“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes” ~ 1 John 2:7-11.
At first my eyes fell on the obvious, but God quickly led me to the deeper. As His chosen people, meant for Light, to be His Light, being in the world but not of it, we are called to “BE”: Be as He is.
Yes, we could easily go to “love” as our topic for today. We are called to love one another, especially our Christian family members, but we are also called to love our enemies, as previously discussed in this study. Jesus said it is easy to love those who love us, but we are called and equipped to do that which seems impossible to the rest of the world. We are called to love even the unlovable of this world, those who actively hate us and are out to do us harm. Why? Because we are to love as God loves so that we are His Light to dispel the darkness around us.
And how does God love? God loves because HE IS LOVE, therefore He can do no less and still remain true to Himself. God loves all mankind, all His created beings – yes, I believe even the one we call the Devil, Lucifer, Satan. He loves all His created beings because He is love. He does not love all our ways of being and doing, but He loves us. He comes against evil, hating evil, but He does not hate the one doing the evil. I believe it hurts His heart to have to destroy one He loves who is attached vehemently to evil ways. I believe it grieved God to have to cast Satan and those with him, who are part of His created angel-forces, casting them out of His kingdom because he would not turn from his sinful pride. God will tarry long over a person, giving that one every chance to come to the knowledge of God through Christ, because, though He hates the evil, He loves the person, and I believe He tarried long with Lucifer before finally dealing with Him. We know Lucifer was awhile in his sin because he had time to turn 1/3 of the hosts of heaven to follow him.
Evil continues in the earth not because God does not care, but because He does! God so loved the world – all mankind, whether or not they have chosen Him, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever – WHOEVER – believes so as to put their trust in His Son and the sacrifice He became on our behalf, shall be saved. Therefore He tarries, giving each individual every opportunity to turn in faith and receive this gift of grace. God’s purpose to reach all who will join Him in His kingdom through His gift of grace found in Christ stays the Hand of punishment against those who commit the evil until their decision against Him is set and the time allotted for them to turn is up.
God loves because of who He is and He loves all. Boy, I could get off on a discussion of love real easily, and God is leading me to do a study of love for posting here, but for now, as we prepare to weather the things that are unfolding, we need to realize Jehovah – “I AM” – is who He is, He cannot be any less; and we are called to “BE” as He is (1 John 4:17). We can grow stronger in who we are as His people, called and equipped for such a time as this, as we learn who He is and how He functions out of the resource-pool of His character / nature. We are to be as He is so we have confidence in the Day of Judgment. Discovering His character and developing it for ourselves, functioning out of the resource of His Spirit who makes us as He is, is vital to our traversing the days coming upon us.
There are two things I see that determine God’s actions and reactions: His sure knowledge and practice of Who He is, coupled with His sure focus on His purpose and plans for all things. If He took action out of who He is with no purpose to help direct His actions, I can see one of two things happening. His love would hinder punishment of evil; or His righteousness would destroy all despite love, because all mankind sins and fails to achieve His glory. God is true to His word and will not go against His promise / purpose. God knows who He is and He knows His purposes, and these two aspects work together to direct His actions and reactions.
An example of how His character and purposes work together in His decisions is found in Numbers 16, when Korah and those with him came against Moses, claiming a holiness that was not true, leading to God opening the earth to swallow up him, his family, and all with him. Seems harsh and overboard and certainly does not seem to fit with God being a God of love who is patient toward us, not wishing any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9): that is until we break it down.
God, who is love, is patient and will give every opportunity to those who have potential to change their mind and heart attitude. But God knows the heart of every man, and He knows when a person has made their decision and will not turn to His way of thinking and being, or to His purposes. Besides being love and patient, God is also Protector. He protects those who are His. Korah and those with him were set in pride and arrogance against God’s chosen, which put them against God and His purposes. Their attitude and falsehood were acting like leaven in dough, spreading and putting the lot in danger of falling away from God. So out of love for those who still had a heart for God and His ways, He removed the leaven of sin so as to protect the rest from it.
A modern day example is seen in what is going on in Iraq. Is it God’s will for us to go against ISIS? I believe it fits with His ways. ISIS is threatening the very lives of God’s people. It is like Him to send His disciplining hand against those who are arrogantly coming against His chosen people, those surrendered to Him as God, threatening to turn His beloveds away from Him to follow after evil spurned by pride.
Some would say, “Well, let Him swallow them up then!” But God does not always work that way. We have more examples of God sending the sword through His army of people to bring the destruction of those who stood against Him and His ways, than we have of Him sending a natural disaster. Thus I believe that our armies being led to go against ISIS to protect God’s people there is His response in this hour. God often calls on His people to be His hand of protection for these who do not have resource or strength to fight for themselves. Should having to take this action grieve us? Yes! We are love, desiring those ensnared by the philosophy found in those of ISIS to find God through Christ. But knowing that their leaven of falsehood is threatening the lives of those who are His, He is forced to take a stand, and we are part of His response.
Beloved, God is still working a plan in the earth that is bringing about His eternal purpose. It is vital in these days that we develop godliness by: one, learning to know who we are in Christ and developing those characteristics. We are a new creation, having a new resource pool of characteristics to dictate our actions and reactions. And two, we are His representatives, called and equipped to work with Him in fulfilling His eternal purpose. So it is vital that we learn His heart for every situation that comes upon us, having understanding of His purposes, so we act and react in ways that represent His interests and work His plans out to fruition.
We must be as He is, in character, yes, but also in purpose, thought and action. We are to represent Him well in the world, while working alongside Him to fulfill the purpose of creating for Himself a people after His own heart that will be with Him for all eternity.