All throughout scripture and church, we hear of God’s love as well as Jesus’ love. But oftentimes we ask ourself if it is really as unconditional as we are told it is, or if the unconditionality of this love is just meant to be a figure of speech, used to demonstrate something to us.
In looking at the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, we can see that he truly believed in this love as being real. This can be demonstrated with 3 verses in chapter 8, which Paul writes:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
This passage, although it seems on the surface to be very simple, can be looked at as a very theological passage. In it, Paul is saying to the Romans that no matter what struggles they may face in their lives, they are to always remember that Jesus will be there for them, and that they need not worry about the problems they face. As long as they have faith in God and Jesus, they will be fine no matter what others say, both now and forever.
Later on during his ministry, Paul again writes about love in Galations 5, when he says:
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6 NIV)
So you may be asking what exactly this passage means. To understand it, we need to look back to the book of Genesis and God’s covenant with Abaham. In this covenant, which is chapter 17, God speaks very specifically about circumcision. Here is what he has to say:
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty ; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” Then God said to Abraham, As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner-those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” (Genesis 17: 1 – 14 NIV)
This passage has an extremely deep theological basis to it, but we are just going to be touching on the surface of it. During the time of Abraham, circumcision was seen as one of the indicators of your belief in God. HOwever,due to Christ’s death and resurection circumcision is no longer seen as an extremely important thing. Through this death and resurection, a new covenant was created through Christ’s blood being spilled. Jesus speaks of this new covenant in both John and Luke. Let’s just take a little look at these important passages:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
In this passage, we see Jesus giving a command. We can not look at this as though it is a suggestion, rather it is a direct command from God. We can say this because Jesus and God are one, and so therefore anything tha Jesus says as a command can be said is a command from God.
Around the same time that the discourse in John was taking place (last supper), Jesus and the disciples partake in what we now call communion. After having broken the bread,Jesus says:
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:20 NIV)
In other words, Jesus is saying that his death is a new sign for believers of a new covenent. In the covenant handed down to Abraham, the sign was circumsicion. For Moses, it was promised land. And for our generation, it is the death of Jesus on the cross and his subsequent resurection.
The basic fact that Jesus would submit himself to death on a cross, which in the time He was on eath meant that you would be cursed, shows a love for the world that we can not even begin to understand. During his prayer before Judas berays him, he says:
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42 NIV)
Through this passage, we can see that although Jesus understood what was happening to him, he was willing to give up his life because of a love that he had for the world.
So what does all of this have to do with whether or not Jesus’ love is for me? It has quite a bit actually. BY what we have seen throughout all of scripture, we can see that God is God who deeply loves us and desperately wants to have a relationship with us. By these passages, we can see that God’s love andin turn the love of Jesus ismost definately for us. All that we need to do is be willing to accept the love that he offers us.
Our generation desperately needs to realize the importance of Jesus’ love for us and we need to demonstrate this to our friends.Although we can not do this by ourselves, we can do all things through Him who enables us to do so. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (NIV)
If the greatest of these three things is love, then why are we not out there showing love to our neighbours, like Jesus told us to? We seem to be in a state where we know the Truth and want to express it, yet feel pressure through our peers to do what the world wants us to.
Whenever the church has shown this type of love, they have been doing better then when the church does not show this love. The original church had a doctrine to follow the commands of Jesus, and they did so faithfuly. The church as it is today has the same doctrines, yet many times does not follow them faithfully. Why is this? There are many factors and they are very difficult to understand.
So let’s step up and begin to follow the commands of Jesus and love the world as he first loved us!