The Believer’s Love-walk.

John 3:16 (NKJV)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


The word “so” as used here was translated from the Greek word “houtos” which means “in this manner.” Therefore, it is obvious that Jesus was not making reference to an intensity by using “so” here. Rather, He is describing the Love of the Father.


Hence, the text can be better read:


This is how we know that God loves us (For God in this manner loved the world), in that He gave His only begotten Son.


The love of the Father for mankind is thus defined in the Redemptive sacrifice of Jesus for sins!


Paul said the same thing in Romans 5


Romans 5:6-8 (NKJV)


6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


But God DEMONSTRATES. The word “demonstrates” was translated from the Greek word “sunistémi” which means “to exhibit, show, prove.” Implying that the love of the Father was not merely in words alone, He actually proved same in His actions towards us, namely Christ dying for us.


John too echoes this


1 John 3:1, 16 (NKJV)


1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.


16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.


Actually in the Greek: “By this we have ascertained (perceived, recognized) love”


So, in the work of Christ, we see the love of God for man displayed. It’s not some abstract feeling, God’s love is not a feeling. It’s seen in His act towards mankind.


“Agape” is the word used in the Greek to qualify this love (in the texts above quoted).


Agape is self-sacrificial love. It is one sided benevolence, where only one party is doing all the work. The other party does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to merit this kind of love. It is unceasing GOODWILL, whether the other party has been good or not!


This is God’s disposition towards mankind, Paul explains.


Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.


In Titus as well


Titus 3:1-7 (NKJV)

1 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.




1 Corin. 15:3-5 (NKJV)

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died FOR our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,


Note the preposition “for” which Paul uses (in vs. 3). It is from the word “huper” in the Greek manuscript. “Huper” contextually means “on behalf of, in place of.” It is used in qualifying actions “for the benefit of another.” Evidently, the Apostle Paul had picked this up from the Tanakh, particularly the writings of the Prophet Isaiah.


Isaiah 53:4-6 (NKJV)

4 Surely He has borne OUR griefs

And carried OUR sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But He was wounded for OUR transgressions, He was bruised for OUR iniquities; The chastisement for OUR peace was upon Him,

And by HIS stripes WE are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of US.


That is, what the Christ did was not for Himself; it was FOR us. Jesus didn’t need His death, His burial, nor His Resurrection. They were for the benefit of others!


Hence, we have received precedence from the Head of the Church. We are to act the same way; follow in His footsteps of self-sacrifice.


That’s what the Apostle John says


1 John 3:16 (NKJV)

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.


The word “ought” as used here is very strong in the Greek. It is the word “opheílō” which means “indebted, obliged, to be bound by duty or necessity.” It originally belonged to the legal sphere in Ancient Greek and was used initially to express one’s legal and economic, and then later one’s moral duties and responsibilities to diety and to men, or to their sacrosanct regulations. It expressed human and ethical responsibility. So the text can be better read:


“..And we also are obliged (demanded of necessity) to lay down our lives for the brethren (indebted by the favour we have received in His laying down His life for us).”


Morphologically, the word “ought” appears in the present active indicative in the Greek Lexicon. This means that this is a continuous, never-changing fact describing our responsibility towards the brethren.


Note also that the Apostle does not instruct that you go and die for another believer. Jesus already did that.


1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NKJV)

9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 WHO DIED FOR US, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.


What John means here (1 John 3:16) is that we reciprocate the same sacrificial love that Jesus showed us to others.


Why would he instruct this? Simple: Because in Christ is capacity to love


Gal. 5:22-26 (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


The word “fruit” here (vs. 22) was translated from the Greek noun “karpos” which contextually refers to “an effect or result.” We are not to try to produce these fruits, they are already a product of recreation by the Spirit we received at salvation. The fruits of the Spirit are our realities now!


It is a tragic sight when a believer claims attributes which are not his in Christ “I’m a melancholic, I am choleric, I have anger issues” etc. In Christ, such terminologies do not exist. We are exactly like Him!


1 John 4:17 (NKJV)

17 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.


He has put His very nature within our hearts. This was spoken of earlier in Ezekiel.


Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NKJV)

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.


This has become our reality today


Phi. 2:12-13 (NKJV)

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.


He works in us the desires to do His pleasure. So, we have that same sacrificial love of God in us, by His Spirit in our hearts.


Romans 5:5 (NKJV)

5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


Gal. 4:6-7 (NKJV)

6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.


Hence the instructions in the Epistles concerning proper Christian conduct are such because we have ALREADY been enabled to carry them out. There is nothing we are asked to do that we have not already received empowerment to perform!


Heb. 12:14 (NKJV)

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:


Without our proper conduct (peace with all, which, in context, is holiness or different living), men around us will not see the Lord! We are to portray Him (the invisible God) in our actions towards them. Simply put: Let others see Jesus in you!


The same thing, Jesus said in Matthew 5


Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV)


43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.


It is in your conduct that you portray your heavenly Father. “Sons” here (vs. 45) was used in context for those, who in character, resemble another. So we are to act like our Father.


Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV)

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.


We can now forgive, just as God forgave us.


1 John 4:7-11 (NKJV)

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 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. 10 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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.


If God so loved, we ought to as well!


Paul drives the narrative


Romans 12:9-10 (NKJV)


9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;


Ephesians 4:1-2 (NKJV)

1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,


Peter too


2 Peter 1:5-9 (NKJV)

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.


To not love is to have forgotten that tradition of self-sacrifice we observed from the Master. So, when we see instructions to love, they are not instructions to “go out of our way,” love IS our way! We are actually acting natural to ourselves. A believer not walking in love has forgotten who he is.


1 Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV)

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.


So, let’s portray God on Earth, in our lives and relationships. God has loved us, selflessly.


1 Thess. 4:9 (NJKV)

9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;


How were we taught? We saw it in what He did for us in Christ! Now He expects that we do the same to others; to continue that current of love is a duty in Christ. Do not stifle this current in your conduct. I trust this blessed you. Let me know. Share with a friend too.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2021.


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