Virtue is the supernatural, unfathomable, perfect love of God. Pastor Carl H. Stevens
“It is perfect because it is not our love, but love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit ” (Romans 5:5).God’s grace is inexhaustible; it depends upon the Giver and never the receiver. His forgiveness is incomprehensible; His mercy is eternal; and His love is unconditional. It is this quality of love—‘virtue love’—that sets captives free, because this love never demands a response from its object. Dr. Carl H. Stevens
Unfortunately, the best love that man can produce falls way short of what Peter tells us to add to our faith in 2 Peter 1:5. Our love often reeks with subjective overtones, self-centeredness, and often is defensive. Way back in the garden, the human race in Adam and Eve, twisted love toward their own self interest because of fear. Privately interpreting how God would now treat them, after their disobedience, they “sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons to go round them. ” In Genesis 3:8 ” …the eyes of both were opened, and they perceived that they were naked.”
We have all met defensive minded folks — the love that a mother has for her child compares closest to God’s love. Nevertheless, only through God’s virtue love can a person’s love take risk. In His love, conditional requirements of self-protection disappear in favor of a deeper level of love. A merciful love, a forgiving love, a compassionate love, or an identifying love, release the love-giver and receiver from their subjective self-orientation.
All of this “virtue” is added to us as we allow the love letter of God’s Word to melt away our obstinate nature. We discover in that Word a forgiveness, a cleansing, a perfect substitutionary atonement maker, a sin-bearer, and love that passes knowledge. We find a Savior, Messiah, Lover of our soul.
So what does it mean for a society, a culture, a people? Well, in our current world, it confronts a countering and disturbing trend: Dr. Frank Ninivaggi comments:
“Postmodernism is the predominant cultural movement of our time. Beginning in the 1950s and peaking in the 70s, it has radically altered the meaning of reality on multiple levels. Postmodernism inclines us to react skeptically to any fixed, objective, or universally accepted meaning about identity and truth. This challenge runs counter to the centrality of “meaning,” diminishing the reliability of the experiences and beliefs one accrues during life.” Frank J. Ninivaggi M.D., DLF-A.P.A.
So, our take away from above: “Skepticism” counters “meaning.” Meaning refers to “ significant quality.” Webster’s.
Friends, in a very simple way, isn’t significance a basic need of man? — “the need to be loved, and the need to love.” Obviously, the post-modernists disagree. Indeed they push their narrative. However, when Adam and Eve relinquished their quality of significance based in their intimate relationship with God, how were they restored? Was it not the initiation of God’s covering with animal skins that brought back their self worth?
O, fellow Men and Women. don’t kid yourself. Love seeks you, and love is what you seek — Significant love, meaningful love, and to repeat the old cliché, “True Love” provided by the God who is “love.” This love casts out fear, covers the multitude of sins,
“suffers long, is kind; envies not; vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believeth all things, hopes all things, endureth all things. “
Charity (God’s love) never fails.
“Many Christian marriages are in trouble because their love is subjective and relates to the
ego. For example, two people fall in love, come to the altar, and exchange vows. “By the grace of
God, will you keep these vows to your own hurt?” the pastor asks.
” …at that point the object of their love has certain value. Subjectivity will do that, because in subjectivity, you are the subject, and everything you do in life is related to how the object of your love relates to you. “
A few years later, he or she faces — honor their own preferences, their own
Beloved, That pivotal point is “thy time of love.” Like Israel in Ezekiel 16, the love that God holds steps in, devours self centered love, restores and nourishes again. Love ya