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Friday, March 16, 2012

Christian Love

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"But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christóby grace you have been savedó and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus."-Ephesians 2: 4-7

What does it mean to love someone else in the Christian sense of the term? Love is the hallmark of the Christian faith, yet almost none of us really spend a lot of time thinking or talking about it. So if this is something you have not really considered fear not, because God's love, and hence Christian love itself, is on full display right here in these verses from Ephesians. To set the stage, the author has been clear in the verses leading up to these that humanity is rubbish, and I think any of us who watch the news or have been to Wal-Mart on Black Friday can agree with this sentiment. We are mostly bad. And in God's eyes, we are certainly mostly bad. So here we have a God who created us out of divine love to live in perfect relationship with us, but then watched us fall in a most miserable way and then was faced with the prospect of deciding what to do next. Did God give up? No. Did God walk away? No. Did God punish and destroy? No. God continued to love, and that love is manifest nowhere more clearly than in Christ.

Through Christ all is made well. All those bad things you have done...whoosh, wiped away. All those sins you committed...gone. In fact, everything that had previously separated you from God is overcome, and you will be restored to God through Christ. Now that is love; to look past all that your beloved has done wrong, the myriad ways in which they have failed you, and to still, still love them abundantly. This is the type of love God has for us; that nothing in life nor death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. That, my friends, is Christian love. It is unfailing, undying, unrelenting. It is eternal, and it is offered freely by God through grace. How about them apples!

Prayer: Holy God, thank you for loving me today. I am sorry I have sinned against you and my neighbor, but I thank you for loving me anyway. I am your devoted servant, and I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

[Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]

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