FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FOUR & FORTY– Part IX
God’s Love is for ‘Every Nation, Kindred, Tongue, and People’ for All Time, not Just on Valentine’s Day
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject of ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
– Samuel Johnson, famous English lexicographer
Apostle Paul’s famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 concludes on the 13th verse: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these three is love ”—not faith nor hope! This love, certainly never eros, not even the nobler philos, is alone tightly bundled with Biblicalfaith, which always “works by love” (Gal. 5: 6,) “the hand that appropriates Christ’s merits and remedies for sin” (DA 175), and that hope grounded in God’s word and promises (Rom. 15: 4; Titus 1: 2, etc.). This belongs to those who possess it by living experience, not mere talk.
Many claim they have “faith,” which unfortunately is a brew of confusing flavors of interpretation. Then, hope, because of constant betrayals and letdowns, “any kind of hope”—making it a petri dish where charlatans and demagogues breed their fast-spreading super viruses of deception and opportunism, afflict the most credulous and vulnerable. But lest we forget, the God of perfect love is a just and righteous God “who by no means shall clear the guilty.” The day of final reckoning is rapidly approaching, as the signs of the times announce. God promised to “avenge His elect” and downtrodden ones. Luke 18: 7-9; Matt. 5: 7-12.
This love spans eternity, upholds the universe yet tenderly encircles fallen earth as a mother the one and only child of her womb. Paul expounds more on this agape love, that like the mystery of life, no mortal genius, or all the worldly powers combined can ever devise, distil, synthesize, conjure up with all their vaunted “evolving knowledge,” intelligence, technological creativity, etc. Note:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakednesss, or peril, or sword? . . . . Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present not things to come, nor height or depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35-39.
John the beloved testifies: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. GOD IS LOVE; and he that dwelleth in [this] love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4: 16. Jesus Himself declared to His disciples through all time: “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love: even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15: 9, 10.
“All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts; all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean, when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue cannot utter it, pen cannot portray it. You may meditate upon it every day of your life; you may search the Scriptures diligently in order to understand it; you may summon every power and capability that God has given you, in the endeavor to comprehend the love and compassion of the heavenly Father, and yet there is infinity beyond. You may study that love for ages: yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving His Son to die for the world. Eternity itself cannot fully reveal it. Yet as we study the Bible, and meditate upon the life of Christ and the plan of redemption [as taught in the simple yet comprehensive sanctuary message], these great themes will open to our understanding more and more!
“It is Satan’s constant study to keep the minds of men occupied with those things that will prevent them from obtaining the knowledge of God . . . The Son of the Highest has strength to fight the battle for us; and through ‘Him that loved us,’ we may come off ‘more than conquerors.’ E. G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 740, 741.
“Christ came to reveal God to the world as a God of love, full of mercy, tenderness, and compassion. The thick darkness with which Satan had endeavored to enshroud the throne of Deity was swept away by the world’s Redeemer, and the Father was again manifest to men as the light of life [John 1: 4].
“When Philip came to Jesus with the request, ‘Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,’ the Savior answered him, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?’[John 14: 8-12]. Christ declares Himself to be sent into the world as a representative of the Father. In His nobility of character, in His mercy and tender pity, in His love and goodness, He stands before us as the embodiment [“express image,” Heb. 1:3] of divine perfection, the image of the invisible God.
“Says the apostle, ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself’ [2 Cor. 5: 19]. Only as we contemplate the great plan of redemption can we have just appreciation of the character of God. The work of creation was manifestation of His love; but the gift of God to save the guilty and ruined race, alone reveals the infinite depths of divine tenderness and compassion.
“What love, what matchless love, that, sinners and aliens [to God’s kingdom of righteousness] as we are, we may be brought back to God, and adopted into His family! We may address Him by the endearing name, ‘Our Father,’ which is a sign of our affection for Him, and a pledge of tender regard and relationship to us. And the Son of God, beholding the heirs of grace, ‘is not ashamed to call them brethren’ [Heb. 1: 11].”- Ibid, Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 736-40
What I have been trying to share in this weekly column for years now from its first article is singularly motivated by love for “the truth as it is in Jesus” (Eph. 4: 21), which includes unpopular yet unvarnished truth, an all-consuming desire to gain a deeper knowledge of this love by experiencing it and sharing it, having found out with joy “where to find information about it.” Hence all the references provided and quoted!
While millions will try their best this Valentine’s Day to express sentiments of love and in their overzealousness may try to outdo each other’s expressions ironically giving rise to competitive, unloving sentiments, we turn to where we can find transcending information on the greatest love-faith-hope combine mankind will ever know, divinely-designed to solve all of the ills of the world. This love is the love of the Father that Christ came to reveal to a world darkened by sin, ignorance, and malefic mischaracterization of God and His love. Here are some:
“With untold love our God has loved us, and our love awakens toward Him as we comprehend something of the length and bread and depth and height [Eph. 3: 18, 14-21] of this love that passeth knowledge. By the revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ, by theknowledge of His love expressed to us while we were yet sinners [Rom. 5: 8], the stubborn heartis melted and subdued, and the sinner is transformed and becomes child of heaven. God does not employ compulsory measures; love is the agent which He uses to expel sin from the heart. By it he changes pride into humility, and enmity and unbelief into love and faith.
“The Jews [in Christ’s time, as recorded in the New Testament] had been wearily toiling to reach perfection by their own efforts, and they had failed. Christ had already told them that theirrighteousness could never enter the kingdom of heaven. Now He points out to them the character of the righteousness that all who enter heaven will possess.
“Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, He describes its fruits, and now in one sentence He points out His source and its nature: Be perfect as God is perfect [Matt. 5: 48]. The law is but the transcript of the character of God. Behold in your heavenly Father a perfect manifestation of the principles which are the foundation of His government. [We will address the eroding foundations of America’s government, earth’s last bastion of freedom and liberty in the following issues]. GOD IS LOVE. Like rays of light from the sun, love and light and joy flow out from Him to all His creatures. It is His nature to give. His very life is the outflow of unselfish love. . . . . He tells us to be perfect as He is—[or] in the same manner [fallen human beings in their sphere and God in His sphere]. We are to be centers of light and blessing to the little circle, even as He is to the universe.” E. G. White, Mount of Blessing, pp 116-118.
God’s Love Will Remove the Heaviest Yoke of Sin—but only If We Allow Him
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take of the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.” Hosea 11: 4.
“The Eastern shepherd does not drive his sheep. He depends not upon force or fear; but going before, he calls them. They know his voice, and obey the call. So does the Savior-Shepherd with His sheep . . . . Through the prophet, Jesus declares . . .’Therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.’ He compels none to follow Him. [He never once scared the Gentiles and “unbelievers” to become “believers” and “disciples” by asking them “Are you saved?” If not, you will burn in hell.” Rather, He gently invited them, offering them what their hearts secretly longed for. Note:
“It is not the fear of punishment [of being eternally roasted according to centuries-old gross lie of Dante’s “eternally-burning hell”], or [even] the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the [true] disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Savior’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger in Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens, and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice and follow Him . . . .
“The path may be steep and rugged, but Jesus has traveled that way; His feet have pressed down the cruel thorns, to make the pathway easier for us. Every burden we are called to bear, He Himself has borne [Heb. 2: 10, 17, 18].
“Though now He has ascended to the presence of God, and shares the throne of the universe, Jesus has lost none of His compassionate nature. Today, the same tender, sympathizing heart is open to all the woes of humanity [regardless of creed, nationality, religious affiliation, age, or sexual orientation]. Today the hand that was pierced is reached forth to bless more abundantly His people [i.e., His sheep who hear His voice and willingly follow His life- example] that are in the world . . .The Savior would have passed through the agony of Calvary, that one might be saved in His kingdom. He will never abandon one for whom He has died. Unless His followers choose to leave Him, He will hold them fast.” – Ibid, Desire of Ages, p. 480.
“However much a shepherd may loves his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more. Jesus is not only our Shepherd; He is our ‘everlasting Father’ (Isa. 9: 6), and He says, ‘I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.’ What a statement is this!—the only begotten Son, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He who God has declared to be ‘the Man that is My fellow’ [Zech. 14: 7, N.K.J.V.]—the communion between Him and the eternal God is taken to represent the communion between Christ and His children today!
“Because we are a gift of His Father, and the reward of His work, Jesus loves us as His children. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust.”- Ibid, Desire of Ages, p. 483.
“God’s love for the fallen race is a peculiar manifestation of love,—a love born of mercy; for human beings are all undeserving. Mercy implies imperfection of the object toward which it is shown. It is because of sin that mercy was brought into active exercise . . . The angels look with awe and amazement upon the mission of Christ to the world. They marvel at the love that moved Him to give Himself a sacrifice for the sins of men. But how lightly human beings regard the purchase of His blood!- Ibid, Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 264-266. Continued next week)