While there are many biblical themes that Christians should place primacy on, none seem as powerful as the subject of love. On Tuesday night, Anthony discussed the power and importance of recognizing and receiving God’s love. In discussing the matter, Anthony referenced Romans 8:38-39, which reads: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Although these two passages contain many themes, one simple concept dominates the scriptures: we cannot be separated from the love of God. This love is realized through Christ Jesus, the Lord who sacrificed His life so that we could have new life.
Although much can be said about the love of God, Anthony emphasized some important ideas surrounding the matter. One of them-which seems to be a popular topic amongst both believers and unbelievers-is the fact that many people choose not to attend church because they do not sense the love of God there. When this is the case, the culprit may be that Christians themselves are not experiencing God’s love and are therefore incapable of demonstrating this love to those who do not know Him.
In addition to discussing how sensing a lack of love in the church keeps people away from it, Anthony talked about things that can cause us as believers to feel separated from the love of God. Amongst the primary culprits were sin and failure to forgive ourselves. When we continually engage in behaviors or maintain attitudes that do not please God, these forms of sin alienate us from the love He wants to shower on us. In addition to this, our recognition of and reflecting on sins we have committed in the past often makes us feel that we cannot be loved by God. Yet this assumption is false and must be challenged if we are ever to live the Spirit-filled life God has for us. Because this Spirit-filled life is grounded in recognizing the love God’s son showed for us when He died on the cross, an inability to receive that love renders us powerless to live victoriously and win others to Christ.
Despite the challenges that believers may have when they find themselves feeling separated from the love of God, Anthony reminded us that it is possible to continually experience it. The key is often asking difficult questions, such as whether or not we know God’s heart. Anthony also emphasized the fact that there is no perfect church or perfect pastor. Thus when we recognize God’s willingness and inability to demonstrate His love to and through imperfect people, we are often better able to go after lost souls. And that, after all, is the heart of Christianity.