Know and Believe

1 John 4:15-17 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

When we made Jesus Lord of our lives, the love of God Himself took up residence in us.  Just like all the promises of God that are found in and provided by Jesus, we are required to know them and believe what the Word says about us in relationship to them. 

In this instance, it is revealed that God is love; God is the source of love, and that God loves us individually, specifically.  From that revelation, faith in the love of God develops and we believe what was revealed about God and His love for us.  It’s not enough for us to have knowledge about God’s love.  It’s not enough for us to just quote the scriptures that reference God’s love for us.  We are to believe the love of God and believe it for and about ourselves.  These scriptures connect the love of God to who we are now, in this world.  We are abiding in love and, therefore, abiding in Him, the Father.  The love of God is perfected, matured, or accomplishes its goal in us so that we can be confident in the day of judgment as we become like Him.  As Jesus is now, in Heaven, we are to be now, in this world, because of the stabilizing love of God for and in us.  That love is maturing us and accomplishing its goal in us, individually and collectively.

1 Corinthians 13:4-10 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be restrained; where there is knowledge, it will be dismissed. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial passes away.

Now that we know that God is love, and as we believe in the love that He has for us, we can look at the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 13 in a new light:

God is patient with me and kind toward me.  God does not envy or boast, and He is not proud.  He is in me, and His love is accomplishing its goal in me; therefore, I am not envious, boastful, or proud either.  God is not rude in His dealings with me.  God is not self-seeking, so what He asks of me is for my benefit.  God is not easily angered by or at me.   God rejoices in truth, and so do I.  God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.  God never fails me.

Romans 8:34, 35 Who is there to condemn us? For Christ Jesus, who died, and more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God—and He is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

God’s love for us is steadfast and never ceases.  God’s love does not wax and wane, depending on our performance or works.  Nothing separates us from God’s love for us.  However, there are many things that we put in between us and God’s love; unbelief, fear, lust for other things, or undisciplined flesh, for example. 

1 John 4:18-21 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because He first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must love his brother as well.

God has done all that He needs to do to express His love for us.  He is love and He has given His love to us.  The onus is on us to believe the love He has for us and to allow it to grow in us.  Our part is to act on the love He has for us and to let it govern our interactions with ourselves and others.  We are patient with ourselves and others.  We are kind to ourselves and others.  We are not envious or boastful.  We are not proud and haughty.  We are not rude to others or easily angered at ourselves and others.  We rejoice in truth.  We bear all things, believe all things, hope, and endure all things.  The love of God is completing its goal in us and keeping us from failing.   

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.