Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 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. 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. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (NKJV) 1 John 4:7-21
This month’s topic is how can we love our enemies when they are so bent on destroying us. What I have found these past two years that my enemy can very well be those who call themselves ‘Christian.’ The Gospel has been so perverted, with the help of Satan, to bring a different gospel than the one that brings Good News about our Savior, Jesus Christ. This different gospel is works-based religion — they are taking the all sufficiency of Calvary’s Cross and devaluing it by saying we must ‘do’ more in our own self-righteous, arrogant attitude. They must, in some way, glorify themselves in an attitude of self-occupation. Christ’s finished work on the Cross is sufficient for the entire world — past, present and future. Because of the completed work of Calvary, the sin issue no longer rules in our lives. We are free from the Law and we saved by grace, through faith, and not of our own, but it is a gift of God. (Romans 8:2, Ephesians 2:8-9).
I have been patient and long suffering with ‘Christians’ who believe that homosexuals are ‘damned for hell,’ and I am included in that because I am a transsexual. I do not believe homosexuality, in itself, is a sin, any more than heterosexuality is a sin. I believe it is the intentions of the heart, that only God can see in our souls. The Bible teaches that the only necessity for salvation is belief in Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God and died for my sins. No more, no less. Also, John 3:16 says that ‘Whosoever’ shall believe on Him (Jesus Christ) shall not perish, but have everlasting life — and I believe that ‘whosoever’ can be homosexual, heterosexual, transsexual, and so forth.
I say that before we can love our enemies, we must know the love of God. Because if we know the love of God, and understand His charity toward us, then we can understand the value that we have with God. This will help us gain the knowledge of our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as our enemies.
We must understand the nature of God’s subjective love. God’s love is made perfect. The word of God in 1 John 4 says that there is no fear in love and that perfect love casts out all fear. Because of the fear of death, people live their lives in subjection to some kind of bondage. When I’m filled with love, which is this subjective nature of God, that love will drive out subjective fear. Where there is fear, there is insecurity, the devaluation of ourselves because of how we view ourselves. We must keep in mind that our feelings are not of truth, but the mind of God is truth and purity. He loved us first. God is love. That love is made manifest to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.
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 (see 1 John 2:2 and 2 Corinthians 5:19). 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 place on the object, or something attractive in the object. Unsaved people can have measure of objective love toward one another.
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 God place 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. 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 begin 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 a 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.
Because objective love is conditional, its manifestation changes depending on the response of the object to the subject. If I have entered into an objective love relationship with God, by putting Him first and responding with God by putting Him first and responding to His promises, then I will experience His subjective love toward me.
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 God’s commandment, “Thou shall 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).
Objective love toward people must first be based on my response to God as the subject who loves me unconditionally. When I am filled with the subjective love of God, then I can have a positive attitude toward the potential of the object, whether it be my significant other (spouse), another believer, the unsaved, or even my enemies.
Whenever a person as the object is responsive, subjective love will be poured into him until the well springs up and the river flows out (John 4:14, 7:38-39), then righteousness is revealed from faith to faith (Romans 1:17).
Because I am filled with the Spirit, I can have attitude of love toward my enemies that is free from mental attitude sin. 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. That quality of love is not produced because of a works program, it is based upon us receiving the divine nature of God, which brings in virtue and integrity of grace through His precious promises.
We are always under grace and then we are healed by grace. 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). The Word of God says we are not. We may have to use rebound seven times a day, 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).