Love, the Governing Characteristic of God’s Kingdom

(1 John 4:16 NKJV) 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.

The primary characteristic of God’s nature is love. All that God is, and all that He does is the result of His love. Yet this love is far superior to any mere human understanding of love. Human love is often predicated upon the behavior of others towards us. As long as others treat us well, or reciprocate with the appropriate emotions or behaviors then we in turn give them our affirmation and affections in return.

God’s love on the other hand has absolutely nothing to do with the actions of others, because God does not seek man’s approval, or depend upon the affirmation of man for anything. While God desires that we respond to His love, and willfully return His affections through our obedience, worship, and kindness to others, His love for us does not change in the least if we refuse to do so.

From this we can conclude that God’s love is an expression of His eternal consistency. He is from day to day the same, and in this we can have confidence that His love for us will never fail, nor can it be exhausted.

Love Is the Greatest of All.

Love is the fulfillment of all the commandments of God. There are 613 commandments (laws) of God in all, and these can all be summed up within the ten commandments given by God through Moses.

These ten commandments can be divided into two categories. The first four are an expression of our love for God, while the last six deal with our love for our fellow man.

Jesus gave us the essence of all the commandments.

(Matthew 22:35-40 NKJV) Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, {36} “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” {37} Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ {38} “This is the first and great commandment. {39} “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ {40} “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

(NLT)  All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

The first four of these commandments emphasize our love for God.

1. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.

            2. ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image.

            3.  ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not

                 hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

            4. ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

We cannot love God if we do not obey His Commandments.

(John 14:15 NKJV)  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

(1 John 2:4 NKJV)  He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

(John 13:34 NKJV)  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

The last six of the commandments emphasize our love for others. It should be noted that we cannot fulfill the first four apart from keeping the last six.

5. ‘Honor your father and your mother…

            6. ‘You shall not murder. (Hating someone is the same as murder in God’s eyes)

            7. ‘You shall not commit adultery. (Looking with lust is the same as committing

                adultery)

            8. ‘You shall not steal.

            9. ‘You shall not lie.

            10. ‘You shall not covet.

Thus we can clearly see that the conclusion of all of the commandments is love. God is love, and therefore it only stand to reason that that the governing principle of His kingdom would be love.

Jesus gave us a detailed description of the practical application of how we are to live out our love for God, and others in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6-7). Latter, the apostle Paul gave us further description of the characteristics of love (1 Corinthians 13). Finally, the apostle John reiterated that we cannot love God if we refuse to keep His commandments, nor can we love God if we do not love others (1 John).

 

 

 

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