Saturday, August 27, 2016

Love Never Ends

Photo by Bogdan 2005

A dear friend of mine from high school recently lost her son. I cannot even begin to imagine how deep a loss that is, and psychologists say that is the worst life event one could possibly endure. She has so beautifully preserved his memory and his life-affirming spirit in so many ways – celebrating his birthday, placing a memorial bench along a path he enjoyed hiking, and writing many moving Facebook posts.

In response to one of these posts I wrote “Love never ends,” as the Spirit moved me. But as I thought about it subsequently, I realized that there is a sound theological basis underpinning that statement.

John, the beloved apostle of Christ, wrote that God is love (1 John 4:8). God is never-ending, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13), the self-existent, great “I AM” (Exodus 3:14) Who spoke His creation into existence (John 1:1-3). So, if God is love, and God transcends all time, then love also must never end. John went on to say that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), and that we love Him and one another as an expression of His love (1 John 4:7-21). So even human love, as empowered by His divine love, must also never end.

Jesus Himself summarized all the commandments by telling us to love God and to love one another (Matthew 22:37-40). “Agape,” translated from the Greek as “charity” in the King James Version, is that self-sacrificing love epitomized by Christ, giving all while receiving nothing in return. He suffered on the cross, laid down His life for His friends (John 15:13), and was the perfect, sinless sacrifice to pay for all our sins (John 1:29) even while we were His enemies (Romans 5:6-10).

This agape love is what God is, and what we hope to emulate in our earthly relationships. None of this is possible without yielding to His Holy Spirit, Who indwells each believer (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30) at the moment we are born again (John 3:3-8) by placing our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).

John also writes that God is light, referring to His perfect holiness and purity untainted by even one iota of darkness (John 1:4-5; 1 John 1:5). Through the science of physics we now know that light also never ends, for it is an energy wave composed of particles known as photons, and it cannot be created or destroyed. (However, Einstein discovered that under extraordinary circumstances, energy and matter are interconvertible). Because light never ends, we ultimately can see light from distant stars many, many light-years away.

Because God is love, and God is light, then love must also be light, a never-ending, pure, holy, spiritual energy emanating from God Himself. Finally, John reveals that God is Spirit (John 4:24), which further confirms the spiritual nature not only of God but also of love.

In the well-known “love” chapter of Scripture, 1 Corinthians 13, often read at weddings, the apostle Paul explains that love is the motivator that gives our words, deeds, and life itself its meaning. We can be the most eloquent of speakers; have impressive spiritual gifts of prophecy, tongues and faith; and do charitable deeds, even the ultimate self-sacrifice of giving our body to be burned. But unless these are motivated by love, they are without meaning or value.

Faith is the cornerstone of our salvation, for we are saved by God’s grace through our faith in His Son (Ephesians 2:8-9), and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Our glorious, living hope (1 Peter 1:3; Titus 2:13) is in Christ’s return for His children at the Rapture, when we shall be as He is and live eternally with Him and our loved ones in Him (1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). That hope encourages us to press on even when our earthly circumstances and future seem bleak.

But Paul writes that love is even greater than faith and hope! (1 Corinthians 13:13). I believe that is because of the eternal nature of love, but not of faith and of hope. Now we experience Christ imperfectly through His Word and His Spirit within us. We have faith in His precious promises, and hope that He will soon return. But when we see Him face to face, we shall know Him perfectly and completely even as He knows us! (1 Corinthians 13:10-12)

Then we will no longer need faith or hope, for His promises will be wholly and eternally fulfilled. We don’t need to believe or hope that we will receive a reward once we actually receive it. We will live and reign forever with Him in glorified bodies that will never age, sin, or experience sickness, sorrow or pain (1 Corinthians 15:35-50). We will forever enjoy His radiant presence and that of our loved ones in Him, never having to say goodbye, even if temporary. The glories of Heaven and the bliss we shall experience there are beyond our imagination (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Faith and hope will vanish, for they will no longer be needed, but love shall endure! Heaven will overflow with fountains of love for Him and for one another, for love never ends! Even while we walk this earth, we can know that Spirit-inspired love for Christ and for one another will never end. May we spend our days as channels of His perfect love!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop


Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
It was very sad to hear of your friend losing her son. My son's first wife died in her mid thirties. My greatest comfort is that she loved the Lord and if she is where I was taken when I had my 'death experience', the third heaven, then she is in a beautiful place to which this world has no comparison.
Regarding 'love', I believe the greatest test of whether we truly love a person is using 1 Corinthians ch. 13. as our plumb line. Are we kind to that person, are we not keeping a record of wrongs... and all the other things stated there. It is a wonderful way of helping us to learn to love as God loves.
As for God being light, I have always thought of Him as a shaft of light. I can only have darkness come into my life if I walk away from that shaft of light, the journey is mine and as I grow in Him I learn how to stay in that light.
God bless you Laurie.

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
That is a wonderful expression of the eternal love of God in the present and in eternity to come.
I have always looked at this this way:
That in the Triune Godhead the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father. The Father loves the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit loves the Father. The Son loves the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit loves the Son. This can be likened to the filament in a light bulb, the energy of love providing light to the entire Universe. And God created mankind for the initial purpose of sharing in His love for all eternity.
This is the simple answer to the question no secular philosopher was ever able to answer:
Why are we here?
A great post, God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
So true, that 1 Cor 13 tells us what true love is. Only God can love like that, and yet He is the example we must try to follow. This is only possible through the light of the Holy Spirit living within each believer. May we daily follow His light.
God bless you too!

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Thank you for your encouraging words and for sharing your insights on the circle of love that is the Trinity. Praise God for His infinite, never-ending love.
God bless,

Winkel's Crazy Ideas said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend loosing her son. My dear Gran and Grandad lost three little girls. The deepest sorrow. She used to talk a lot about them and Jesus her living hope. Now they are all together again. How beautiful it is, that God's love never ends. I lost two people very dear and close to me, they stopped loving me and I still don't know why. The first years I felt a lot of hate and anger, but God gradually got through to me and helped me understad that; I can still go on loving them in Him. If one day they come back, I can meet them both with love, because He loved me first. My prayer for each new day is that He create in me a loving heart, and chase out all bitterness and anger. I am full of limitations but God's love never ends. Blessings, Pam in Norway

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Pam,
Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights -- they are much appreciated. Praying for your earthly relationships to be restored. Praise God for our living hope in Christ; that we will be reunited with our loved ones in Him and live forever with Him, and that He gave us His Holy Spirit to guide us to love and away from bitterness and anger.
Blessings to you,

Donald Fishgrab said...

God's love is unconditional and never fails. Unfortunately, human love is conditional, and frequently fails because the conditions are not met or have changed. In reality it is not love for the person but for some action or characteristic, and when that is removed, there is no longer concern about how badly a person is hurt. They often become quite vindictive.

As a pastor, I often see the difference between godly love and carnal love in marriages and family relationships. Godly love is easily entreated, but carnal love will only yield when it gets its way. On can only wonder if the reason God casts the ungodly into the lake of fire is to prevent them from continuing to hurt those who love him.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Donald! God's infinite love is beyond our comprehension now, but we will understand it when we see Him face to face. In the meantime, our sin nature may lead us to hurt those we love, particularly when we feel wronged or disappointed. May we yield to His Spirit and let His love flow through us.

Thanks as always for sharing your experience and insights. God bless,