Unconditional Love – BT9
Horizontal-love for people and Vertical-love for God depends on Vertical-Love from God
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When unconditional-love comes ek out-from-the-interior-of Christians (C) Horizontally for People (P), mathematically shown as C –> L –> P, or even Upwards-Vertically back to God (C –> L –> G), what is actually happening is God is coming out from Christians (C –> G) because of God being unconditional-love (G = L) and unconditional-love coming ek out-from-the-interior-of God (G –> L) making unconditional-love equal to God (L = G) – see Unconditional-Love – BT8, and this Horizonal-love for People (C –> L –> P) is actually Downwards-Vertical-Love from God to the Christian (G = L –> C) flowing through the Christians to People (G = L = G –> C –> L –> P), even Upwards-Vertically back to God (G = L = G –> C –> L –> G). This is what Christian service actually is – it witnesses God within Christians, giving God not only to Christians but through Christians to People and back to Himself. That’s how Paul could say “For from Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things” (a) so “that God may be all in ALL” (b). <Notes> a) Romans 11:36, b) 1 Corinthians 15:28.
But we’ve seen this from the previous BLOG in 1 John 4:7-8 that says: “Beloved, let us unconditionally-love one another, for this unconditional-love (L) IS/exists/is-defined-as ek out-from-the-interior-of God (L = G) and/thus everyone [who is] routinely unconditionally-loving, [he/she] has been begotten ek out-from-the-interior-of God and/coupled [he/she] experientially, relationally, ginosko knows God. Anyone who is not in possibility routinely unconditionally-loving, has absolutely in fact not already experientially, relationally, ginosko known God because God IS/defined-as/exists-as Unconditional-Love.”
That’s exactly John’s point: God the Father, Son, and Spirit’s fruit/essence/nature of unconditional-love flowing downwards into Christians (G = L = G –> L –> C), where it produces unconditional-love IN us by the means of the Holy Spirit (a) for other, which is either Horizontal unconditional-love to People (G = L = G –> L –> C –> L –> P), or reciprocally back Vertically-Upward to God (G = L = G –> L –> C –> L –> G). Can you see how the Vertically-Downwards unconditional-love of God is the reason for the not only our Vertical-Upwards unconditional-love for God but Horizontal unconditional-love for people in 1 John 4:10-11 “This is unconditional-love: absolutely in fact not that we already have [with ongoing effects] unconditional-loved God but that He already [in the past] unconditional-loved us coupled/namely (b) sent his Son to be the propitiation (c) for our sins. Beloved, if God already SO unconditional-loved us, we also (b) opheilo are-indebted (d) to presently-ongoingly unconditional-love one another.” <Notes> a) Romans 5:5, 15:30; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 1:8, b) kai often means and-coupled, but can also mean “still, besides, also, moreover, likewise, even, indeed, namely, specifically”, c) propitiation or atonement means sin in our flesh transferred into His flesh on the cross so that at His resurrection His righteousness is transferred to us, d) opheilo: owe, are indebted or obliged to rectify/pay-off a legitimate debt, even of moral responsibility. The NT use of this word it not a “work to remove debt” because that’s what the “propitiation of Christ” did. It is a 1 Thessalonians 1:3 “labor of unconditional-love” act of gratitude or thanksgiving. The next BLOG will talk about this more.
But working backwards through 1 John 4:7-8, John also says: Unconditionally-loving People (L –> P) and God (L –> G) actually proves we really are Christians (C) who have received God’s unconditionally-loving fruit/essence/nature that begot us from God, so the whole process from God to Christians to People (G = L = G –> C –> L –> P) or back to God (G = L = G –> C –> L –> G) all depends on God!
I never really understood this “Unconditional-Love = God” and “God = Unconditional-Love” mathematical symmetry of equality until this vision that started back in Unconditional-Love – BT4, but explains that “our unconditional-love for People” or “for God” completely depends on “God IS defined-as/existing-as Unconditional-Love” and His Downwards unconditional-love shown toward us through Christ. However, we can’t get the latter confused with the former. We can’t confuse the cart with the horses or get the cart before the horses. God’s nature and demonstrated unconditional-love is the “horse-power” that pulls the cart!
I’ve heard so many preachers say: “Our horizontal fellowship with others relies on our vertical fellowship with God,” and they put it all on our shoulders – that our “Upwards-love” is the real problem with our Horizontal-love for people, so “time to get to work on your fellowship with God!” This is just rephrasing the OT commandment to “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength!” I’ve heard other preachers say: “We are commanded to love others, so do your Christians duty and be obedient to Christ. Get busy loving others.” But this is just rephrasing the OT commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In fact, many preachers don’t even try to hide their fondness for OT commandments. Paul would call them “false-teachers” (a) because they are “teachers of the Law” (b), even “false brethren secretly brought in to spy our our freedom [from the Law] we have in Christ” (c). However, Paul was recognized as one who spoke against the Law (d), and warned Timothy against such (e). The NT speaks many negative things against obedience to any part of the Law and those who teach it – see Logos Word of God – BT8. Once you get on any part of that slippery slope, like I have heard so many preachers do, you will slip to the bottom of the slope and be right back into slavery to the Law, a Law that nobody can keep, a Law that made nothing perfect, the Law of sin and death, and thus back to religion! But this is absolutely not NT fellowship with God! <Notes> a) 2 Peter 2:1, b) Luke 5:17; Acts 5:34, c) Galatians 2:4, d) Acts 21:28, e) 1 Timothy 1:7.
That is exactly why after writing 1 John 4:7-8 above, John writes 1 John 4:10-11 to keep Christians from slipping on that ‘Law slope: “THIS is-defined-as unconditional-love: Absolutely in fact not that we have unconditionally-loved God (the Law’ upwards unconditional-love to/for God), but that He unconditionally-loved us (the Gospel’s downwards unconditional-love from God) and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (the Gospel). Beloved, since God so unconditionally-loved us (the Gospel’s downwards unconditional-love from God), we also opheilo are-indebted to unconditionally-love one another” – Christ’s only commandment to believers: horizontal unconditional-love to others. The impetus for horizontally, unconditionally-loving others is NOT the Law’s Upward-love to/for God, but God’s Downward-love to us through Christ and IN us by the Holy Spirit. That is what the NT called koinonia fellowship with God.
The apostle Paul understood where the enabling-power of unconditional-love comes from – and it’s not from us: “For The unconditional-Love of/belonging-to Christ (a) actually, ongoingly controls, preoccupies, constrains, or compels us (b) because we have judged this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all that those who are presently-ongoingly living might absolutely in fact no longer ongoingly live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised” (c). We are not forced into this as slaves! As we’ve seen with the word opheilo above for “indebtedness” that there is no way through ‘duty or obligation’ we could repay our debt of sin, but we can respond with a “labor of unconditional-love” (d) act of gratitude or thanksgiving. The next BLOG will talk about this more. <Notes> a) possessive genitive, b) see Surrender Control, c) 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, d) 1 Thessalonians 1:3.
The enabling-power of unconditional-love that gives us “self-control/mastery” (a) and that “preoccupies, constrains, or compels us” to “live for Christ” instead of just ourselves, is absolutely not “our unconditional-love FOR God” (Upwards-love) but instead “Christ’s unconditional-love for us (Downwards-love), giving Himself for us” – that’s the meaning of the possessive genitive: “The unconditional-Love of/belonging-to Christ.” Again, this supernatural Unconditional-Love is the nature/essence/definition of Jesus (J), who clearly is God according to the NT (G = L = G = J) shown to Christians (G = L = G = J = L –> C) is a Downward-love. However, once it really is IN us by the indwelling Holy Spirit, then it supernaturally-enables us to unconditionally-love God (Upwards-love: G = L = G = J = L –> C –> G) and people (Horizontal-love: G = L = G = J = L –> C –> P). <Notes> a) another “flavor or facet” of The Unconditional-Love of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.
As Christian musicians, the NT writers knew that the source of Christian unconditional-love FOR God or others was NOT within flawed men’s “might and power”, no matter what our motivation, because that is exactly the expectation and flaw of the palios “old, antiquated, worn-out, useless” covenant. Instead the source is the very fruit/essence/nature/definition of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Just as the previous BLOGs reveal, unconditional-love is not part of creation ‘outside of God’ but the singular nature of God! “ALL THINGS are from, through, and to Him” because it turns out that His very nature of “Unconditional-Love” is what “holds all things together.” The ‘unifying-force’ isn’t a WHAT at all, but the WHO of God. Our ability to Upwards-Vertically love God and Horizontally-love people ALL comes “from and through Him.” It really all does come down to dechomai receiving-welcoming and lambano seizing-for-yourself the Unconditional-Love that is God. And really that’s what Romans 1:17 means: “the righteous-ones shall indeed zoe genuinely-live by trusting-relying-faith from one step of trusting-relying-faith to another, from beginning to end,” as this common Greek idiom “faith to faith” translates.
You can’t give what you don’t possess. God flows out unconditional-love to us “from Himself” because He is infinite Unconditional-love. This comes into us through Christ as His Spirit when we dechomai receive-welcome and lambano seize-for-ourselves this free grace-gift of salvation through surrendering-repentance, confession, and water-baptism. But it doesn’t stop there! Every time we come into intimate koinonia fellowship with God and we are “routinely filled with the abundant-fullness of God by the means of the Spirit” per Ephesians 3:19 and 5:18, which is Spirit-baptism, we get more of God and His unconditional-love. This is the only way to live the Christian ‘walk’ by routinely getting filled up WITH God and this is the only way we can experience and give away unconditional-love, the very nature of God. Jesus was correct in John 15:4-7 that ONLY if we meno abide/cohabitate/remain IN Him will we be able to produce much fruit to glorify God, and in Matthew 19:26 and Mark 10:27, “WITH God all things are possible.” It’s not about following the Law to “Love God” or “Love your neighbor” nor is it even about the NT commandment “to ongoingly unconditionally-love one another as I have you.” It all comes back to that trusting-relying-faith connection to the Lord, the first and only other NT commandment – see Logos Word of God – BT15!
Lord, keep us close to You for we know that nothing good comes from our flesh and only “God is good.” We want to love You and other more, but we know that our “might and power” of Zechariah 4:6 just won’t cut it. We need Your Spirit to supernaturally-enable this within us, by flooding us with Yourself, Your unconditional-love. Fills us! Baptize us! We just want You. We know that “ALL things” flow from You!