by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
Keynote Speaker, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries
Week 4 of Advent: Love
Love is more than just a word – it’s a verb. If someone says, “I love you,” but their actions don’t demonstrate love, we likely are not going to believe that person loves us. When we love someone, we show them in the things we do for them, how we speak to them and about them, and how we take care of them. God demonstrated His love for us in all of these ways. But the biggest way He demonstrated His love for us was in sending Jesus to be born of a virgin and laid in a manger so that he would grow up to be nailed to a cross, die, and rise from the dead so that we could have eternal life.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
— Romans 5:8
It’s easy to love those that love us back. Those who treat us well, with respect. We find it easy to love people who are like us. We love our friends, parents, children, siblings, and extended family. Hopefully, its easy to love your spouse. But what about loving those who are unlovable, different, hard to get along with, or those who have hurt us in some way?
The difference in how we love others from how God loves us, is that even when we were His enemy and lost in sin without Christ, God still sent Jesus to die in our place and be the propitiation for our sins. When he died on the cross, Jesus appeased the wrath of God caused by our sin. It was the reason that Jesus came to earth. He was sent by God as a demonstration to us of how much God loves us. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Did you know you are a “whoever?” It doesn’t matter what you’ve done (or are doing now). Your past doesn’t matter. How you grew up doesn’t matter. Your financial status doesn’t matter. Your political party doesn’t matter. There are no “big” or “little” sins in God’s eyes. We have all sinned and fall short of His glory. So each and every one of us is a “whoever.” That’s good news! Because whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have eternal life. You just have to believe by faith that Jesus is the Son of God who was born, lived, died, and rose again to pay the price for your sin. Then by faith, you accept His free gift of salvation and acknowledge Him as Lord of your life. If you’ve done that, then eternal life is yours. If you haven’t, it can be yours right now.
Romans 10:9-10 says that “if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” In the words of J.D. Greerer, “J.D Greerer, “It’s not the prayer that saves; it’s the repentance and faith behind the prayer that lays hold of salvation.
What is repentance?
Christianity.com explains repentance:
In the Old Testament, two Hebrew words help us understand repentance. The first is the word “nacham,” which means to turn around or to change the mind. The second is the word “sub.” It is used over 600 times in the Old Testament and is translated by such words as “turn,” “return,” “seek,” “restore.” You see it very often in phrases like “to turn to the Lord with all your heart.”
When you come to the New Testament there is one word you need to know — the Greek word metanoia, which literally means “to change the mind.” Repentance fundamentally means to change your mind about something. It has to do with the way you think about something. You’ve been thinking one way, but now you think the opposite way. That’s repentance — the changing of the mind.
Repentance is a perfect description of what happens when you come to Christ. You no longer reject Christ, but now you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. You do a spiritual about-face, which in turn changes everything.
And not only do you change your mind about Christ, but you change your mind about sin as well as you discover what it really means to honor God. You realize that it’s no longer about performance. It’s about a heart attitude that confesses Christ and seeks to honor Him in every aspect of life!
Repentance is the demonstration of our Love to God
God demonstrated His love to us through His Son, Jesus. Jesus demonstrated His love for us by sacrificing His life in our place to pay the ages for our sin. Repentance is one way we demonstrate of our love to God. Once we have placed our faith in Christ and become a Christian, we can not ever lose our salvation. Yet, we’re still human and humans sin – every day. So repentance is something we do over and over.
Thankfully, Jesus’ payment for our sins, covers all our sins – every single one of them. But neither is our salvation an excuse to go on sinning. If repentance has occurred, then our mind and heart has changed toward how we think and feel about sin. As we grow in Christ, we should find ourselves sinning less and less. We will have a heart that out of our love for God, we want to do what honors and glorifies Him. As we live in obedience to Him, we continue to demonstrate our love to Him.
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
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