Consider the words, “Here in is our love made perfect.” Multitudes of Christians today lack an understanding of how to make love perfect. It is not intentioned, but if only we could grasp how this love is made perfect in us, then we would enter into a brand-new understanding of spiritual life and where fear does not exist. “God is love,” verse nine goes on to say, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. First, God is love. Then that love was manifested to the world through the Son. But in many cases, that is as far as love ever goes in the Christian’s experience. “God is love” means that God is love before He ever created angels, the earth, or the human race.
God’s love is subjective, a love that depends completely on the subject (in this case, God) and never on the object (man). Subjective love is unconditional. Subjective love only belongs to God. God is love, but I am not love. Only to the degree that I receive love from God do I actually have love. Only as I receive love can I be love. I must have this love shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
What did subjective love do? It manifested itself on the cross in the unlimited atonement to pay for the sins of the world. This love is unconditional. Now, whosoever will may come to God and be received of Him, and as many as receive Jesus Christ, receive power to become the sons of God (John 1:12). Objective love in contrast with subjective love depends upon the response of the object to the subject who is expressing the love. It is based on the value that has been placed on the object, or something attractive in the object.
The moment we were saved, we received a robe of imputed righteousness. The righteousness of a holy God, placed on our account, with no works on our part (Isaiah 61:10). Positionally, we were declared righteous (Romans 3:25). But at that point, the only way God could love us objectively, was in our position in the finished work of Christ. This is not an experiential love, where He initiates and we respond. It is an unconditional love that extends from the Subject, because He is love; but as yet, there was nothing of value in us, as the objects of His love. His love was for us, and toward us, but it was subjective. There is no real response on our part until we began to have a hunger and thirst for the Word of God. But as we receive the Word of God, we are filled with imparted righteousness (Matthew 5:6), which gives us objective value.
Objective love is conditional, just as rewards are conditional. Therefore, we must first develop capacity to understand how much God loves us. He will always love us, and we will always be the objects of His love for salvation, but His all-encompassing Alpha-Omega love, must be imparted. When it is not imparted, then we do not receive the many benefits that are ours in Christ. We may have the benefits of positional truth, and we may know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13), but we do not yet have everything that belongs to us in our experience.
God’s Perfect Hatred Toward Esau
“Thou loves righteousness and hates wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Psalm 45:7).
“Do not hate them, oh Lord, that hate Thee; and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them my enemies.” (Psalm 139:21-22).
For perfect love to be perfect, there must also be perfect hatred. Perfect hatred has nothing to do with bitterness, vindictiveness, anger, retaliation, or mental negativity. Christians who do not understand the difference between subjective and objective love do not understand God’s declaration in Romans 9:13: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (see Malachi 1:2-3). The truth is that God meant exactly what He said. It was not an ‘anthropopathic’ statement where the Holy Spirit ascribes human emotions to God, because of our limited understanding of the reality of who He is. There was no objective value in Esau. Though Jacob was the supplanter, he desired to have a greater blessing from God. Esau, on the other hand, was consumed with temporal blessings, for his flesh, and his heart was not after God. Subjectively, the Lord loved Esau no less that He loved Jacob. That was an unconditional love that will never change. But objectively, God could not manifest His love toward Esau. Because objective love is conditional, its manifestation changes depending on the response of the object to the subject.
God does not have love for the devil, but that doesn’t change the fact that God is love; He will never be anything but love. But, perfect love enters into perfect hatred, and God sends people to hell, because they reject His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the only basis for objective value to be found in a person.
As we begin to respond to God’s subjective love toward us, we begin to love ourselves. We love who God has made us to be in Christ. Then we have the power to respond to the first commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, (Mark 12:30). This brings us into a special relationship with God — an exchange of objective love.
“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me,” (Proverbs 8:17). This verse is speaking about objective love, which is based on a response from the object and flows back to the subject. As a result of this communion through the Holy Spirit, the love of God is shed abroad and poured out, as already stated (Romans 5:5).
“If a man loves me, he will keep my words [doctrine]: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto Him; and make our abode with him,” (John 14:23). This means that when we begin to respond to God’s love by receiving His words, the Trinity will love us in a special way and make their habitation in us.
According to Deuteronomy 10:12-15, God is saying, ‘If you love me, I will love you beyond all other people.” Please understand that this doesn’t happen because of works. It doesn’t happen because all of a sudden, we decide we are going to be good and do better. Psalm 116:13, says that we receive the cup of salvation. The ‘cup’ speaks of our capacity for life. No matter how bad we have been or where we are in our walk with God, we must receive grace. Remember, our spirituality is not what we do, but in receiving something we don’t deserve, grace.
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue … ” (2 Peter 1:2-5a).
A believer can be the weakest person in the world and still have virtue because of what he is receiving. Virtue is the integrity of receiving God’s grace. It is the integrity of receiving something for nothing, something that I don’t deserve, as a gift from God, because of love.
Virtue is having integrity to receive the things that make me like God on the inside (see 2 Peter 1:5-7). That is why 2 Peter 1:8 says, “If these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God has never told us that we should change. The integrity of receiving grace changes us. We are changed when we recognize our need and receive the grace of God. There is not a verse in the Bible where God says to ‘change.’ Instead we find 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty [to be changed]. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:17b-18).
More Christians today are trying to change themselves and give it up. But this is impossible, based on Romans 7:21: “When I would do good, evil is present with me.” Even though we cannot change, we can be changed. If we need to rebound seven times a day for the same things, then we will do it until the victory finally comes — and it comes by receiving. We keep on receiving until the words of life and the words of grace penetrate the conscience. The Holy Spirit can then lift up these godly standards within when the enemy comes against us like a flood (Isaiah 59:19b).
The prophet Jeremiah said, “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned … after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed … ” (Jeremiah 31:18b-19a). The whole issue is my attitude toward believing, receiving and having God’s love. Jesus said in John 6:29 that “the work of God is to believe on Him whom the Father hath sent.” Believing and receiving is what changes us. I am not love, but I can receive love. I am not gracious, but I can receive grace. I am not merciful, but I can receive mercy. If I keep receiving God’s attributes abundantly, they will flow out as a river.
Many Christian do not understand that they can never change themselves. We fail to understand that change will only come as we continue to receive until we enter into faith rest. What is our faith resting in but God’s subjective, unconditional love for us (Zephaniah 3:17).
When we receive grace, mercy, and love through the Word of God, and when we keep those words through grace, using rebound when we fail, then we have objective love. The quality of love is not produced because of a works program or because we go soul winning more than someone else. It is based upon us receiving the divine nature of God, which brings is virtue and the integrity of grace through His precious promises.
Subjective Love Upholds Us
We are always under grace. If we fail, we fail in grace. If we stay down, we are still in grace. When we get up, we get up in grace, and then we are healed by grace. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 41:4, “Heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee.” The prophet Jeremiah cried out, “Heal me, O Lord and I shall be healed” (Jeremiah 17:14).
Think of those who struggle to have victory in their lives. God loves them so much that He manifested His life for them on the Cross. His unconditional subjective love always holds them up when they fail. Psalm 145:14 says that God upholds all that fall. No one in the world would do that.
Because of God’s subjective love, when we fall, we are not utterly cast down, though we may think we are (see Psalm 37:24). Our sin says we are cast down. Shame says we are. Failure says we are; but the Word of God says we are not.
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, ‘Destroy them'” (Deuteronomy 33:27). This is one of the greatest passages in the entire Bible.
With this kind of love, God waits to impart His nature, His grace, and His mercy. But He is also waiting to impart His power so we can stand. Romans 14:4b says that God is able to make us stand . In Jude 24, He is able to keep us from falling. We may have to use rebound seven times a day (Proverbs 24:16), but we keep rebounding because our hearts are after God. We keep seeking after God and receiving from Him until finally the Word becomes resident in our souls. It becomes our possession, a well of water that springs up into everlasting life, and a river which flows out to others (John 4:14; 7:38).
God is always glorified by giving grace, and He is exalted by giving mercy. When His love is manifested inside of us, then our knowledge is illuminated, His wisdom is applied, and we have peace. The manifestation of God’s objective love may change. His subjective love never changes, but it always changes us. The love of God never fails, it is always toward us and God is just waiting for us to receive it.
A New Creation and a New Self Image
God has promised to give us a brand new godly self-image. First we will begin to live in the newness of the mind. Next, we will begin to be led by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Entering into stability and maturity, we will become conquerors, victorious, living in the faith rest of love. A new creation and a new self-image everyday. “Therefore if any one be in Christ, they are a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “But now, we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in the newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6). “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
We will have a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). We will receive wisdom and knowledge for the time we are living in (Isaiah 33:6). We will know that our lives are in God’s hands, therefore we will not fear what men can do (Psalm 31:15). Finally, we will be used to restrain God’s judgment upon nations, just like the great heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, because we have an individual eternal destiny with an eternal purpose. Victorious, stress-free living is a way of life that many believers have difficulty grasping. Doctrine [the Scripture] must be repeated and reflected upon, through prayer and godly meditation so that the truth can govern our souls. We will have a wealth of knowledge that we cannot apply when faced with difficult circumstances.
“My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me” (Lamentations 3:20). Receiving doctrine brings humility. A humble person is the kind of person who can remember Bible doctrine and apply it to their life. In listening, as a humble child, we should only think of ourselves as God thinks of us. He says we are complete in Him, and we agree. He says we are seated above; we agree. He says we are forgiven if we fail; we agree. That is humility.
When you are weak and need His promises to carry you on, receive His promise, that is humility in action. Accept God’s words over your feelings; God’s promises over our worldly, fleshly preferences, and you will not live in stress or fear.
We can be free from stress or we can be filled with stress and fear and never be free. As born-again believers, a divine power resides in our souls. We have the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God dwelling in us. It is our choice whether we use these resources or not.
We Need a Capacity for Doctrine
The humble will hear (Psalm 34:2); the meek will He guide and teach (Psalm 25:9). We cannot retain doctrine, unless our old lives have been crucified (Galations 2:20). The Spirit’s filling only comes when we let God govern our listening habits, imparting to our memories brand new inspirational capacities for divine reality that will be needed in future trials of our faith.
Promotion never comes without trials. Promotion goes to those who are treated unjustly and yet never verbalize, communicate, or react in negativity. They don’t verbalize negativity about their treatment, because they have doctrine to understand that the trials of their faith are more precious than gold that perishes (1 Peter 1:7). They understand that fellowship with the power of resurrection and the fellowship with His sufferings make them conformed to His truth.
Many believers cannot keep still under such testing, because without humility and meekness, there is no provision for the transfer of doctrine into the soul.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. (Lamentations 3:21).
The Spirit brings truth into the memory so that confidence is unshakable. (John 14:26).
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope. (Lamentations 3:24).
There isn’t anything we need more than God’s mercies and compassions to get us through the day as we face the trials of our faith. Promotion will not come as a matter of course. We will face challenges, but we can be stress free and love without fear in every situation. We don’t have to compare ourselves with others and cry about what we’re going through or feel as if we’re being used unjustly. We don’t have to be immature and unscriptural. We can have this fullness of God within us, with new mercies every morning and compassions that fail not.
As I finish this article, I have to bring myself to admit that this article was very hard for me to construct because it reminds me of the many trials I have gone through and what I’m going through right now in my present life, where I’ve failed and become depressed and stressed out; I have not focused on the Lord, and I have reacted out of mixed emotions and fear. I have not trusted in the Lord. Sometimes, I find myself operating in the kingdom of Satan, and not in the Kingdom of God. When we start listening to Satan’s lies, you loose control and forget that you are in Christ. I have lost many promotions by allowing my mind to believe the lies and react out of my emotions of fear and anger.
We must keep our minds focused on the Word of God and its doctrines, that are there to continuously remind us of our power of a Holy God and His plan for our salvation — only through His Son — Jesus Christ.
This article is just as much for me as for you. I pray that we all see the spiritual truths about subjective and objective love; and understand the importance of the knowledge of perfect love and perfect hatred. Live in the newness of life – as we are new creations in Christ — we are no longer living in our old self-image, but in the Godly image of Christ. Remember, in 1 John 4:17-19 it says, “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. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” Let us live in God’s perfect love.