Rom. 5:5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Can you remember what it was that won you to Christ at the very beginning? It wasn’t the professional organization of the church, the philosophical argument of the Christian position, or even the slick presentation of a preacher. Inevitably, the thing that got me was the same thing that got you. What was it? It was the unconditional, relentless, and endless love of God. He loved us despite what we had done or who we had become. He loves us still. That’s what got me; that’s what keeps me. But here is the shocking thing; that love not only flows into us, now it also flows out of us. He has made us lovers of the unlovely. It is the real litmus test to determine if what you have is the real deal; is God’s love for messed up people stirring up in your belly? Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray from Africa in the 1800’s. The gospel hasn’t changed.
“In days of unrest and strong racial feeling, we need a new discovery of the love of God. Let us anchor our hope in the thought of God’s love. God’s power, by which He rules and guides the world, is the power of an undying, persistent love. He works through men and women wholly yielded to Him and His service. He waits for them to open their hearts to Him and then, full of courage, to become witnesses for Him. When this has been achieved, Christ’s kingdom is manifested and the reign of love on earth begins. Christ died in order to establish this kingdom. The only means He used to gain influence was through the manifestation of a serving, suffering love. He saw the possibility of redemption in the hearts of even the worst of men and women. He knew that our hearts could never resist the steady, continuous influence of love; that unbounded faith in God’s love would be our strength and stay. It was this love that enabled the disciples to expect and do the impossible.”
I remember being surprised by God’s love when I first accepted Christ. As His love was formed in me, I was surprised again at the changes He worked in me. Christ was in me now and He was doing in me and through me what He always does, He was loving hurting people. Paul said to check ourselves to see if we are in the faith. This love thing is a sure fire check.