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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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1John 3:1 Children of God

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Children of God

 

1John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

 

It was gracious enough that Christ died for our sins so as to reconcile us to God, but to go beyond that and give us the status of children of God is really over the top! Of course sonship is limited to those who have faith in Christ. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" Gal 3:26 And "to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" John 1:12

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" Rom 8:17

 

Yet just as the world did not recognize the Son of God so also the world does not recognize the sons of God. But the theme of 1John is that, having known the Father, we can recognize those who have been born of God.

 

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But the theme of 1John is that, having known the Father, we can recognize those who have been born of God.

Recognize in others, or simply recognize in ourself?

It always seemed a verse about confidence in our acceptance before God and his desire for us.

 

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1John is full of judgments in this regards not simply regarding ourselves but others.

 

"They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19

 

"This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:10

 

Even verses like:

 

1Jo 2:26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.

 

1Jo 3:7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

 

Where you have to discern whether someone else is trying to lead you astray is a judgement concerning someone else.

 

Consider even the church at Jerusalem, at the time Peter and John appeared to fail to recognize such deceivers in their midst, as Paul pointed out of the Circumcision "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. Gal 2:4 But here John appears to have matured and now recognizes the necessity of such discernment.

 

So also in the Christian community today I've noticed, such as you may be alluding to, the dangerous philosophy of not judging others, not practicing such discernment and so leaving one open to be led astray with by the doctrine or by the example of false brethren.

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It is not that I would argue I have no business judging another. ... I, too, have heard that argument often made by those whose actions are self-condemning and condemned by scripture and, thus, already judged.

 

For me, I find that I am often fooled by people. Too often I can only see the whitewash in my brief encounter for an hour on Sunday morning, and I never see the sepulcher until much later on when the sins they practiced in secret devour their life and bring them to public shame and ridicule.

 

Thus I find it far easier to judge myself, because I can know my own heart. I find the heart of another, something that far too often deceives me. They cannot trick me about what God says, because God has given me the same word that he has given them and only laziness on my part prevents me from seeking confirmation for myself. However, watching for the fruit of the Spirit takes time, so there is a season in which I find myself unsure about the true judgement of another. Yet I am called to love and encourage even as I wait to see the evidence of Life in their daily walk.

 

Thus I find it easy to recognize good/evil in me, hard to recognize it in others and impossible to recognize it in all.

It is not that "I have no right to judge others" but more that "I have too little ability to judge others correctly" that leads me to my original statements.

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Jesus was the greatest gift God gave us. And the Son of God because He loved us and was willing to die for us gave us the authority to be called children of God. THe AUTHORITY. This is what humans should desire most in life. Unfortunately many don't, focusing instead on trying to accumulate wealth, seize power, etc. Occupied thusly their pursuit for things that provide no lasting satisfaction makes it impossible for them to seek and know God. If you don't know God, it's highly unlikely that you'll know His servants/children. It's a shame though that Christians no longer love each other. If we did, the world would recognize us as children of God. John 13:33-35[[[ Little children, I am with you only a little while longer. You will look for Me, and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you: ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”]]].

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It's a shame though that Christians no longer love each other. If we did, the world would recognize us as children of God.

Greetings,

Respectfully, I would argue that it does exist. Both the power of God to change lives and the love of Christians for each other exist in most churches (local bodies of believers) that I have visited. If we are longing for a return to some 'true church' where everyone lives everyone with the love of Christ, then it never existed. Not even the Church in Jerusalem in the book of Acts lived up to THAT standard.

 

That Church will come. That church is the Church Triumphant. The Church Glorified. The Church with the Jesus of Revelation RETURNED as he left and as he promised.

 

Until then, the power of Grace and Love working through the Saints cannot be over stated. It is as powerful today as it ever was. The world still notices it today, just like it always has. Men are still drawn to the glow of its warmth. Even those not of the elect, see in it something that they desire and seek to counterfeit. We do not need to speculate or wonder what it MIGHT do, we all live one act of Christian obedience away from seeing it do what it has always done, what it still does, what it will always do.

 

I take encouragement in the fact that the eyes of the Lord search to and fro for SOMEONE in whom HE may show HIMSELF strong ... God is waiting on our obedience for the opportunity to show the world that even in 2016' God is still God, and Love and Grace still have the power to change EVERYTHING!

 

Carpe diem ... Dare to Love.

Arthur

 

 

 

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