God created man and woman and saw that everything was good. Sin came into the world, and it was grave. Adam and Eve could not be in Eden anymore, they ended up far away from God. Cain killed his brother. There were lies, hate, jealousy, envy, pride, violence, adultery and many many many other sins. God hated sins, but did not hate the sinners. God loves his creation, God loves the world, but He hates sin. (Genesis and Romans 1-2)
A gift of love came to us when God gave to us his son, who was both man and God at the same time.
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”
1. Love. God’s love comes first. “For so God loved…” “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world.” Jesus, our savior, came to the world, because God loves us. God loves the whole world. He didn’t come to condemn us.
Jesus walked among people. He preached to everyone. Not everyone listened to him or would accept him. But he preached to every one. He ate with the outcasts, He ate with the sinners. Today he would eat (if they say yes) with the muslims, the murderers, the thieves, the addicts, the unemployed, the prostitutes, the skizofren, the disabled and the homeless and the poor people – all the people, who the world wants to forget and push over the edge.
When Jesus came to people, he called them, and said “Follow me” (Mark 2:14) and “come and see!” (John 1:29). Jesus didn’t command people so much as do this and do that, but He called them, preached the Word and was a teacher. One thing I noticed some days ago was that he healed people who came to Him and believed in Him, and those whose families believed in Him.
So God loves….and “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish”. People are justified by faith. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:22-25).
The commandments of love
Jesus did not erase the law, the 10 commandments, but taught people the essence of the laws: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself (Mark 12:20-31).
These commandments are inflicted and are two in one. You cannot separate them and only follow one of the commandments. You are asked to love God with all your heart, love yourself and love your neighbor. I believe that when you get to know God, you begin to understand that He loves you, and thus learn to love yourself and love your neighbor.
Who is your neighbor?
EVERYONE. Your wife, your husband, your children, your neighbors, people on the other side of the world, the non-believers, the murderers, the muslims, your enemies. Your neighbor is the whole world! God loves the whole world.
This great commandment is hard and we can’t follow it by ourselves. Faith (love) in God and the fruits of this faith, the Holy Spirit is required so we can learn to love our neighbor.
We must not judge our neighbor, for we are all sinners. Only God can judge. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” (Luke 6: 41-42)
We must not hate our enemies or seek vengeance, but turn the other cheek and pray for our enemies, bless them and do good to them (Matthew 5:44). When Jesus hung on the cross he prayed: “Father, Forgive them for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
I believe there is good in all people. I believe that no people are 100 % aware of the sins or evil they commit. Forgiveness releases, while hate, judgement and vengeance do not solve anything.
How is God’s love?
Jesus, the son of God washed his disciples’ dirty feet and told them (and us): “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34) God loved us so much that His son let Himself suffer and be punished for our sins. He loved us so much, that he died for every one of us. God’s love is without sin, He cannot sin. He is light, and there is no darkness inside this light that never goes out.
By prayer, Biblestudies and with the fruits of our faith, the gifts from the Holy Spirit will teach us to love as He loves. When we evangelize, witness, teach, preach, pray, sing, prophesize, write, talk etc. – in ANYTHING we do, we must do it in love (1 Cor 13 and 1 Cor 16:14). What can we say about God’s love, agape?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Cor 13:4-8).