During my early Christian life (born again in1975), I poured over theological doctrines trying to determine which were valid and how they practically applied to everyday Christian life. I also moved about through many theological “camps” and experiences. More than anything, I wanted to have a victorious Christian life, not one characterized by the ups and downs of carnality and defeat.
In the church today, there is great controversy over what God’s love is and how it is perfected in us. Some present love as sin permissive; others make it legalistic.
Christians are left with perplexing questions:
Is it unloving to judge?
Is it unloving for Christians to separate from what is unscriptural?
Does love, under any circumstance, promote compromise with God’s Word?
These are all vital issues facing the church today. It is important that Christians not only understand the true love of God, but also become so firmly established in their scriptural convictions so as not to feel condemned and unloving because they address sin.
Scripturally defining God’s love is necessary. God’s genuine love (agape) is sacrificial and holy. Another way to describe God’s perfect love is to say that it is absolute sacrifice. Jesus demonstrated this perfect love by His absolute sacrifice on the cross. As God’s love is applied and perfected in us, our love will also be sacrificial and holy. Any love which does not promote the true holiness of God is not the true love of God.
If we, as believers, do not esteem God’s holiness, we will not express the true love of God. (For instance, if someone behaves angrily, bitterly, deceitfully or manipulatively toward us while, at the same time, saying “I love you with the love of the Lord,” he does not have the true love of God toward us.) It is only as we define and understand the true love of God that this love can be perfected in us.
God’s love is perfected in us as we obey His Word. If a person claims to love God, but refuses to obey His Word, God says this person does not truly love Him.
(For more on this topic, please read our book Understanding Biblical Love, which is available on Amazon.)
Has this controversy come up in your Christian life? What has the Lord been showing you is the way to walk in His love?
I Jn. 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word; in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby we know we are in him.
I Jn. 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
I Jn. 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And thereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Truly born again believers always have this question, “How can I have a victorious Christian life?” To help toward answering this, I wanted to share a portion of our booklet, “Dead unto Sin Alive unto God.” This booklet deals with the vital subject of a Christian’s abiding life in Christ, the victorious Christian life, which requires Faith–and an accurate scriptural balance. What does God tell us in His Word about how to live victoriously in Him?
Many excellent books have been written on this subject by tried and proven saints throughout church history. The greatest book, of course, is the Bible itself, especially the New Testament epistles. The powerful thesis in Romans 6-8, written by the apostle Paul, stands as one of the most vital teachings for believers desiring a victorious Christian life. After we are born again, what could be more important than learning how to have this life?
“The apostle Paul, writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, describes the victorious Spirit-filled Christian life in Romans 6-8. In these chapters, he tells us how we, as believers, are to walk in Christ’s strength and not our own. In Romans 7, Paul describes how a person, probably himself, struggled in his Christian walk and was defeated. This defeat occurred through his trying to live the Christian life by obeying God’s law in his own strength.