Maanantai 19.11.2018
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Me odotamme uusia taivaita ja uutta maata, joissa vanhurskaus vallitsee. 2 Piet. 3:13

God’s love gives birth to joy

in English 17.12.2014 17:52 | Siionin Lähetyslehti
Love is the distinctive mark of the kingdom of God. The love of the Good Shepherd brings forth joy. A follower of Jesus Christ rejoices over the gift of faith and the hope of eternal life. The gospel gives us strength to believe and to love other children of God.
As the Passover was approaching, our Redeemer supped with His followers. He washed His disciples’ feet and thereby provided them with an example: the disciples were to do as their Lord had done to them (John 13:1–17). The Redeemer explains the meaning of the washing of feet in his farewell sermon (John 13:31–14:31). The core content of the sermon is expressed in the words: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34). Jesus’ love for his disciples was perfect to the very end. 

At the last supper the teacher told his disciples a parable of the vine and its branches: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John 15:1–4). The strength to believe and to produce good fruits flows forth from Christ.

The Holy Spirit teaches

The Son of God—the perfect teacher—tells his followers about the love of God: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:9–10).

Christ’s congregation believes and lives upon the everlasting foundation of God’s word. Jesus said: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26). “And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave his commandment. And he that keepeth his commandment dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” (1 John 3:23–24). 

The voice of the Good Shepherd is heard in the gospel

Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one
shepherd.” (John 10:14–16). We hear the voice of the Good Shepherd when a believing person proclaims forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name and atonement blood.
 
The gospel of forgiveness of sins gives the strength to believe and to love other children of God: “– – God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not within us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1: 5–9).

Joy over the love of the Good Shepherd

The love of the Good Shepherd gives birth to joy. Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11). A follower of Christ rejoices over the gift of faith which God has prepared in His Son Jesus Christ: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4).

A child of God also rejoices over the hope of eternal life: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2–3). 

Love is the distinctive mark of the kingdom of God

Love is the distinctive mark of the kingdom of God in this world. Jesus says: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35). Our Redeemer gently commands his followers: “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).
 
The mutual love of believers and the unity of the Holy Spirit call an unbelieving person to repentance and belief in the gospel; into the fellowship of the kingdom of God. There is joy in heaven and in God’s congregation over each and every one who has received the grace of repentance (Luke 15:3–7). There is great joy when the Good Shepherd finds His lost lamb: “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy; they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (Isa. 9:3).

Text Kyösti Pieviläinen
Translation K. K.
Published Siionin Lähetyslehti 2/2014

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