Saving Grace

Love your fellow men as yourself

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the father has sent his son to be the savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the son of God, God lives in them and they in God.

And so, we know and rely on the love God has for us.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” – 1 John 4:7-16

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all! As we celebrate during the coming days, we are reminded of the gifts of God which came to us as a poor baby boy, born in a manger over 2,000 years ago. We should also be cognizant that Christmas is much more than decorations, parties and presents. Christmas is God’s love which came down to join man in his unholy state. Yes, love came down at Christmas.

Love is God offering up his son to be a sacrifice for the redemption of mankind. Therefore, as we journey through the coming year and life, let us continue to live as God would have us do, loving our fellow men and demonstrating that love in the way we act towards one another.

The word love has different connotations to different people. To one it means one thing and to another something quite different.

The only time the true and single meaning for love is used is when God says, “I love.” The Greek for this love is agape, a term that defines God’s immeasurable and incomparable love for human kind. Love is divine.

When God says “I love”, he makes an eternal, unwavering commitment. We humans are reserved in our commitment to love. We hold back. It is difficult for us to give up everything for love.

God, instead, when he makes the commitment of saying he loves us, he forgives our most grievous infractions. There are no buts in God’s commitment to us.

St. Paul tells us in Roman 5:8: “But God demonstrates his love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God’s love cannot be matched by any.”

Love is at the center of the Christian faith. The text tells us that “everyone who loves has been born of God and loves God.”

As Christians and people of the world, we spend an insurmountable amount of time talking about love. Notwithstanding that, when one looks at the way we carry on, the question becomes: are we serious?

When we fail to display that love which comes from God, we are wanting. God’s love does not exist in our hearts. The apostle tells us that God is love. He is the essence of love.

God demonstrated his love to humankind through his actions. He sent his son into the world as an example for us. God, in his action towards us, demonstrated to us that we should love one another.

As God demonstrated his love through his actions, we humans should do likewise. When Christ was asked about the greatest commandments, he responded, “First love God with all your heart, body and soul. Secondly, love your fellow men as yourself.”

When we love one another, then we demonstrate that God lives in us. Amen.

• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: lutheranchurch@coralwave.com; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.

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