"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8
This is telling us that "love" is ineffably and unfathomably DEEP. It is NOT the cheap version of "love" this world constantly throws around. Jesus showed us, "No one has greater love than this--that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you." John 15:13, 14
God demands our whole heart, mind and strength. Giving these things to God is laying down our lives for our friends, family and enemies so that God's life will work through us to everyone around us. And that is how we remain/abide in the kindness of God. Otherwise we too will be cut off (Romans 11:22).
"Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned." John 15:4-6
“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” ~John 14:21
“If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and remain in His love.” — John 15:10
As long as we are striving to go forward, which is another command of God (Luke 13:24); for the sake of the lost (please see my recent messages about "imitating" Paul and God). People saying "they love" whoever and do not lay down their lives for them, these people are liars. I am a liar if I do such a thing. You are a liar if you do such a thing. "Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person." 1 John 2:4
The command to love God with our whole being was never done away with. It comes naturally for those who have received God's love, and is a small price to pay considering the glorious rewards He promises in return. These rewards and promises far surpass the temporary light affliction with need to go through to attain them.
"For our light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." 2 Corinthians 4:17
Everything God asks from us amounts to a light burden and easy/pleasant yoke, if we have been joined to the Spirit of God through the Baptism, the power from on high, the promise of the Father. The New Covenant writings tell us today: The promise is to us, our children, those who are far off and as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:39). Ask and you shall receive. For EVERYONE who asks, receives (Matthew 7:7, 8). If we being evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more shall our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? (Luke 11:13)
A covenant is an agreement between two people (Amos 3:3). If you are ready to enter the New Covenant between God and His people then let that be known to God through prayer. And if you are sincere, God will [eventually] seal you with His Spirit. Ezekiel 36:26, 27: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and to carefully observe My ordinances."
That prophecy is fulfilled through faith in Christ. Jesus said, "I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you." John 14:18 That is the baptism in His Spirit. He promises He will come to us. He will not leave us orphans!
Truly, "GOD IS LOVE" and His love surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). But at the same time, Paul tells us to "know" that love which can somehow be grasped by us who are born of the Spirit and who seek God through constant prayer, studying God's written word, consecrating ourselves by separating ourselves from the world and dedicating ourselves to the execution of God's word thereby allowing God to mold us through His purifying process called sanctification.
That is how we are gradually made perfect in God's love, and grow into His fullness. And John says ”THEN we may have boldness on the day of judgment!” (1 John 4:17) .
Peter said "Even angels desire to look into these things." 1 Peter 1:12
What things? People sitting around doing nothing for God? Of course not. But those who "by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality," Romans 2:7 And those who do that will be "repaid" eternal life by God. In contrast, Paul also adds the payment to those who do the opposite, "But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow wickedness, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil,..." Romans 2:6-9 And "evil" is inaction. Take heed how you hear, Jesus said (Luke 8:18a). We've been warned!
God is love. But God also tells us,
"If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love,..." John 15:10
All of God's promises are conditional. Just like His love.
Here are 4 more messages about the word "love" (agape') in scripture:
All thanks and praise and glory to God the Father through His Christos Son Jesus! Amen!
You can be saved!
God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!
Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."