Word of the Month

Abide in My Love

November 2001

God is the original source of love and life. Although mankind, who was created in His image, was sinking ever deeper into sin and thereby immeasurably widening the separation from God, He did not withdraw His love from them. Instead, He gave His only begotten Son, "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (cf. John 3:16, NKJV). Out of love towards His Father and love towards fallen mankind, Jesus Christ took on flesh and brought His sacrifice. The extensiveness of His love is made manifest in the assurance: "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you;" (cf. John 15:9, NKJV).

Can there be greater evidence of this love than His innocent death on the cross for the redemption of mankind?

Let us prove ourselves worthy of His love, in that we love Him in return. To this end the Lord unmistakenly encouraged us "abide in My love!" Apostle John wrote: "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (cf. 1 John 4:16, NKJV). Let us remain in the fellowship at the altar, where God's Spirit is active, let us remain in the fellowship of Holy Communion, where the body and the blood of Jesus is offered to us, let us remain in the fellowship of brotherly love. The Apostle John further admonished "We love Him because He first loved us", and then states clearly and unequivocally what he meant thereby: "If someone says, 'I love God', and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1 John 4:19-20, NKJV).

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul is also preoccupied with love (cf. 1 Corinthians 13) and refers to love in its purest and highest form as love which comes from God. What cause for rejoicing, that this love suffers long and is kind. Let us learn of this, we, who are so often impatient and grumpy. We can read further: "...love...does not behave rudely", it does not hurt the sensitivity of others. Here too it is important to work upon ourselves in our conduct with our brethren. And when it is written that the love of God "...does not seek its own", then for us this means that we should not put ourselves in first place, but love towards God and His work instead. In his description of love the Apostle Paul continues: "...love..is not provoked..." Many have been provoked, because love diminished. One who allows himself to be provoked, closes himself off from the word of God, falls asleep in his prayer life and the joy to sacrifice disappears. If we remain in this true love, then it will never come to such disastrous developments. And love is capable of another great thing: "...love...thinks no evil..." Only through love is it possible to forgive and to be prepared to reconcile.

The Lord Jesus lived as an example of love and made it possible for us to be revealed in his love. For through the Holy Ghost, the love of God has been poured out in our hearts. If we give room to the Holy Spirit, then we can remain in this love and can acquire the characteristics that the Lord expects of the citizens of the new heaven and the new Earth.

(Excerpt from a divine service of the Chief Apostle)