Due to Valentine’s Day, the focus in February is on love. Thus, the title of this week’s Message of Faith is “The Experience and Expression of God’s Love”. Which for me is a fascinating discussion, because I’m not sure it’s possible to know what love is before it’s experienced.
Genesis 1:27 reads, “Thus God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” By faith I believe this to be true, and by accepting it as reality I can know that I have the capacity to love because the Bible also says “God is love” (1John 4:16) .
However, in the third chapter of Genesis, there is the story of the man and the woman disobeying God’s command not to eat from the forbidden tree, for if they did, they would surely die. In other words, death would enter the history of mankind and a schism would occur in their relationship with God. They entered into a state of iniquity and were no longer able to commune with the Holy God as they could before disobeying.
But, since God is love, he provided a way for our forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of the grace of God which he has bestowed upon us. At this point I need to believe and understand that I am unjust and need God’s forgiveness. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you lived when you followed the ways of this world…” (Ephesians 2:1&2).
It was not easy for me to admit and agree with the scriptures that I needed his forgiveness, that I was not his friend in my iniquity. Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” So I believed and asked God for His forgiveness. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions – it was by grace that you were saved” (Ephesians 2; 4 & 5).
With my request for forgiveness for my sins, God, through his Spirit, gave me a peace that assured me of his love. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have had access by faith to this grace in which we now stand. And we glory in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1 & 2).
I have now experienced God’s love through grace, so through grace I can now share my love with others. Will you join me as we love each other by the grace of God?
Roger McCune is the pastor of Thorp Community Church.