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Galatians 5:22-23 is one of the most beloved passages in the Bible. The "fruit of the Spirit" has also been misinterpreted as characteristics that believers should somehow manufacture in their live...
This is what I hope to show you, in Scripture, about God’s love (agape in the Greek): 1. That God is agape. 2. That agape is one and the same as God’s glory. 3. That God’s glory is His nature. 4. That all have fallen short and missed the mark of God’s glory/nature. 5. That God’s glory/love indwells a person the moment they believe and are sealed with the Holy Spirit. 6. That God’s love does indeed grow in knowledge and discernment, to the point of becoming a “perfect man”, completed in God’s image at the resurrection. 7. That once completed in God’s image, the believer will be in possession of his/her glorified body – no longer missing the mark of God’s glory/agape love. Let’s get started. 1. God is agape (1 John 4:8). It’s who He is, as defined by 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, 6-7. It is not attainable on this earth. 2. Those who were chosen at the Foundation of the World to be part of God’s new Creation [“these” in John 17:20] and any who will believe in Jesus, are made one by the Father and the Son dwelling in them (John 17:21). a. It is realized by the gift of God’s glory (John 17:22-23). b. God’s gift to those who believe and repent is the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). c. Therefore, God’s glory dwells in believers and is embodied by the Holy Spirit. d. God’s glory is also His agape love, dwelling in believers (John 17:25-26). e. Therefore, God’s gift of the Holy Spirit indwells the believer with God’s glory and His agape love. 3. God’s glory is His exact nature (Hebrews 1:3). It is speaking of Jesus being the radiance of God’s glory, “the exact imprint of the Father’s nature”. Or, “the express image of His person” (NKJV). 4. All of mankind has “sinned” and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). The Greek word for “sinned” is Harmartano. It is defined in Strong’s Concordance as: “Properly to miss the mark”. a. The Mark is God’s glory – His nature, the goal to which a believer aspires. 5. It is in Christ Jesus that a believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit, once they have heard the truth and believed the gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13). a. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of an inheritance (Eph. 1:14). b. It is to BE to the praise of the Father’s glory, i.e. to be perfected in the likeness of Christ who is the exact imprint of the Father’s glory, completed in His image and in possession of His nature (Eph. 1:11-12). 6. In Philippians 1:9, Paul prays that the agape love that dwells in a believer will grow more and more IN (NKJV & NASB) knowledge and discernment, not “with” as it reads in the ESV. It is actually God’s agape love that grows in a believer. It has to grow to the point of “mature manhood” (Eph. 4:13), but in the NKJV it reads “perfect man”. It happens at the resurrection. a. Paul hoped that he could attain to the power of the resurrection (Phil. 3:10-11), admitting that he was not yet perfected (Phil. 3:12). 7. It is at the resurrection that believers attain their glorified body, being completed in God’s image, bearing His nature. It is at that point that all believers will no longer be capable of sinning AND will no longer fall short of the Mark of God’s Glory. This is stated in 1 John 3:9. a. If you “look under the hood” at the Greek in 1 John 3:9, you will find that it is saying anyone born of God (born again) DOES NOT SIN, AND is NOT CAPABLE of “missing the mark”. “Make a practice of sinning” and “keep on sinning” are concessions to the current belief that we are ‘born again’ the moment we first believe. What we are ‘born again’ to when we first believe is a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). It is living because it lasts for the duration of our lives. It is not an actual realization until the resurrection, and therefore something to be hoped for. This is the mystery that Paul speaks of in Colossians 1:26-27. It is the hope of attaining to a glorified spirit body while being ‘In Christ’ – indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and walking by faith. Isaiah 1:18
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