Saturday, September 21, 2019

Love Never Ends

Photo by Pauuuvicious 2013
In the past two weeks, five Christian families we know have lost a loved one, and three years ago a dear friend of mine from high school 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
Edited and reposted from the archives


Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
absolutely love never ends. The love that I experienced in my NDE was above all that I have encountered while on earth. So if that place we are taken to eventually when we are in Christ is that beautiful then who would not want to be in the body of Christ on earth - acting on the Word spoken to us and spreading the gospel.
God bless you Laurie as you continue what you have been called to do during your time spent on this earth

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
As we go through our daily lives facing problems great and small, along with various degrees of tribulations, it's too easy to push love onto the wayside.
For an example, I can imagine a busy office with phones ringing and transactions being constantly negotiated and agreements hammered out before each issue is finally settled. It does look like love is the least of anyone's concern within such a buzzing environment.
Or I can imagine a busy highway where an incident causes a tailback of traffic, mainly of car drivers commuting to work. Again, if experience is anything to go by, it can be difficult to dwell on love if being aware of your boss glancing at your still-vacant desk and then at his wristwatch.
Yet despite all these and many more hassles, the very breath passing through are nostrils is a demonstration of God's universal love for all mankind, and his longing will for everyone who has breath to be reconciled to him through faith in his Son.
A very uplifting blog, God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! The joy we have in Him while here on earth is just a sweet foreshadowing of what we will experience with Him and our fellow saints in Heaven. May we spend our time here wisely ministering to others and serving Him.
God bless you too,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Praise the Lord for His unending love for all of us, demonstrated daily in His plan of salvation, His sustaining our lives, and even blessing us with the desires of our heart. May we not get so caught up in the devil's snares of busyness that we fail to notice and praise God for all His many blessings.
Thank you as always for your encouraging and uplifting comment. God bless,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

Many people fail to realize that were it not for God's eternal love he would long ago have destroyed the entire world, and every thing in it. His love is just as true for those who do not believe as for those who do, but because they don't believe, the refuse to accept or allow him to demonstrate that love, and as a result miss out on the blessings he wants to give, including eternal life.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! Many people see God as only a vengeful dictator, and others as a cosmic Santa, but the paradox is that He loves us infinitely, yet is perfect holy and must judge sin. Praise God that He sent His Son to die out of His great love for us, allowing Him to pay the price demanded by our sins. Thanks as always for sharing your insight and God bless,

Keith said...

Hi Laurie, As you know, I just lost my mother, but what I haven't expressed is the lack of hurt or loss that usually comes with the sorrow from the loss of a family member, whether it is immediate family or my extended church family.

Am I cold hearted or what? Then as the Spirit moved upon me, I realized that it's the result of God's Agape Love which has been consoling me. That Agape, as you say, a self sacrificing love, which is a Love born out of a total committment towards God and others, was coddling me, as it did the earth, in her infancy.

That Agape Love fills, protects and assures us of a time, in the no too distance future, when we will, without a doubt, be together again. Shalom, my friend.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Keith,
My condolences on your (temporary) loss. Praise the Lord that it is not goodbye, but until you meet again in Paradise. Praise God for the peace that passes all understanding and joy in His love.
Thanks for your comment and God bless,