God has given us various commands and told us to obey them. They are not really dictatorial commands; God does not give His commands to restrict our freedom.
Keeping God’s commandments, loving brothers, preaching the gospel, … Everything comes from God’s love. Every word of God contains His invisible love.
We need to have knowledge of the soul so that we can understand God’s love. Unless we know the principle of the soul, we cannot understand why human beings live in sorrow and pain on this earth and why the Almighty God, who created all things by His word, has been sacrificed for our redemption for 6,000 years.
Man consists of two parts, a body made of dust and a soul-the breath of life (Gen 2:7). The dust came into being as the earth was created, while the spirit-the breath of life-had already existed with God. In other words, our spirit, the breath of life from God, lived with God in the glorious kingdom of heaven; we were all angels.
“The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,” Pro 8:22-27
Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, testified that he had already been created and watched God create all things. If he was given birth before God made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world, he must have been born a spiritual being such as an angel and watched God’s creation. So did Job.
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “… Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? … Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!” Job 38:1-7, 21
Children do not remember when they were very young, but their parents do. When God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” Job couldn’t remember the days of God’s creation, but God told him that he was already born. If Job was already given birth when God laid the earth’s foundation, where was he then? Was he on this earth? No.
Like Solomon and Job, we were also angels before we were born into this world; we lived in glory, singing the praise of God in the kingdom of heaven. However, one day we were tempted by Satan-‘the morning star, son of the dawn’-and sinned, so that we were cast down to this earth (Isa 14:12-15; Rev 12:7-9).
God willingly came to this earth from heaven to seek His lost children, taking pity on them (Matt 9:13; Luke 19:10). To seek and to save us sinners, God came in the likeness of sinful flesh; He delivered us from sin through the blood of the Passover sacrifice and made us immortal. He established the new covenant, the truth of life, and told us to keep it, so that we sinners who lost all our memories of heaven might know that there is the kingdom of God and return to it without fail. The eternal world has been prepared for us, where we must go. If we obey God’s word, we will go to heaven, our eternal home. If we don’t, we will be punished in hell.
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. … And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ Everyone will be salted with fire.” Mark 9:43-49
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores … The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abra-ham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’… ” Luke 16:19-31
The above passages describe how horrible it is to suffer in hell. It is a place of torment that lasts forever. Think of the rich man, who begged for a drop of water to cool his tongue, tormented in the flames. So God earnestly warns us to avoid punishment in hell. To deliver His children from the anguish and torment of hell, He came to this earth and established the truth of the new covenant, suffering the punishment that sinners deserve. The new covenant contains the invisible love of God who wants to forgive all our sins and lead us into the kingdom of heaven, where there is no more death or pain or sorrow (Rev 21:1-4).
Think of how many people God has used to lead us into the truth. Actually, there are lots of people around us who are sent to us by God. Sometimes they are used to test and refine us, sometimes as our good partners and leaders. God has sent them all to us in order to lead us into the eternal kingdom of heaven. However, we have been ignorant of this fact.
Feel the hand of God, who leads us to heaven through many people and spares nothing to make us new creatures. God loves and cares about us so much.
… And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … Rom 5:3-11
God loved us and willingly sacrificed Himself for us while we were still sinners who deserve to die, not to be loved by Him. He was whipped, pierced and crushed instead of us who were unredeemable sinners and shed His precious blood, in which He demonstrated His own love for us.
Worldly love is transient and conditional. No matter how much a man and woman love each other, when they get married and live together, they often quarrel with each other. Parents, children, brothers and friends depart from each other as time passes and when their circumstances change, no matter how close they are in the relationship. However, God’s love transcends all barriers.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:18-20
Only God is with us always, even to the end of the age. He loves us unconditionally; His love remains steadfast in all situations. He did not forsake us while we were still sinners. He is with us always, to the day when we go back to the eternal kingdom of heaven, and is also with us in heaven forever.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. … Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11
God is love. We should share God’s unchanging and boundless love with our brothers and sisters, with all people around us. As God’s children, we are to learn about His love and put it into action.
When I visited our Church in the USA, I happened to read a framed poem hung on the wall entitled Footprints in the Sand: “One night I dreamed a dream. I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the land, one belonging to me and one to my Lord. When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma. ‘Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.’ He whispered, ‘My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’ ”
This poem figuratively portrays God’s love. Human love is self-seeking. However, God’s love is perfect and unconditional. When we are weighed down with temptations and trials, God carries us and brings us into heaven. He covers us with His feathers and protects us from all dangers.
However, sometimes we fail to understand God’s love and grumble against God, like the person in the above story. There is nothing to complain about. Everything happens according to the will of God to lead us into the kingdom of heaven.
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! James 5:7-9
Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. … And do not grumble, as some of them did-and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. … 1 Cor 10:5-12
Grumbling leads to judgment, and judgment brings destruction. The Bible tells us that it is a grave sin to complain and he who grumbles deserves judgment and death. Think of the Israelites who grumbled against God and against Moses and Aaron, so that they were all destroyed.
Unless we feel the hand of God who helps us in all situations, the passions of our flesh make us grumble. When we restrain the desires of the flesh and entertain the desire of the Spirit, we are able to perceive God’s love with our spiritual eyes and run joyfully toward heaven.
Do we believe in God and fear Him to enhance the quality of our life on earth? Not at all. If so, Jesus would have gained worldly power when He came to this earth in the flesh. This earth is a spiritual prison-the city of refuge, not a comfortable place. Everyone carries his own cross in his or her life.
However, we are guaranteed to reap the fruits of our labor: the kingdom of heaven, eternal life, salvation, a royal priesthood, God’s unfailing love, etc. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Keeping these words in mind, let’s increase our hope for the eternal kingdom of heaven.
Unless we feel the love of God, we become weary of life on earth and start to complain. However, if we understand God’s love, we are thankful to God every day. The Bible tells us to rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in everything.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:16-18
God is our Father and Mother, and the eternal kingdom of heaven is ours. That’s why we can be joyful always. People feel sad about growing older and fearful of death. We do not feel the way they do. God has given us eternal peace, joy and happiness through the truth of the new covenant. How can we fail to rejoice and give thanks?
Thus, we can be joyful and happy when we believe in Father and Mother. We have not only the commands to keep but also love-a great mechanism.
… And over all these virtues put on love,… And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. … giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:13-17
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6-7
God has given us the truth of the new covenant and permission to enter the kingdom of heaven; God is our Father and Mother; we are brothers and sisters to one another and work hard together to lead the world to the right path and to establish the realm of the gospel. For all these things we are to be thankful. Let’s always give thanks to our heavenly Father and Mother rather than complain because of the desires of the flesh.
No one can say that he knows the Bible unless he understands God’s love. Only those who understand God’s love can truly know the Bible and God. We should fill both our home and the Church with God’s love. When we resemble God who is love and are devoted to one another in brotherly love, we will be filled with thanksgiving for everything.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. …Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. Eph 5:1-4
Thanksgiving is proof that we have understood God’s love. In Revelation 4, the elders lay their crowns before the throne and give glory to God. How are they able to do that? It is because they have understood God’s love. Likewise, we can be thankful if we understand God’s love. God has given us, who lived without hope, the hope of heaven and the blessing of eternal life. Even though we give praise and thanks to God forever and ever, that is not enough.
If we give thanks in all circumstances, God will allow us more things to be thankful for. Until we find all of our heavenly brothers and sisters, let us continue to proclaim the wonderful works of our heavenly Father and Mother, being joyful always and giving thanks in everything. God guards us as the apple of His eye and loves us endlessly. Remembering the love all the time and being thankful continually, let us proclaim the love of Father and Mother to all people around the world.