The Love of God is the Glory of God
Article taken from Fatherly Talk
Of all the prayers prayed in the Bible, none in my mind occupies the most significant place as the prayer of Jesus in John 17. This prayer was prayed before Jesus went to Calvary yet it covers the whole church age and in a sense eschatologically sets in concrete the fact that one day, the church of Jesus Christ all through the ages, of every tribe and tongue, of every culture and language, of every denomination and governmental style will be one! Of course, since Jesus prayed this prayer, we can expect that it will definitely come to pass. We highlight certain portions of this prayer which is in line with our theme of God’s love. Jesus prayed for the following:
1. That the unity of the believers in Him would become like the oneness of the Father, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit (John 17:21).
2. That the glory that He had with the Father would be given to us that we may be one as He and the Father are one (John 17:22).
3. That the church would be made perfect in one, that the world may know that God sent Jesus and that God the Father loved us as much as He loved Jesus (John 17:23).
4. That we may where Jesus is and behold the glory which Jesus had before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).
5. Jesus had declared to us His name that the love with which the Father loved Jesus may be in us and Jesus in us (John 17:25).
The Scripture clearly says that we are to be made perfect in one. This oneness will come because the glory that Jesus had is given to us. It is the glory which makes us one and not our oneness that brings the glory. What is this glory? In the Old Testament, when Moses asked to see God’s glory, God’s glory passed by through the Lord proclaiming His mercy, graciousness, longsuffering, goodness and truth – all qualities of God’s love for us (Exodus 33:18; 34:6-7). The Lord constantly affirms His love towards the Israelites (Deuteronomy 7:7-11). The New Testament is a new testament of glory, which is also a new testament of the love of God (John 1:14; 3:16). We are changed into the same image of God from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). God is love therefore the image of God is the image of perfect love, which is the image of Christ (1 John 4:8; Romans 8:29, 39). The greatest is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). It is obvious from all these Scriptures and many more, that the glory of God and the love of God are two sides of the same coin! They are the very substance from the person and presence of God. To grow in love is to grow in the glory of the Lord! When love is perfected, the glory of God would also be perfected in our life.
In Ephesians chapter 3, Paul’s prayers for the growth of the spirit man began with a prayer for the inner man to be strengthened so that the presence (or glory) of Christ might be increased in us (Ephesians 3:16-17). The dwelling of Christ within us is directly related to our growth in love, culminating with the fullness of God’s presence within us (Ephesians 3:17-19). There is indisputably a direct link between the love of God and the presence or glory of God. Our final transformation in this life is that the glory of God would be seen upon us (Isaiah 60:1; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Since the glory of God and the love of God are one and the same, this final transformation is also speaking about our perfection in the love of God.
What does it mean to be perfect in love (1 John 4:18)? It means that we are exactly like Him in glory and nature. When Jesus prayed that we might be one by the glory that will be revealed to us, the glory He spoke is the love of God from the foundation of the world (John 17:22, 23; Ephesians 1:4). When we are perfected in love, our heart beats with the heartbeat of God, our mind flows with the mind of Christ and our souls resonate with the compassion of Christ. We are perfectly one in Him. It is not our love but the love or glory of the Father that transforms us.
When we walk in this measure of oneness love, we will be able to demonstrate all the works of Jesus and greater works (John 14:12). We dwell in the secret place of the Most High when our hearts are set in love towards Him (Psalm 91:14). We are shown secret things which God does not show any others because of this perfection of love in Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). The love of God (the glory of God) within us would have made us accustomed to the brilliance of His light of glory and we can behold what others cannot behold. The goal in this life (for our soul) is thus to become a lover of God. Love and glory can only be received in measures and is a step by step process (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 3:14-21). Knowing that we all are refracting different measures of love and glory directly proportional to our own inner soul transformation, we should also learn to walk only in the degree of light and love that we have received. It is possible to overstrain our physical muscles through too much exercise. It is also possible to overstrain our spiritual and soul muscles through walking beyond our faith level, beyond our love level and beyond our glory level. From glory to glory He is changing us with grace upon grace (2 Corinthians 3:18; John 1:14).
Walking in the perfect love of God is also complete freedom from consciousness of sin with just pure consciousness of God (Hebrews 10:2). The consciousness of God, of course, also includes the consciousness of His love flowing to and through us. This perfect flow is achieved by all believers at various moments in their lives. The key is not to just have it for a moment but as a life style and default consciousness. From the Spiritual point of view, we are also shining at our brightest when we are at our most loving (for the love of God and the glory of God are one and the same substance). At the peak and height of this same love and glory is also the peak and height of the greatest signs and wonders. In the book of Acts, the love of God in the Jerusalem church peaked at the point when they were one heart and one soul (Acts 4:32). Everyone was so moved by love that all things were shared in common and there was no poverty in their midst (Acts 34). It was at this height that a simple untruth caused the death of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). The light of glory was so strong in the church in Acts that even the shadow of Peter passing by brought healing to all who came (Acts 5:15). The Scriptures also record that everyone was healed (Acts 5:16).
Understanding that the love of God and the glory of God are one is paramount to flowing in the miraculous and in signs and wonders. The more love we have, the more glory we demonstrate. Even more important from an eternal point of view, to the degree that we have been transformed into the glory of God, to that degree will be able to live closest to God in eternity. Even on earth, when our spirits and souls are filled with the glory of God, a heavenly presence will always reside around us. All demons and even Satan himself is afraid of the glory and the love of God. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
Where do we begin in this walk of perfect love? We begin by loving others, including our enemies, like Jesus did. Then will we be perfect in mercy like our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:36). Learn to love those around you and those who are in the circle of your life’s path. Give love to all for that is the true path to glory. Christians who walk not in love do not understand this path and are mere believers but not disciples. By THIS shall all man know that we are disciples of Christ, that we love one another as He had loved us (John 13:34-35). There are many believers but not many disciples. The only mark of being a disciple of Christ is LOVE. Signs and wonders, power gifts, success, prosperity, provision, etc. are all side effects and not signs. The one and only mark that Jesus said that will differentiate those who are HIS DISCIPLES from those who merely believe in Him is the mark of love. Loving our neighbour is loving those who happen to be along our life’s path. We do not have to traverse sea and land to demonstrate God’s love to others. We do so right now by loving those who are in our immediate circle of life and then also those further out in our life’s path. The Good Samaritan did not ask for nor did he looked for someone along the road to care and love; the poor man attacked by robbers happen to be along the same road he took (Luke 10:33-34). Both the Levite and the priest on that same path purposefully changed the side of the road they were walking to avoid helping the poor man (Luke 10:31-32). There are none more blind than those who will not see. For the Levite and the priest, they chose not to see or know the poor man lying along the roadway. They are a disgrace to their Levitical and priestly heritage for they are supposed to be the cream of the religious crop. Similarly, ministers and Christians are a disgrace to the Lord Jesus Christ whom they proclaim if they do not walk in the love of God. In trying to follow their ten thousand spiritual and religious commandments and rules, they neglect the most important commandment of them all – love one another as Jesus loved us.
Knowing that we grow in love and glory by degrees, Christians should not feel too discouraged if they find themselves not walking perfectly in love all the time. Be patient with yourself and others as God is patient with you and others. Yet, the desire and the urge to do so must be the strongest desire we ever feel for the pursuit of God is achieved by the pursuit to walk in love. The answer to every prayer, the key to every open door, the breakthrough moment for every area is found in one main principle – love God with all of your entire being and let His love flow through your entire being for those around you. Feel His heartbeat of love. Meditate on the love of Christ through His life as recorded in the gospels. See every breath of Jesus and every thought of Jesus as one filled with the fullness of love; for Jesus is indeed love personified. The glory of Jesus when He walked on earth was powerful because His love was powerful.
In the depths and pain of His cosmic redemption death and atonement for us on the cross, Jesus took time for a very personal matter – the taking care of His mother by the apostle John (John 19:25-26). There is always time for love whether it be to one or to an infinity of God’s creation. If we don’t take time to love, to grow in love and to be loving; we have missed the most important point to all of this life. Growing in love and growing in the glory of God are priorities that we must schedule our time for. We will always give time to what we deem the most important in our lives. Understand that Jesus left us one great commandment, and that is the commandment to love one another as He loved. We must take time to cultivate that into our lives and schedule, starting with those around you.
May the love of God in Christ and the glory of God from the foundation of the world be your daily experience.
In Christ’s Love
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