The Love of God
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. [i]
This passage of scripture, at least the first part, verse 16, is probably one of the most popular. Go into any Christian bookstore and you’ll find cups, ties, plaques, posters, notebooks and so much more, all with these famous words emblazoned upon them.
God so loved the World that he gave… in that simple phrase the nature of God is truly revealed. He didn’t demand. He didn’t punish. He also didn’t let the world simply languish.
There are a few concepts, this being one of the major hurdles that often escape the understanding of the average punter who sits in a church pew and hears this verse; while inside their head they’re hearing:
“Oh, no, not that again!”
“What does it mean anyway?”
“If God’s so good and so great why is my life so bad?”
“John and Mary’s baby died last month, why didn’t God stop that from happening if he’s so good and so great?”
“What about all that stuff in the Old Testament about God making people sick and suffering?”
“What am I doing here anyway?”
If you grew up being made to go to a church where there was the same routine, week in, week out. Where people started looking at their watches the moment the minister stepped into the pulpit and the countdown was on.
Where Holy communion saw the mass exodus of characters, with the bread probably still on their tongue, racing for the door making for their car to ensure that they didn’t get caught in the inevitable traffic jam after the service.
Where there was all this talk about loving one another, yet the minute Mrs. Jones turned her back and walked away from the main group the rest of the women were commenting on what she wore, or didn’t; what her little one was doing throughout the service and “Where was her husband, Joe?”
If that was your experience of church, then it is no wonder the idea of a Loving God is, if nothing else, slightly skewed.
The other experience is that everything and everyone appeared to change around Christmas and Easter, but that change was short-lived and you were lucky if it lasted more than 24 hours let alone 7 days.
Easter was always solemn. A certain hush hung over the congregation as they watched the 5th grade depiction of the crucifixion at the front of the church on Good Friday. The minister having to find the energy to fight his retching while kneeling down to wash the freshly un-socked and putrefying feet of the 12, 17-year-old, Year 12 boys, chosen for the Maundy Thursday service and the alter boy’s cassock going up in flames on Saturday night, at the vigil mass, because he dropped the lit taper and had spilt the alter wine on himself while setting up the offertory tray.
Good Friday we’d all seen Jesus nailed to the cross and by Sunday he was supposed to have risen from the dead; yet he was still hanging on every cross around the church.
Contradictions, unanswered and unaskable questions, blatant hypocrisy and meaningless, repetitious ritual are sadly the experience of many who go to church, who then hear that their country is a Christian Country, when mindless “patriots” want to undermine the existence of any marginalised group looking for basic human respect. This spiritual schizophrenia is what fuels the retreat of many with a desire to be honest with themselves and the world around them.
These images, if slightly (and I do mean very slightly) exaggerated, surrounded me as I grew up in church. In my case I wasn’t made to go to church, I wanted to go to church. But, even though all of this kind of behaviour was going on around me, this was not sufficient to stop me going.
For me, church was my sanctuary, my safe haven. It wasn’t an escape, inasmuch as it was more my classroom, for instruction on how to succeed, in this life. The more I was ostracised at school the more I grew to know, not just hope, or simply believe; I knew
that God was real, that Jesus is my friend and that Holy Spirit is in and with me. I learned that I had to rely on that relationship, even if only, to simply survive.
AGAPE the Love that lasts
It is understood that this word existed in the language of the Greeks. But, until the Life, death and Resurrection of Jesus, there had been no example of this love that was anything more than theory. Agape, ἀγάπη, is defined as:
“Love: the highest form of love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God. agápē embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends, that serves regardless of circumstances. The noun form first occurs in the Septuagint, but the verb form goes as far back as Homer, translated literally as affection, as in “greet with affection” and “show affection for the dead.
In Christianity Agape is considered to be the love originating from God or Christ for humankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one’s fellow man. Although the word did not have a specific religious connotation, it has been used by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including biblical authors and Christian authors.”[ii]
Sadly, the Old English word that was used for Agape in the past was “Charity”. Which, in a modern context has become synonymous with failure and is reviled, rather than regarded. Even more distressing though, is that the word “Love” has been relegated as well. Through overuse, or for the most part, misuse, it has been maligned as a sign of weakness, a ‘soppy’, effeminate emotional expression and disparaged as meaningless by many.
Given, this etymological shift in the English language, it would serve us well to both gain an understanding of the kinds of Love that exist and get a better understanding of what is being spoken about when we see this word being used, both in the world around us, as well as when we enter the study of the language of the bible.
There are four words, in the Greek language, of the bible, that have been translated as ‘Love’ in English. These are: Storge, Philia, Eros and Agape. I’ve already given you a definition for the word Agape. But, to help it stand out even further for you it is worthwhile looking at the definitions of the other three:
Storge: στοργή (gr) in its simplest form is called Affection. It is liking someone, through the fondness of familiarity, family members or people who relate in familiar ways that have otherwise found themselves bonded by chance.
Philia: φιλία (gr), in some instances it is also spelt Phileo, is often referred to as the bond of friendship. It is the love between friends as close as siblings in strength and duration. The friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common values, interests or activities.
Eros: ἔρως (gr), is love in the sense of ‘being in love’ or ‘loving’ someone, as opposed to raw sexuality. Eros turns the “need-pleasure” of Venus into the most appreciative of all pleasures. But, there is the modern tendency for Eros to become a god to people who fully submit themselves to it, a justification for selfishness, even a phallic religion.
Eros (or being in love) is in itself an indifferent, neutral force: however, Eros in all its splendor…may urge to evil as well as good. It can also have a spiritual nature of its own as demonstrated in numerous pagan religions.[iii]
Even reading this brief summary of the four loves in classical Greek understanding demonstrates just how far language has deteriorated, to the point where we can ‘Love’ Ice-Cream, or our car, a cat, or simply looking out at a panoramic view. Yes, there are other words we can use and are part of the repertoire that is available; like, enjoy, lust and even satisfaction can provide alternatives that will, in fact, provide a much clearer understanding of what we mean to say. However, common practice has settled upon the word ‘Love’.
As a result of this compromise, however, we have done ourselves a disservice; neglecting the vast array of words within our vocabulary and participating in the dumbing-down of society as a whole. At the same time, we have also served to diminish the richness and the depth of meaning, with which that wonderful word, LOVE was originally endowed. In so doing we approach texts, such as the bible, engaging the shallows and missing the wonders available, except to those who choose to purposely plumb those depths.
The current resurgence of and the clarion call to return to the study of the Word of God; not for simply a head-knowledge, but for the purpose of a practical application and demonstration of the intent and desire of a loving God, who is able to and will confirm his Love, his Word, his abundant Salvation, when it is preached and mixed with Faith.
It is also not insignificant that, in this current move of God, he is choosing to use the abased and the despised things of this world, to share the Gospel of the Love of God.
For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, so that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God. [iv]
In particular, the rise of the Affirming and Welcoming movement is testament to the extent of God’s desire for ALL of the world to know just how much he loved us through the sacrifice of Himself in Jesus Christ, the anointed and his anointing on Calvary.
Agápē and the New Creation
Along with the force of Faith and the force of Righteousness, as driving forces of the New Creation, Born Again, in Christ Jesus, the overarching force is most definitely Love (the ἀγάπη, agápē Love) given full expression in the life and work of Jesus, in his earthly ministry.
You might stand and say: “Brother Graham, that’s all well and good, he was God!” and to a degree I’d have to side with you there. However, if Jesus walked as God upon the Earth, then it would be both cruel and seriously remiss of him to have said:
“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.[v]
Note that he wasn’t just talking to and about the small group of apostles that were gathered around him. But he was referring to “anyone [who] steadfastly believes in Me;”[vi] that includes you and me. If you’ve been Born Again this is literally talking about you as well.
We need to renew our minds to understand that Jesus did not operate as God while in his 3 year Earthly ministry. The fall of humanity had been the responsibility of a man and the work of redemption had to be fulfilled by a man; otherwise it would not have been legal. The discussion about the Legal and Vital aspects of redemption are for another day, suffice to say that Jesus had to fulfil ALL the LAW and the PROPHETS, for the act of redemption to be complete. The truth of the matter is that Jesus’ ministry was that of a man,
“anointed with the Holy Ghost and with Power; who went about doing good and destroying all the works of the devil, for God was with Him.”[vii]
In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul, or we could say it this way, Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul reminds us that:
“Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus:[Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [ possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross![viii]
“But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity]”[ix] on coming into this world he laid aside all of the attributes and privileges that would have been peculiar to him as God. Instead he took on the role of a man, a sinless man (there was no sin nature in his flesh because he was not born of the seed of man, but that of a virgin) who walked in righteousness and holiness. As a man anointed by God, he was able to deliver an object lesson on what a born again person could do if they stepped out in faith, on the righteousness given to them, in the New Birth.
Paul reinforces this in Romans 1:23 and it is further reinforced in Hebrews 2:18 and 4:15; in fact, the whole of the book of Hebrews discusses this substitutionary work, by Jesus, the first begotten from among the dead; raised up into Sonship once again, after enduring the very pains and punishment for ALL humanity’s sin; once and for all.
However, if you have never been taught regarding the substitutionary work of Jesus, or, if you have never been taught how to read the bible for yourself; if you believe that you are not worthy to receive anything from God that you would like, or that God is an ogre in the sky just waiting for you to make a mistake, so that he can punish you, or put Cancer on you, or your children; you can’t be held responsible for not realising the wonder and the incredible things that God wants to do in and through your life. The role he has planned for you to play in his great outpouring of Love upon the Earth.
The Role of ‘The Word’ in Your Love Walk
We have to come to the point, in our Christian walk, where we understand that we cannot afford to live like we’re playing church on Sundays (or whenever you hold Sabbath) and then just live like the world for the rest of the week.
This New Life is, in fact, a 7day a week, 24 hours a day and 365.25 days a year. We can’t afford to. The day we got Born Again a set of big red concentric circles was painted on us and the enemy has been looking for a way to destroy you ever since. It’s because he knows that if you ever get to understand who you are and the potential you have, to destroy him and all of his works, he and his cohorts are truly done for.
That is why, for centuries, the truth of the Word of God was hidden away in monasteries, being copied and illuminated by the hand of monks, who, for the most part, were illiterate of the language they were copying, into magnificent manuscripts and volumes, some of which exist to this day. Incidentally, this period in western history, beginning in the 5th Century CE[x] is also referred to as “The Dark Ages” which begins to decline with the invention of the Gutenberg press at the head of the Renaissance, in Europe and the Reformation headed by Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” nailed to the doors of Wittenberg castle church in 1587.
The enemy has tried to keep the body of Christ reaching its full potential, while creating a religion out of the truth, replacing truth with tradition and idolatry. The level of deception seems to have known no bounds, as demonstrated by the Inquisition in Rome and the use of Auto-de-fé[xi] to exact retribution upon dissent in France; evil called good and good evil, to suit the whims of ambitious men.
The ability of people to access the Word of God in this day and age, more specifically in the western world is multitude. People carry their bible in different formats, in different translations, in their bags, on their mobile phones and similar devices. They can access The Word night and day, yet now, more than ever, there is a serious need for the discipline required to ‘remember’ to look to The Word.
I appreciate and use technology to the greatest extent that I can. I have the bible on a number of platforms in a number of translations, so that it is always at my fingertips. However, I am also aware of the limitations of batteries and encourage people to own and use a paper bible, particularly one that they can write in and underline and mark-up during study.
I will admit I am a bibliophile. I really like books. But, there is also the reality that familiarity with your paper bible, when you find yourself in the midst of a remote African village, with little or no access to electricity (Yes they still exist) and God asks you to preach a message. But, your entire bible is locked up in, what has effectively become as useful as a doorstop, your SMART phone, or tablet. Yes, the Word should be in your heart. But, even in the midst of a ‘preach’, you may need to actually read a verse, to make a point.
Now we have the mechanics of getting The Word in front of us sorted, the question that needs to be asked is: Why is that so important?
There are a number of very good reasons, I will endeavour to deal with at least one major one here in Joshua:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success”[xii]
Then in Proverbs:
“My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh”[xiii]
In the original Hebrew, the word translated medicine in verse 22 can also be translated medicine. So the Word of God is Life for the heart and medicine for the soul. In the New Testament we find this reinforced by the Apostle Paul in numerous places:
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you”[xiv]
“And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness”[xv]
“So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself”[xvi]
To be able to develop our walk with God and in particular in the Love walk then we need to know how that to do it and we also have to change our own selfish ways to the selfless ways of Jesus. Our prayer life is essential for this to happen. But, if we do not know what the Word of God has to say, in regard to the problems that come up before us, then we will not be confident regarding the promptings, or the direction that we could receive, from Holy Spirit, while in that prayer time.
The subject of prayer is a topic for a whole other time. Suffice it to say that our traditional idea about being on our knees, begging God to do something about our circumstances falls considerably short of it what can be. In fact, the traditional idea of praying is what scares people when the subject is brought up; because for the most part it has had the impression of being alone, on our knees, hoping that our words might be deemed worthy to be heard by God and not just bounce off the ceiling and fall back in our faces.
Prayer is all about relationship, friendship. It is personal and intimate. It is one heart speaking to another. But, if you believe in a God that wants to harm you, or hurt you, or punish you, in some way, it’s highly unlikely that you might want to even consider spending time with him; let alone believe he is interested in your needs.
That is why the process of renewing the way you think about God and gaining a clear knowledge of what he has actually said and done for you and is willing to do through you, is important. I don’t mean it’s just a good idea. I mean really important; important enough to save your life and as the proverb says: provide you with life and medicine; provide you with good health and a long life.
The ability we have to individually walk in the Love of God is directly proportionate to the level of knowledge that you have about what the Love of God actually is. I’m not talking about a head knowledge, or a case of mental ascent. But, a sincere heart knowledge, a belief that is based on a sure foundation, yet commands that you walk in Faith in the ability of God to do as he has promised.
It is Faith that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6) and anything that is not of Faith is Sin (Romans 14:23). But, to be able to develop Faith you have to hear (on an ongoing and continuous basis) the Word of God regarding whatever aspect you are wanting to develop; it’s the hearing part of Romans 10:17 which literally means hearing repeatedly.
What you think dramatically affects what you believe. If you continually have thoughts that cause you to believe that you are unworthy of God’s love. Or if you have thoughts that have you believing that you are worthless, or that continually put you down. If you meditate, think them over and over again and you start to say those things to yourself, then you are already on the road to defeat; the battle has already been lost, because you will never rise above the level you will allow yourself to think and thereby believe.
When Norman Vincent Peale wrote “The Power of Positive Thinking” in 1952 it was treated with scepticism as a new idea; a concept that was faddish and was expected to die out. But since it was first published in 1952 it has sold more than 5 million copies and is still going strong.[xvii] The concepts, that Peale wrote about, have their roots firmly secured throughout the Old and New Testaments and are timeless.
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”[xviii]
If we succumb to bad thoughts, negative thoughts about ourselves, we develop faith in those thoughts and that directly effects the way we will either respond, or react to any situation that rises up to challenge us.
The world we live in is tilted toward believing the negative. At times it would appear that all anyone is interested in is bad news. They only ever want to talk about the bad things happening to other people. Or, they seem intent on generating fear about the future and creating a pessimistic vision of life ahead.
On the other hand, you have people who look for the positive things in the world around them. In their optimism they don’t see everything that happens to them, or around them, as a step towards the next tragedy. These people are often called “dreamers;” those who have a negative outlook think that they are living in a world of make-believe and if they are also Christians then they are referred to as being too heavenly minded.
The disparity is referred to as those who see a glass of water filled to the halfway mark as either “glass half empty” or “glass half full” people. Clichéd perhaps, but a reasonable description nonetheless. This manner of looking at the world is a clear, if not crude example of how these biblical principles actually work in our daily lives, without even thinking. I go into a discussion of this principle of “Right and Wrong Thinking” in another series. But, I think you get the picture.
It is safe to say, these ways of thinking are never set in concrete and are subject to change. It is this principle of renewing the mind, with The Word of God that Paul spends a lot of his time teaching the church throughout the Epistles. In the same way that dieticians say “we are what we eat” physically; our minds are the product of the information we give the most attention and our Spirit, likewise craves the food that it needs, focussing on the presence of God, through Holy Spirit.
An extremely valuable study, for any Christian and in particular for new Christians, is to go through the New Testament, particularly the Epistles, to find out what the scriptures have to say about who we are as new creatures “In Christ,” “In Him,” “In Whom,” that talk to us about what has happened to us, spiritually, at the New Birth. This exercise will start to change the way you think about yourself as you begin to understand how God actually sees you, NOW, not just what you will be.
As you do this you will find that your thoughts will change, your belief about yourself will change, the way you speak about yourself will change and as you develop your faith in how God sees you, you will see the changes occurring in your behaviour, as you step out on that Faith. A major part of that change will occur as you spend time learning about the Love, the agápē of God and that this Love resides on the inside of you, in the form of Holy Spirit himself.
Love Bears Fruit
In Galatians the Paul takes the opportunity to write to them about developing spiritual maturity. In his analogy of the vine and the branches[xix] Jesus talks about the relationship that we, as believers, have in Him. He refers to himself as the vine and we are the branches. As branches on the vine, fed by the vine and maintained and pruned by the Father, we are commanded to bear fruit. Paul develops this analogy further and talks about the fruit that the recreated human spirit will produce, in our lives, as we mature and develop our relationship and fellowship with God, through Jesus, by Holy Spirit and Faith:
“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self- control (self- restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [ that can bring a charge.”[xx]
If I compare this verse with the famous “Love Chapter” in Corinthians[xxi] where Paul proclaims his treatise on the Love of God, which lives and abides in us, and knowing that there were no punctuation marks in the original Greek, I tend to put a colon after the word Love here in the Galatians verses. We can then read it as “The Fruit of the spirit is Love:” This then assists the section to make much more sense. It actually aligns it with the other areas where this amazing unconditional Love is discussed.
So let us read it in that light. When we do we discover that this fruit, LOVE, agápē, is experienced through the expression of Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness (in the form of a meek and teachable spirit) and it is managed through Self-Control. All of these are and can be a blessing to us personally. But, what we learn here, is that this fruit is for others to experience from us and to enjoy.
All of this is the product of Faith and walking in the Love of God that we have in us through the residence, the in-dwelling of Holy Spirit.[xxii] But, it is the change that His love has made in us and through our lives that is the fruit. It takes a decision to walk in the guidance of Holy Spirit, because he will never force you to do anything; we still retain free will; he doesn’t take over. Just as with the “Gifts of the Spirit”[xxiii] we are the vehicle that Holy Spirit is able to use. But, just as the gift called “The Working of Miracles” suggests, there is some effort, or action required, we have to ‘operate’ the gift, or in the case of the fruit, the attribute of Love, following the promptings (not and never pressure) of Holy Spirit; we have to change.
One thing we need to be reminded of about fruit, is that when people are picking fruit, to see if it is ripe and tasty to eat, they will squeeze it. Effectively, we will only know if our fruit is good and mature when it is tested (squeezed). Our reaction, or our response, to that testing, trial and temptation (which is what the word usually translated test actually means) will give us an indication of just how far we need to go. But, it will also give us an indication of just how much the Love of God has worked inside of us, to change us from where we were.
Conviction versus Condemnation
If after reading this there is some sense of discomfort inside of you, first of all, don’t begin beating yourself up, or falling into the trap of worry and self-condemnation. That is not the purpose of what you have read. You should be encouraged that the very God who created the universe is so concerned about you and loves you so much, that he wants to see your life grow and his love grow in and through you, so that you may prosper in every area of your life.
The key to understanding what happens when you read, or hear a message that provides a challenge for you is to consider the source of that challenge. If you are receiving correction or direction from God, by Holy Spirit’s prompting, know that he will NEVER make you feel guilty. Especially for something that you are encountering for the first time. Or something that you are putting into practice, in your Christian walk, but have made mistakes along the way. He will make you aware, he will convict you down in your own spirit.
But, know, with all certainty, that if you are feeling condemned, that the pressure and discouragement that you are experiencing is not from God; it is, by no means Holy Spirit. Discouragement, doubt, fear, worry and condemnation are tools of the enemy, Satan. If he, or his cohorts can get you ‘feeling’ and relying on the feelings as indicators of what is right and wrong, be assured that they are fickle and will let you down.
Conviction is an awareness, down on the inside of you, that there is something that needs a change to be made. It is an encouragement that you can and know what needs to be done; it is never a driving `pressure, but a gentle prompting. Condemnation is pressure in the mind and feelings, of discouragement, self-doubt and second-guessing. It is a heaviness that is usually external.
Remember Holy Spirit’s conviction prompts and encourages growth. Satan’s condemnation pressures and brings discouragement. The encouragement of Holy Spirit may be getting you to walk in territory in your life that is new and unfamiliar. But, remember he is the Good Shepherd, he is the Comforter, the Counsellor, the Advocate, the Intercessor and the Helper, who comes along-side you to assist you in all the challenges life puts before you. He is the greater one and he lives within you and he is greater than the spirit of this world system and will assist you to defeat every foe that comes against you; if you will let him.[xxiv]
[i] John 3:16-17 (AMPC)
[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Loves – Referring to the work of C.S. Lewis and his Essay entitled The Four Loves.
[iv] I Corinthians 1:27-29 (AMPC)
[v] John 14:12-13(AMPC)
[vi] John 14:12(AMPC)
[vii] Acts 10:38 (AMPC)
[viii] Philippians 2:5-8 (AMPC)
[ix] Philippians 2:7 (AMPC)
[x] CE refers to Common Era. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Era
[xii] Joshua 1:8 (AMPC)
[xiii] Proverbs 4:20-22(AMPC)
[xiv] Romans 12:2(AMPC)
[xv] Ephesians 4:23-24 (AMPC)
[xvi] Romans 10:17 (AMPC)
[xviii] Proverbs 23:7 (AMPC)
[xix] John Chapter 15 (AMPC)
[xx] Galatians 5:22-23 (AMPC)
[xxi] I Corinthians 13:4-8a (AMPC)
[xxii] Romans 5:5 (AMPC)
[xxiii] I Corinthians 12:4-11 (AMPC)
[xxiv] John 14:26; I John 4:4; I John 5:3-5