Love’s Restoration

Thorns of LoveThe condition of entering heaven and the presence of God is even now what it always has been: perfect obedience to the law of God. This is no arbitrary requirement on God’s part. It is the elemental prerequisite and contingency of life.

The Foundation of Reality

The foundation of all reality—of all existence—is not physical. It is relational (1 John 4:8). Other-centeredness, otherwise known as love, is the underpinning of everything. This makes the law of God the bedrock of all things, including the physical world. All creation—from the minutest electron (who, just for love, tenaciously spins around it’s proton) to the largest galaxy—images God’s law of love.

Hopelessly Fallen 

But men have a problem. They have fallen from love and become self-centered. Because of this, they have become so crippled and weak that it is impossible for them to keep God’s law. It is exceedingly broad. It takes into account the thoughts and intents of the heart. It judges motives as well as acts, thoughts as well as words. Commandment keeping means entire sanctification, a holy life, unswerving allegiance to right, entire separation from sin, and victory over it. On their own, men will never be sufficient for these things.

God Found a Way

Yet God found a way to save men. Simply stated, love is that way. By falling in love with God, love’s mysterious power can draw them back to perfect obedience to its conditions. Men can change from selfish to selfless, just for love.

The Big Drawback

However, there is a catch, and that catch is something men fear the most: death. Man’s willingness to respond to God’s love includes his willingness to die to himself, to crucify his selfishness that the other-centeredness of love may live within him. Only those fallen creatures that respond to God’s love in this way can be saved.

So How Does This Work?

Men can only be restored by reciprocating the astounding love that God has for us; love beyond our comprehension; love that was willing to die forever that we might live. Man’s response is simply to follow Jesus, just for love. He beckons us from the outer court of love’s sanctuary.

“Follow me!” He says.

SanctuaryWe follow him through the alter of sacrifice (where we die on the cross with Him*, crucifying our fallen selfish nature as He crucified His), through the laver (where we are baptized and cleansed from our bent toward selfishness just as He was), through the holy place in the sanctuary (where we enjoy communion with Him as we learn to live the law of love), and into the most holy place (where we are completely restored to love and enter into God’s very presence).

In the Same Way

We overcome our desire to sin in the same way that Jesus overcame it: by dying to Himself; refusing to trust His own power and choosing instead to rely always upon His Father. He did nothing of Himself, but trusted God, and the mysterious power of love did for Him exactly what it can do for us.

Love can give us the same mind that Jesus had, one that is totally selfless and other-centered (Philippians 2:5). Of course, this is but the call of God back to reality, back to a life lived within His great law of love.

The Eucatastrophe** 

In this way, love enables us to break with our obsession with selfishness. It invites us, through our death, back into its sanctuary. This death seems to us like the end of reality, but, like Christ’s resurrection reveals, it is but the beginning of life—His life that is completed in us.

* Galatians 2:20, Matthew 16:24

** The Eucatastrophe

 


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