To Know Divine Love (3)
For God to fulfill
His purpose today, He
needs some believers to
take the way of
death and resurrection,
just as Christ did
John 3:16 tells how God loved us by giving up His one and only Son for us; then 1 John 3:16 shows us what it means to know God’s love:
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
So, how did Christ experience this, and how do we experience it as believers today?
Just before He died, Jesus explained the real significance of what He was about to pass through when He said,
“The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
— John 12:23-24
A grain of wheat is “glorified,” so to speak, by being planted in the earth and dying so that it may sprout up and produce many grains of wheat. The Lord is saying here that He was just like a grain of wheat; at that time the divine life was concealed within Him, just as the life of a seed is concealed within its husk. Through His death, His crucifixion, however, that life would be released. Then in resurrection He could impart that divine life into all those who would believe in Him.
And ultimately, this aspect of what Christ experienced must be, and will be, reproduced in every one of His believers. We will become, so to speak, the “many grains” produced through the death and resurrection of Christ.
In the New Testament, we see this most clearly in the life of the Apostle Paul. First he tells us that the divine life, with the divine glory, has been imparted into us as the believers in Christ:
It is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
— 2 Corinthians 4:6
Then he tells us what the result of receiving the “treasure” of the divine glory was in his own experience:
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
— 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
And he sums it up by saying that the apostles were always entering into the experience of the death of Christ, so that His divine life could also be expressed through them:
…Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
— 2 Corinthians 4:10-11
And what is the result? That the eternal, divine life they had received could work in other believers as well:
So then death is working in us, but life in you.
— 2 Corinthians 4:12
This is what it really means to “lay down our life for the brothers,” as 1 John 3:16 says, and this is what it means to really know the divine love: to put ourselves in the Lord’s hand, even to the point that we allow Him to break us to pieces, so that His divine life may flow out from within us to all the saints (cf. John 7:38-39).
Since the early days of the church so many saints have taken this way of death and resurrection so that the Lord could fulfill His purpose, and it is believers like this that the Lord is seeking today, to fulfill His purpose in our time.
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— 1 July 2023 —