Faith needs love to grow into a force that braves a person to dare to live a life that honors God, the Creator. Faith, even when it has grown, can not adequately operate without love. Even God could not operate without love, neither could God’s Son, nor can man please God without love (John 3:16; 15:9-17). Love helped Paul replace his hate for Christians and Gentiles. And therefore, Paul became their servant:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have and if I deliver by body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things believes all things, hopes all
things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecy, it will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease;as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. No I Know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (I Corinthians 13:1-13).
TRUE LOVE IS NOT GENTLE AND WEAK BUT BOLD AND STRONG TO DARE TO STAY IN THE PARTNERSHIP
God did not ask Abraham to do easy tasks, neither did Jesus or Paul, or any other partner. Every believer must carry his/her cross (Luke 14:27; Matthew 10:24). The first time the word “love” is used in Genesis was when God asked Abraham to give up what was dearest and most precious to him, Isaac his son. “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love (ahabath), and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2). This “concept of love” cannot be defined by words like “agape” or “phileo,” but by actions and by deeds. This “concept of love” stood for a “bond Covenant” God made with Abraham for life and for eternity. This “bond Covenant” was also applied to a master and his slave, a husband and his wife, and Christ and His Church or the members of that body. This “union called love” is set up by God and woe to anyone who disrupts it. Jesus and Paul regarded this relationship dead serious and some interference in the Holy Spirit’s Presence in man, may not be forgivable. The first time God mentioned the “bond of unity and oneness” was when He created Eve and Jesus endorsed it:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should to be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:18-24).
And Pharisees came up to Jesus and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away? He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.
So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come o set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than e is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me in not worthy of me. He who find his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.
He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because his is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward (Matthew 10:32-42).
TRUE LOVE IS THE HOLY SPIRIT BEARING FRUIT IN MAN AND NOT MERELY IN FAITH WITHOUT DEEDS
Jesus did not accept verbal recognition without love in action:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, not can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.
“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evil-doers’ (Matthew 7:15-23).
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt lost its taste, how shall its salt-ness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see you good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16).
So I (Paul) say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are palin: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
I we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have not self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another (Galatians 5:16-26).
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might consecrate her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that the church might be presented before him in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.” This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:25-33).
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; not in the way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good any one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Masters, do the same to them, and forbear threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours if in heaven and that there is no partiality with him (Ephesians 6:5-9).
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, among whom you also one walked, when you lived in these things. But now put away also all these: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices, and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the oe body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in you hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:1-17).
WITH THE TRUE NATURE OF LOVE IN MIND LET US LOOK AT ISAAC’S TIME.
Isaac, Abraham’s designated heir, and like his father, was peaceful and less domineering. He avoided confrontations with the Canaanites and even restrained his own shepherds and herdsmen from quarreling over the wells he and his father, Abraham’s men, had dug. Isaac kept his herds and flocks in the Negeb, between Canaan and Egypt. Isaac tried to take his animals to Egypt where there were better pasture, but he was not allowed. One day, the Philistine king Abimelech began to have designs on Rebekah and God had to whisper in his ear while he slept. The historian left us this report on God’s favored man:
Now there was a famine in the land (Canaan), besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to to him (Isaac), and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in tis land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to ou and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath which I swore to Abraham you father. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give to your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves: because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister”; for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me for the sake of Rebekah”; because she was fair to look upon. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac fondling Rebekah his wife. So Abimelech called Isaac, and said, “Behold, she is your wife; how then could you say, ‘She is my sister?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall be put to death.’
And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped on the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds, and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”
So Isaac departed from there, and encamped in the valley of Gerar and dwelt there. And Isaac dug again the well of water which had been dug in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the names which his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of sprinting water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also; so he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and over that they did not quarrel; so he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
From there he went up to Beersheba. And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father; fear not for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your descendants for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well. Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army. Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” They said, “We see plainly that the LORD is with you; so we say, let there be an oath between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm just as we have not touched you and have done nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.” So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. In the morning they rose early and took oath with one another; and Isaac set the on their way, and they departed from him in peace. That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.” He called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba to this day.
When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite; and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:1-35).