Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross atoned for our sins, removing the condemnation and power sin had over us. But when He rose from the dead He took His rightful position at the right hand of God becoming then our advocate, mediator, and champion. I John 2:1 reminds us, “We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ.” Remember, you have someone who is ever-present at the elbow of God appealing on your behalf…intervening for your good…defending your case – Jesus Christ is His name.
To move towards loving one another…we must move away from false definitions of love and let love be defined by the death of Christ. Human love is selfish…it desires something in return and has strings attached. But if we look at this verse, we see that we had nothing to do with the unconditional love God showed to us by sending Jesus to die for our sins. In fact, it says that God loved us before we even knew anything about Him…while we were still rebelling against anything Godly, it says, He still loved us. So to love one another as Christ loved us, our love must be as limitless and absolute as His…as selfless and merciful as the Cross.
The whole of mankind hoped with eager anticipation…awaiting the promise of the fulfillment of the coming Messiah…only to watch Him die a terrible and horrific death on the Cross. The day after that shocking event, the human soul was holding its breath…struggling to remember the words of Jesus while despair tried to crowd out any shred of hope. Human life hung in the balance between hope and hopelessness that fateful day. But God is the God of hope, (Romans 15:13) and we have this hope as an anchor. (Hebrews 6:19) So if today, you’re facing the impossible, the incurable, the irreversible…put your hope in God and fix your eyes on Him. For if God can raise Jesus from the dead, He can breathe life into your sick, dying body, revive a struggling marriage, or break the chains of addiction off a loved one. For as long as there is hope, there’s life.
The Apostle Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 urging others not to seek justice themselves out of anger or spite. For Proverbs 20:22 tells us, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you.” But when we’re angry and frustrated, and think no one has our back…we tend to react badly. It’s at that point that we need to take a deep breath and remember that the Lord tells us that He will defend us. (Jeremiah 51:36)
When your motive of ministry to others is true…it is not only empowered by the Holy Spirit, but it’s powerful… impacting the total person. Your ministry doesn’t just tickle them with feel good, wishy-washy platitudes…it challenges them to a higher calling. The Christian journey should be an ever upwards climb filled with trials and tests that make us better…not a passive, apathetic walk where we are left weak and ineffective for the Lord.
This time of year we are inundated with requests and pleas for donations. They call on the phone, they mail us fliers, they approach us in public places. All these overwhelming requests can turn anyone cold towards helping others…to the point of thinking, ” I can’t give, I can hardly get by with what I have!” Paul addressed this in II Corinthians 8:2 – where he explained even though the Church in Macedonia was going through severe trials and extreme poverty, their joy of the Lord overflowed and welled up into rich generosity towards others. God has proven over and over again that you can’t out give Him. So allow joy and thankfulness to fill your heart this Holiday Season as you give generously to others…not out of your lack, but out of His riches.
Earlier in this chapter Paul asks the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) His answer here is – no one or thing can possibly come between us and Jesus. No rule or force of man…no point in time…no act of good or evil can ever cut the tie we have with our Lord. The bottom line is, there is nothing in creation that can keep us apart from God…for the entirety of creation is under His authority.