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God's Only Law Chapter 1

A Kingdom Born of Love

 

God is creating His kingdom. The kingdom we first caught a glimpse of in the garden, the kingdom Jesus came to tell us about, the eternal kingdom of His love. His kingdom is being formed by volunteers who are choosing to be born again. When we are born, God breathes the breath of life into our bodies, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7). This first birth is of the flesh and was God’s choice because He loves us and wants us to willingly choose to be part of His family.


So, He asks us to choose to be born again, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (Jn. 3:3). This is our choice. However, only when we learn to love Him, as He loves us, will we be humble enough to accept His salvation and be born again of the Spirit; thus, following Him into eternity, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (Jn. 3:6). Jesus is trying to help Nicodemus, a ruler of the Pharisees, understand that entering the kingdom of God requires a rebirth of the Spirit, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God … Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (Jn. 3:5, 10). Jesus consistently taught the religious leaders they needed to reexamine their understanding of scripture. This rebirth takes us on the journey from living in the flesh to living by the Spirit, a process God calls sanctification, “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:” (2 Thess. 2:13). God tells us that He created the sanctification process when He began creating. This process prepares us for life in His kingdom. God is watching us, and He smiles every time one of us chooses to go through the sanctification process.


“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1 Jn. 4:7). When we love God, we can decide to be reborn into His family by accepting Jesus as our Savior, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9). His law of love leads us to Christ’s sacrifice, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8), and to seek His righteousness and His kingdom, “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Lk. 12:31-32). He then calls us to be salt, to flavor this world, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13), and light, pushing back the darkness enough to lead others to Him, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16).


God created us, and He knows we are lost without Him, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy … For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Ps. 103:8, 14). He knows He had to come to us, to draw us to Him, for we would not seek Him on our own, as the Israelites proved, over and over again, “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex. 20:1-3). We would instead create gods who would tell us what we want to hear, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Tim. 4:3), gods who would allow us to do as we please. We are just too selfish to have created the real God because we would not create a God who would ask us to be unselfish, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:39). Instead, we would create one we could use to control others, a harsh god who would punish people for their disobedience, the god the Pharisees brought us.


God hates to see us following false gods to our own death. So, He sent Jesus to show us how to deal with this world’s sins and selfishness in the form of a man. While on the cross, Jesus completed the life the Father assigned Him, fully demonstrating He is willing to bear the pain and suffering of this life to save us, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (Jn. 19:30). God’s plan provides a way for us to escape to eternity. To access His plan, we must believe in Jesus and accept that we need to be patient enough to allow God’s timing to work out. We cannot walk away from Him every time something bad happens. Despite the lies of this world, our sleepless nights, or the pains and sorrows of this life, we must remain faithful. For He has a purpose for each of us, who are willing to fulfill it.


Jesus’s death on the cross introduced His new world order, one where those who had been unwelcome are now welcome, a world without force, where reigning means serving and everyone is loved, “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:26-28). Jesus came as a humble servant who was willing to die for us. When we look around at those who want to be chief among us, are they truly living their lives as unselfish servants?


Rebellion comes from our denial of God’s love. We can witness this today in every part of our world, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1 Jn. 3:1). Jesus exposed the scribes and Pharisees, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” (Matt. 23:25), to help us understand, the laws and ordinances those religious leaders created were not from God but instead born of the flesh. Those religious leaders were no different than those of us who today choose to ignore God and create our own gods, serving them instead of the real God. Unfortunately, religious leaders continue to use their created laws and ordinances to appear holy instead of demonstrating God’s law of love. This is an example of our hardening our hearts and becoming stumbling blocks along the path to His kingdom.


When a member of the Sadducees came to ask Jesus a question, Jesus denounced him for his lack of knowledge regarding the scriptures, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matt. 22:29). Those religious leaders had memorized every word of the law they created, but they refused to understand the Spirit of God’s law of love, which He explained to them in the beginning. This is why Jesus called the religious leaders of His day hypocrites and vipers, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt. 3:7). This is why He told us the parable of the Pharisee praying next to a publican, “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Lk. 18:9-14). He knows we have to humble ourselves to find Him, and this is the very reason He told us to pray in secret, to prevent us from becoming Pharisee like, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matt. 6:6), and this is why Jesus was born in a manger, demonstrating His humble nature. Jesus does not want us praying for an audience, but instead, we are to pray privately, as if we are talking with a beloved friend.


When Jesus taught us to pray, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matt. 6:9-13), He did not say, My Father, He said “our Father.” He wants us to talk directly to Him, and when we do, we willingly demonstrate our belief in Him and our love for Him. Nobody loves us like God does. He has seen all of our flaws and still sees each of us as His priceless children. And He already proved that on the cross.


When we pray, we cannot be afraid to tell God everything. He understands because He already knows everything we have done and everything we are going to say, “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." (Matt. 6:8), and “For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.” (Ps. 139:4), and “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). Our prayers are not for God. He is already perfect. They are pathways that bring us closer to Him, a step in our sanctification process. Just as conversations with friends deepen our relationships, prayers deepen our relationship with God. God is already totally committed to us. We can learn from Paul, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:20-21), who was totally committed to Jesus.


When we come to God in prayer, it should not be structured, preplanned, or with the ulterior motive of seeming holy. We can talk with Him, as we do with our friend, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matt. 6:7). Can we imagine our friend coming to talk with us and saying the same thing every day? How boring that would be. God wants us to speak to Him as a friend because He values our friendship. When we do, we learn to trust Him as a friend, as David did, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” (Ps. 66:16-20), and “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple … More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (Ps. 19:7, 10).


Religious leaders, both in Jesus’s day and today, can either lead us to surrender to God’s love, or they can lead us away from His kingdom. He wants us to discern the difference, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." (2 Pet. 2:1-3). Because He wants us to abide in Him, we cannot allow feigned words from false prophets to make merchandise of us. And He has dire warnings for those false prophets, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:21-23). Notice, He said, “Many will say to me” and “I never knew you.” This world is working hard to make merchandise of as many of us as possible. Sometimes it is sex trafficking, sometimes it is to capture our vote, and sometimes to control our actions. But what they are really doing is pushing us away from God. Those who have hardened their hearts blame God, or His followers, for everything bad that happens, including what they do themselves. This is how they continue to push us away from God. They keep telling us God is harsh, or there is no God, rather than learning God is love, which would teach them how to love. No one standing before Him on Judgment Day will be ashamed of their belief in God.


God wants us to understand that when we follow His way, we can avoid the pain and sorrows caused by our own selfish choices, which are the fruit of ignoring His Word. Divorce is an example of our rebellion, and it is regrettable because many are hurt by it. I speak from experience here, as my family and I were hurt by my first marriage ending in divorce. We were two non-believers lost in a marriage. God teaches us about marriage to help us understand what He means when He says, “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isa. 54:5). We can depend on Him because He will always love us and never divorce us, as long as we say “I do” at the altar.


From the beginning, God told us to treat marriage as a joining of flesh, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24), one flesh that should not be separated, “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matt. 19:5-6). He wants us to be one with Him, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (Jn. 17:21). We can think of the principle of burning the ships, for we should not look back when we decide to marry. Of course, this is easier when both spouses are believers, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). The movie “The War Room” might help those feeling trapped in a marriage with a non-believer. This movie describes the path to recovery when a marriage is not working.


When we understand the principle of God’s law of love, we learn to live together, and divorce is no longer needed. No longer needed because we no longer desire another flesh beyond the one created in our marriage and all of our actions totally demonstrate our love for our spouse, “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Eph. 5:33), as all of God’s actions demonstrate His love for us. When we love our spouse, as God loves us, we show our love to our spouse, and they will return it, never needing to fear us or doubt our love, as we never need to fear God or doubt His love. Instead, this ever-growing mutual love drives the lies and jealousy from our lives, as each spouse’s love feeds the fire in their spouse’s heart, as it has for my wife and me for over 40 years. This love nurtured, and growing foreshadows the ever-increasing joy we will experience for eternity as we live immersed in God’s love. God gently calls us with His loving kindness, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28). And our marriages should reflect His gentle calling. God offers all of us His eternal love and devotion because this is the kingdom He is creating.

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