceptance (PBA) on it’s head. He operates under “Acceptance-Based Performance” (ABP). Do you realize that only Christ’s performance makes you acceptable to the Father? So, why do we keep inserting ourselves into the equation? Pride and “blinded minds” keep us from enjoying the covenant-love of God, the only remedy for escaping worldliness. What Great Love.