Eternal life is knowing God. Not knowing about God, or believing in God; everlasting life is experiencing God. We’ve been justified so we might know Him. We have been crucified with Him that we might know Him. We’ve been raised up to sit with Him in order to be able to know Him. Yeshua commanded us to abide in His love because He desires us to have the same relationship with Him as He had with the Father. We are called to have unimpeded, unhindered fellowship with Him.
There is something about being commanded to stay in a conscious awareness of God’s love that rankles the religious view of reality. Let’s examine the tension between religion and the commandment to abide.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:27-28
Religion seeks to increase the burden of overburdened souls. Religion generally hates the justifying work of the Messiah. Religion’s pathetically helpless pride hates the gift of imputed righteousness.
Religion demands that we labor to earn forgiveness or to purchase pardon. In the event that religion does not hate the justifying work of the Messiah, it hates the experience of God, the reason justification has taken place.
When we are religious we tend to condemn others. It’s just the way religious people are. They can’t help it. They are self-incarcerated in pride. They are repelled by the knowledge of God’s love. In the same way, legalism’s imprisoned heart is repelled by God’s heart which beckons us to dwell in His love.
God is calling, “Come, get to know My love.” But religion says, “Require me to do something burdensome.” Religion says, “Command me to flagellate myself. Obligate me to do something. Anything that is either unpleasant or punitive. Then I’ll feel better about myself. I can earn God’s love.”
This is whitewashed tomb language. This is the appearance of godliness rather than the heart of sanctity. The heart of sanctity is loving God in response to the experience of abiding in His love. The heart of sanctity is grateful reciprocation to the act of love which brought about redemption. The heart of sanctity is a relationship with the God who is love. That is the heart of sanctity.
The prophetic principle, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone” (Psalm 118:22) is constantly being fulfilled as we pursue apparently noble goals and ignore the whole point of redemption.
What does the first commandment say? Does it say, “You shall love the idea of God with all of your heart mind soul and strength. You shall love the information about Him.”? Does it say, “You shall love that which proceeds from Him ethically with all of your heart mind soul and strength.”? No, it doesn’t say that. It says “You shall love the Lord your God. You shall love the God with Whom you are in covenant,” In our case, we are in covenant with Him through the wounds and the blood and the death of His Son.
There’s a reason that first commandment is the first. Yeshua emphasized this as “first” because it is intrinsically the most important! How will we ever fulfill this commandment? Yeshua gives us a secret. He says, “Receive.” You get saved by receiving. How do you grow?
6 Therefore as you have received Messiah Yeshua the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7
Receive the command to abide in Yeshua’s love. Receive Yeshua’s love.
Yeshua interacted with multitudes of religiously exhausted countrymen and said:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Yeshua said, “Come … rest,” and many have gone to Yeshua for the Sabbath of forgiveness and restored righteousness. He wants us to take on His easy yoke. A good translation of the word that is translated ‘easy” (chrestos) is “kind.” Read the verse again: “My yoke is kind and my load is light.”
If the thought of taking this invitation seriously and actually resting (abiding in His love) causes you to fear that you’ll never accomplish anything, you’re wrong.
There may be some who say to themselves, “I am abiding in the love of God”, but never hear the heart of God for anybody but themselves. If this is the case they have yet to have broken through out of a babyish relationship.
If a person is saying, “I am abiding in the love of God,” and are selfish, self centered, manipulative, and controlling… perhaps there is something wrong with their grasp of all that abiding in His love means.
Some use the grace of God as a license to sin. Does that mean we shouldn’t receive the grace of God?
Some use the Scriptures to hide from God. Does that mean we shouldn’t study?
Some want to minister so they may be admired by others. Does that mean we shouldn’t serve?
Some may use truths about God’s love as an excuse to remain immature… However, I have seen the command to abide vindicated in the lives of sincere believers.
What actually happens when we choose to abide is this: When one abides in God’s love you get to know His communion, His affection, and His approval. God edifies you; He builds you up.
Many people try to avoid being religious and end up embracing dubious lifestyles and attitudes. Instead of trying to defeat ‘the religious spirit’ why not concentrate on cutting to the heart of why we’ve been created? Abiding in the love of Yeshua short-circuits the ungodly religious influence.
The Lord didn’t create you to fulfill some abstract standard of righteousness. You were created to know Him. Begin to abide in that knowledge, today. Go to the Messiah and learn of Him. He’ll reveal the Father to you. He’ll reveal His love.