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The Crown Jewel of Christian Conduct

www.bibleone.net

 

The understanding of what I believe to be the “crown jewel of Christian conduct” came to me after a long life consisting of a faith-acceptance of, a lengthy rejection of, an eventual return to, and several years of service to God.  The following is an account of this journey, which led to this revelation, and its exposition.  You may wish to skip the journey and review only the “The Crown Jewel,” near the end of this study; but, if so, you will miss the foundation that led me to its encounter.

 

It was at approximately two o’clock in the morning of December 25th in the year 1959 while lying on my bed that I made the decision to place my trust in Jesus Christ (His work on Calvary) for my eternal salvation.  The instant I made that decision God transformed (activated, made alive) my spirit from its existing spiritual condition of being “dead in trespasses and sin” to possessing “everlasting [perpetual, eternal] life” through the “birth from above;” the spiritual reality of the Holy Spirit placing [baptizing, immersing] me within the “body of Christ” by entering and sealing me (my spirit) as the guarantee of my inheritance until the day of its redemption to the praise of Christ’s glory.

 

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sin. (Ephesians 2:1)

 

Do not marvel that I [Christ] said to you, “You must be born again [from above].”. . .  (16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:7, 16)

 

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (31) So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

(Acts 16:30, 31)

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

 

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13, 14)

 

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one bodywhether Jews or Greeks [Gentiles], whether slaves or freeand have all been made to drink into one Spirit. . . . (27) Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

(1 Corinthians 12:13, 27)

 

At this, I turned to the side and went to sleep; never realizing the changes this decision would produce in my life.  Furthermore, I didn’t realize at the time, or for that matter until years later, that I had entered a race, which could be won or lost, dependent upon how I would build upon the foundation of (decision of faith in) Christ, at the impending Judgment Seat of Christ.

 

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  (12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (13) each ones work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each ones work, of what sort it is.  (14) If anyones work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  (15) If anyones work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

 

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  (25) And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  (26) Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  (27) But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

(1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

 

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.  (10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  (11) Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . . .

(2 Corinthians 5:9-11a)

 

The decision of that night quickly changed my entire outlook on life and death.  I almost immediately became interested in the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and that which was affected by and emanated from it.  Unfortunately, and even though I became associated with what is known as an evangelical assembly of believers, I never was fortunate enough to be exposed to systematic (meat-based) Bible instruction revealing the purpose for man’s redemption.  Instead, I was constantly fed various denominational (milk-based) doctrinal positions, emanating from the pulpit and the church’s (Sunday) school.

 

Still, I was enthusiastic and attempted to convince all around me to place their trust in Christ while never fully realizing that such an accomplishment was only the beginning of one’s spiritual existence, which must be followed by a process of spiritual maturation (development), utilizing the “meat” of God’s Word rather than the “milk,” transforming the “babe” in Christ to an “adult.”

 

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  (2) I fed you with milk and not with solid food [meat]; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able. (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2)

 

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food [meat].  (13) For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  (14) But solid food [meat] belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

 

Furthermore, during those early and enthusiastic years “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) I recall how combative I and fellow Christians were when it came to our representation of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ, ready at a “drop of the hat” to point out how incorrect a person’s doctrinal position was when it differed from ours.  It really didn’t matter that we were unable to adequately reconcile various inconsistencies from passages of Scriptures that appeared to contradict each other; we were always able to contort the context of most to our muted satisfaction — always endeavoring to focus on the milk, instead of the meat, of the Word.  “Spirituality” to us during these early years was not only measured by how many we could “convert,” but also by how many “convictions” (social beliefs/opinions) we possessed and arrogantly displayed, e.g., don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t dance, don’t go to movies, etc.; somewhat similar to the display of merit badges sewn on a Boy Scout’s uniform.

 

Over the ensuing years, after attending a conservative Christian college and seminary and pastoring an evangelical local church, I found myself spiritually unfilled and turned my back on Christ, drifting ever downward until I became agnostic in terms of my spiritual beliefs.

 

To shorten this account I will only say that God, through various means and trials over many years, brought me to a moral, rational, and emotional end.  It was at this time that I had no further reason to live and made an attempt to end my life.  But as I was endeavoring to do so, a very strong question popped into my mind, which was, “How did I come to this pathetic end, this tragic and hopeless condition?”  And as abruptly as the question appeared, the answer erupted in my mind, i.e., “Because I turned my back on God!”

 

It was at this that I made the decision to stop denying the existence of God; but, because by this time I had become a rather firm agnostic (i.e., uncertain who or what was God), it took a lengthy period of time to make the return to a solid belief that God was indeed a supreme and personal Being, the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.  But even accepting this could not take the emptiness that had engulfed me for so long.

 

It took many more months for me to again realize and fully understand that an accurate and truthful (foundational) understanding of God could only be achieved by and through an accurate knowledge of and belief in Jesus Christ — that Christ was indeed God revealed in human flesh, that in this form He became the propitiation (satisfaction of the demands of the offended holiness of God) for the sins of all mankind as He became their sins and paid for their sins on the cross of Calvary.

 

And He [Jesus Christ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. . . . (4:10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 2:2; 4:10)

 

For He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

Once God brought me back to this fundamental and central truth, the vacuum in which I existed vanished.  But I also had one other revelation at this time.  I came to realize that even though I had been eternally “saved” (given eternal life) on December 25th of 1959, I had never fully come to understand the complete redemptive plan of God for man, i.e., the purpose for man’s redemption.  So from that time forward I openly and honestly admitted to God that I was indeed ignorant of much of His Word and that I was “now” entirely dependent upon Him, through His Spirit, to accurately teach me the various truths contained in His Word.

 

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. . . .  (16:13a) However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth . . . . (John 14:26; 16:13a)

 

This candid position before God then resulted in several years of silent study while attending various local churches and study groups, later discovering that members of such assemblages thought I was “stuck up,” because of my quiet demeanor and purposeful separation.  It was during this time, when I refused to simply accept a denominational doctrinal position but rather to listen to the Spirit of God to convey His truth, that I was exposed to several other “pastor-teachers” of the Word, who were used of God to help me find the way, i.e., correct doctrinal truth.

 

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers [lit. pastor-teachers], (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, (13) till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; (14) that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, (15) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the headChrist — (16) from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

 

Of particular interest, I learned that both testaments (Old & New) were intrinsically linked together, each focused on God’s redemption and purpose for mankind; and, each centered on Jesus Christ — the New Testament is simply a revealing, an unveiling, of God’s Son, as previously introduced in the Old Testament.  In fact, one is assured when considering the various and prodigious “types” in the Old Testament alongside their “antitypes” in the New, that there is nothing in the New Testament that is not seen after some fashion in the Old. 

 

I believe the apostle Paul had this in mind when he mentioned one of the principles of biblical interpretation, i.e., “comparing spiritual things with spiritual [things]”— which is to say that Scripture is to be interpreted in light of Scripture (many of the teachings in the New Testament must be understood in light of Old Testament typology).

 

These things we also speak, not in words which mans wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual [things].

(1 Corinthians 2:13)

 

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type [Gk. tupos] of Him [Christ] who was to come. (Romans 5:14)

 

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, (2) all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, (3) all ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (5) But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. (6) Now these things became our examples [Gk. tupos, types], to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. . . . (11) Now all these things happened to them as examples [Gk. tupos], and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 11)

 

I further learned that the manner in which God began His revelation to man, i.e., His creation of the “heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), followed by its fall (Genesis 1:2a) and then its restoration (Genesis 1:2bff) in the first two chapters in the Old Testament, all for a revealed purpose, was indeed a pattern established by God reflecting the ruin and restoration of mankind, represented in various facets throughout the remainder of the Old Testament, and which is revealed by Jesus Christ and His work in the New Testament — an example of the type to antitype arrangement of Scripture.

 

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned — (13) For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him [Christ] who was to come.

(Romans 5:12-14)

 

This interpretive principle pertaining to the Creation/Restoration as seen in the book of Genesis is described by Arlen L. Chitwood, as follows:

 

The New Testament forms a continuation and completion of that which was begun in the old; and both together constitute one continuous, complete revelation that God gave to man over a period of about 1,500 years through some forty different Jewish writers, revealing His plans and purposes in relation to man, the earth, and the universe at large. . . .

 

In this respect, one Testament (Old or New) must be understood in the light of the other (Old or New), apart from precedence given to either.  It is no more or no less valid to interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New as it is to interpret the New Testament in the light of the Old.  One is to be interpreted both in the light of itself (other parts of the same Testament) and in the light of the other (the New in the light of the Old, or the Old in the light of the New). . . .

 

Genesis, in the opening two chapters, begins with:

 

1)      A creation at a beginning point (1:1).

2)      A subsequent ruin of the creation (1:2a).

3)      A restoration of the ruined creation (material creation), through divine intervention, over six days’ time (1:2b-25).

4)      Man created on the sixth day, following all of God’s restorative work, for a revealed purpose having to do with the seventh day (1:26-31).

5)      God resting on the seventh day, following all of His work (2:1-3).

 

And this septenary, foundational overview, seen in the opening two chapters of [the] book, relates the complete story of Scripture.  Each of the six days of God’s restorative work . . . , has to do with days of 1,000 years each (cf. 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:3-8).  That is to say, God is presently working six days, 6,000 years, to bring about the restoration of both man and the material creation.  Then, at the conclusion of His work, man will be in a position to realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning.  Man will be in a position to rule a restored earth with the second Man, the last Adam, during the seventh day, during the seventh 1,000-year day.

 

(Taken from The Study of Scripture, Chapter 1 and the Foreword)

     

And then, in addition to coming to an understanding of this precise interpretative concept, I needed to face certain passages of Scripture that dealt with the doctrine of “salvation,” which appeared to negate or contradict passages that I generally clung to and utilized to support my view that salvation was not only a product of (only) faith but that it was endless in nature.  In other words, I had to face the issue as to whether or not it was “faith” or “faith plus works” that affected man’s salvation.  A few of the passages, which became the vanguard to this dilemma, are as follows:

 

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

 

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

 

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, (2) by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1, 2)

 

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

 

For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, (3a) how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation . . . . (Hebrews 2:2, 3a)

 

Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. (39) But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38, 39)

 

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:21, 22)

 

But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? . . . (24) You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (James 2:20, 24)

 

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; (11) for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(2 Peter 1:10, 11)

 

If I followed man’s lead, only the following two positions were possible: (1) the Arminian view — teaches that man is saved by grace through faith; but, that he may lose this salvation by and through subsequent works, or (2) the Calvinistic view — teaching that once a person is saved by grace through faith, he can never lose salvation; but, should he not follow this faith with proper works, it is proof that he was never truly saved with an efficacious faith in the first place.

 

I eventually found that “man” didn’t have the answer, but God did.  And discovering the truth regarding God’s plan of redemption (salvation) of man, I became the recipient of the following:

 

1)      A strengthened faith.

2)      An effective path for spiritual maturity.

3)      A superior confidence in the Word of God.

4)      An accurate understanding of the purpose for my (man’s) salvation.

5)      An enhanced and enriched anticipation for the return of Christ.

6)      A heightened desire to serve Jesus Christ.

7)      A spiritual peace that truly passes all understanding.

 

This all resulted when I came to the understanding (1) that man is a triune being composed of a spirit, a soul, and a body, made in the image and according to the likeness of God, who is a Triune Being (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); (2) that man was created for a specific purpose — to have dominion over the earth; (3) that God’s redemption of man, once his faith is centered in Jesus Christ, not only affects each component of man at a different time but also in a different way — that indeed, the word “salvation” may portend different facets of man’s redemption throughout Scripture (i.e., salvation of the spirit [spirit-salvation]; salvation of the soul [soul-salvation]; salvation of the body [body-salvation]); (4) that the complete and comprehensive salvation of man is intended to follow the septenary pattern as established by God when He restored the earth, outlined in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis; and (5) that the final stage of man’s redemption, represented in Genesis by the seventh day of rest in the restorative process, is the fulfillment of the purpose for which God created man, and which will be realized by man as part of the bride of Christ as he reigns with Him during the kingdom age established by Christ upon His return to earth.

 

God created man as a triune being for a specific purpose.

 

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (27) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (28) Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

 

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1 Thessalonians 5:23)

 

For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

 

God’s redemption of man affects each component of man in a different way and at a different time.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

 

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

 

Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit [lit. “for the sake of the ones about to inherit”] salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

 

 “Salvation” in the Word of God is spoken of in three tenses — past, present, and future:

 

            1)  Christians have been saved. [spirit-salvation*]

            2)  Christians are being saved.  [soul-salvation*]

            3)  Christians are about to be saved. [body-salvation*]

 

The previously quoted verses provide examples of how Scripture deals with each of these three tenses or aspects of salvation.

 

In Ephesians 2:8, 9, salvation is a past, completed act.

 

In 1 Corinthians 1:18, salvation is a present, continuous work.

 

In Hebrews 1:14, salvation is a future, inherited possession.

 

Since the Word of God presents salvation in a framework of this nature, it is vitally important in Scriptural interpretation to first ascertain to which of these three aspects of salvation any given passage pertains.

 

(Taken from Salvation of the Soul, Chapter 1, by Arlen L. Chitwood)

*inserted by the author of this study

 

If someone were to ask a Christian if he is saved, he would be correct to answer, “I have been saved; I am being saved; and I will be saved.” This answer would describe the three tenses of salvation, which can be clearly seen in the apostle Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 1:9, 10:

 

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, (10) who delivered (past tense) us from so great a death, and does deliver (present continuous tense) us; in whom we trust that He will still [yet] deliver (future tense) us.

The complete and comprehensive salvation of man is intended to follow the septenary pattern as established by God when He restored the earth.

 

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? . . .  (4:1) Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. . . . (4) For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; (5) and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 3:18; 4:1, 4, 5)

 

The final stage of man’s redemption, represented in Genesis by the seventh day of rest in the restorative process, is the fulfillment of the purpose for which God created man, and which will be realized by man as part of the bride of Christ as he reigns with Him during the kingdom age established by Christ upon His return to earth.

 

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (17) and if children, then heirsheirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:16, 17)

 

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (3) Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3)

 

This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. (12a) If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. . . . (2 Timothy 2:11, 12a)

 

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (9a) Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”. . . (20:4b) . . . And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 19:8, 9a; 20:4b; cf. Matthew 19:28-30; 22:1-14)

 

To the above revelations, God led me to the understanding of one additional but vital truth — that not every Christian would be the recipient of (participate in) the glory of the coming seventh day of rest, i.e., the millennial (1,000 year) kingdom that Jesus Christ will establish upon His return to earth subsequent to the 7-year Tribulation, which itself will begin immediately after Christ withdraws the Church (all Christians) from the earth.

 

This interpretation, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, is fundamentally seen in God’s plan to regulate His creation in the book of Genesis.  Just as Eve was taken from Adam’s body to be his wife and his co-ruler over all of God’s creation (the type), so it will be when the bride of Christ (those who will be judged as overcomers at the Judgment Seat of Christ) will be taken from (the “out-resurrection”) Christ’s body (all Christians) to co-rule with Christ during the coming Messianic Era/His millennial kingdom (the antitype).

 

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, (5) so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. (Romans 12:4, 5)

 

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one bodywhether Jews or Greeks [Gentiles], whether slaves or freeand have all been made to drink into one Spirit. . . . (20) But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. . . . (27) Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Corinthians 12:13, 20, 27)

 

But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. (12) So he said to him, Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” And he was speechless. (13a) Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away” . . . (14) For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:11-13a, 14)

 

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. (8) And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

(Revelation 19:7, 8

 

The “out-resurrection” is well-explained by Chitwood in the first appendix in his book, The Bride in Genesis (www.bibleone.net [http://bibleone.net/BiG_A.htm]), as follows:

 

If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection [out- resurrection] from the dead. (Philippians 3:11).

 

In Philippians 3:10-14, the “resurrection [lit., ‘out-resurrection’]” in verse eleven appears in connection with “the prize of the high calling [NKJV: upward call’] of God in Christ Jesus” in verse fourteen.

 

“A prize” necessitates a conflict, which has to do with the present conflict between Christians and the world-rulers of the darkness of this age (Ephesians 6:12ff); and the reception of this prize requires victory in the conflict.  Consequently, the “out-resurrection” of Philippians 3:11 cannot be the resurrection of Christians to which Paul refers in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, for all of “the dead in Christ” — both the overcomers in the conflict and those who have been overcome in the conflict — will be raised from the dead at the time referred to in these verses.

 

The regular Greek word for “resurrection” appearing throughout the New Testament is anastasis.  This is a compound word comprised of ana, which means “up,” and stasis, which means “to rise,” or “to stand.”  Thus, anastasis means “to rise up” or “to stand up.”  When used relative to those who have died, the exact meaning of the word would be, “a resumption of life, allowing one to rise up or stand up from the place of death.”

 

The Greek word appearing in Philippians 3:11, erroneously translated “resurrection” in most English versions of Scripture, is exanastasis.  This word is made up of three parts (ex-ana-stasis).  The latter two parts of the word (ana-stasis), as has been shown, mean “to rise up,” or “to stand up.”  But the preposition ex (from ek) prefixed to anastasis adds further meaning to the word.  Ex (the form “ek” takes when prefixed to words beginning with a vowel) means “out of,” making exanastasis mean “to stand up out of [‘out-resurrection’].”

 

The resurrection (anastasis) of Christians will be a separation of “the dead in Christ” from the remainder of the dead, whether Old Testament saints or the unsaved dead.  The out-resurrection (exanastasis) will be a further separation beyond this point.  It is the “standing up” of a particular group “out of” all those previously raised from among the dead (“out of” all Christians).

 

At the time of the resurrection (anastasis), Christians will be separated from non-Christians; but at the time of the out-resurrection (exanastasis), certain Christians will be separated from other Christians.  A smaller group will be separated from the larger group.  The called out will be removed from the called, from the complete body of Christians.

 

Understanding exanastasis in the light of its context in Philippians 3:11 will clearly reveal that a resurrection per se (a rising from the dead) is not what is in view at all.  The subject at hand is “overcoming,” “winning a prize in a conflict”; and these things are associated with the issues of the judgment seat and the coming kingdom.  Exanastasis has to do with certain Christians (the overcomers) being elevated to a status above — “a standing up out of” — the status occupied by the remaining Christians (the non-overcomers).

 

At the judgment seat of Christ, certain Christians will be shown to have overcome the world, the flesh, and the Devil — the three great enemies presently confronting every Christian.  And the remaining Christians will be shown to have been overcome.

 

Overcoming Christians will then be elevated to a standing above Christians who were overcome and, in this manner, will be set apart for the distinct purpose of occupying positions with Christ in the kingdom.  They will realize the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).  The overcomers will “stand up out of” (exanastasis) the entire group that had previously “stood up” (anastasis) from among the dead.

 

These are the ones who will realize life during the Messianic Era, as opposed to those who will not (Romans 8:13).  And this life will be in connection with a new order of sons (comprising a firstborn son, following the adoption) that God will bring forth at that time (Romans 8:14ff).

 

Christians have been saved for a revealed purpose, which has to do with future regality, as co-heirs with Christ in His coming millennial kingdom.  And coming to this understanding, along with all it involves, was indeed a spectacular awakening to me.  All of sudden, the entirety of Scripture became much clearer to me, the inconsistencies between various passages that referenced salvation, which before had me stumped, were now crystal clear, embodying no ambiguity or inconsistency.  I was brought to a higher level of maturity in God’s Word, able now to go beyond its “milk” and digest its “meat.”

 

Additionally, with the understanding of this revealed purpose for my salvation, I now embody an exhilarating and on-going hope, which daily brings me an eager and delightful anticipation for the return of Jesus Christ, always praying and looking for His extraction of His body, all Christians, from the earth.

 

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. (15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. (16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (18) Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

 

The Crown Jewel

 

Having obtained the above foundational structure, my subsequent and now primary concern was/is how should I live (conduct myself) so that my appearance before Jesus Christ at His judgment seat will be most rewarding.  An examination throughout God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation, unquestionably indicates that God expects His children to live holy lives, in accordance with His established moral law.

 

And keeping this obligation in mind, a search throughout the Word of God points out time and time again that there is one mode of overall conduct, which in fact covers and which most certainly will insure compliance with the entire scope of rules and commandments set forth by God for man; and, which I believe is the crown jewel of conduct required of Christians.  Yet, unfortunately, even in light of its profusion throughout the Word, it seems that most often it is either minimized or ignored by word or deed altogether by Christians today, not to mention throughout the history of the Church.

 

Throughout my some-odd 54 years as a Christian, I have come to know and associate with a wide range of Christians in various stages of Christian involvement and leadership — some quite conservative, and some not.  In most cases they have declared their dedication to Christ and have established their commitment in service to Him.  For quite some time I too was an active participant in what I deemed was a proper service to Christ.  But it is my considered observation and opinion that not only myself, but most of those with whom I have had close association in service to Christ, “missed the mark” as far as the crown jewel of Christian conduct is concerned.

 

Furthermore, it has been my experience that I, as well as most others, have been more concerned with making sure that those outside recognized Christian circles are doctrinally correct, often engendering emotions and forces within us that are quite in contrast with what I believe is the crown jewel of Christian conduct. Often, we labor with “pride” to make certain that others know that we are conducting ourselves within prescribed limits, that we are indeed right in how we follow Christ.  And, by so doing, are often more concerned with looking inward toward ourselves, instead of outward toward others.

 

To make it clear as to what I believe is the crown jewel of Christian conduct, I believe Christ said it best, as follows:

 

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, (36) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” (37) Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (40) On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

 

Essentially, a Christian can be assured that he will honor all the moral “dos and don’ts” of God, all of God’s moral law, if he will ensure that his life conforms to what Christ has stated is the “great commandment,” to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and the “second,” to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  To do this is in fact, the crown jewel of Christian conduct.  All else in God’s moral law is embodied in these two commandments.

 

Unfortunately, when I was saved, this aspect of holy living was never stressed.  Frankly, it is rarely stressed, since it appears to be much easier for ministers of the Word to rail on against individual violations of God’s moral law.  But when one tries to keep all the “requirements” that often are issued from the pulpit, the foundational muscle that will enable such endeavors is missing.

 

The highest form of holiness is described by one word — love.  For when one indeed loves, there is then absolutely no room for evil or the production of evil.  To attempt holy living on any other foundation is fruitless.  Indeed, the apostle Paul stressed this when he wrote:

 

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

 

What I am hoping to get across is that the only way you will be able to achieve a holy walk, “righteous acts [works]” that will be necessary for your attire (“fine linen, clean and bright”), allowing you to become part of the “bride of Jesus Christ,” which will be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ, is to truthfully “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”  For by doing so, will insure that everything else, emanating from this footing, will be the products of the Spirit of God, i.e., offerings of “gold, silver, precious stones” to our Lord in that Day when we appear before Him.

 

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. (10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

(2 Corinthians 5:9, 10)

 

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. (8) And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

(Revelation 19:7, 8)

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

(Galatians 5:22, 23)

 

Now if anyone builds on this foundation [Jesus Christ] with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (13) each ones work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each ones work, of what sort it is. (1 Corinthians 3:12, 13)

 

You may ask, “What kind of love is referred to by Christ?  One may go to the Koine Greek language, the original language of the New Testament, and discover that the primary word used to refer to God’s love for man and the love man is to have for God and others is agapao or agape, the same word in different forms.  A study of this key word reveals essentially that it is a word that is not about self, but about others, i.e., a high degree of unselfishness that exists for the ultimate good of others.

 

Man is quite selfish from birth.  This may be easily seen when one attempts to retract a toy from a child.  And to train a person from birth to adulthood to be considerate of others is often a most prodigious task.  Unfortunately, once a person becomes a child of God through faith in Christ, he retains the “old nature,” the selfish nature with which he was born.  And it is only through the maturation process utilizing the Word of God that one may subdue this nature and live a life of love toward God and man.

 

But, if this will be done, the Christian will find that his love for God and man will fully implement all the proper actions toward God and man, which will insure his position in the “bride of Christ,” co-ruling with Christ during His millennial reign upon the earth, soon to come.

The apostle Paul put it this way:

 

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; (5) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; (6) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; (7) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (8) Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

 

Succinctly, I can assure you that should you trust the Lord to increase this love of Him and others within you, your life as a Christian, a representative of Jesus Christ, will lead to God’s satisfaction, and, to your reward.

 

As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord [by/through faith], so [in the same manner] walk in Him. (Colossians 2:6

 

Most of the Passages of Christian Love in the New Testament

 

The remainder of this study will simply be a listing of most of the (overwhelming number of) passages within the New Testament that emphasize the necessity for a Christian to maintain a proper love for God and man, the study of which, I am certain, will further enlighten one who desires to truly follow Christ.

 

 

Matthew 22:35-40

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, (36) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” (37) Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (40) On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (cf. Mark 12:28-31; Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 30:6; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:16-19; Luke 10:25-37; John 13:34, 35; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13, 14; James 2:8)

 

Mark 12:28-33

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” (29) Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. (30) And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (31) And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (32) So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. (33) And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (cf. Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; Matthew 22:35-40; Luke 10:25-37; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13, 14; James 2:8)

 

Luke 10:25-37

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (26) He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (27) So he answered and said,” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ andyour neighbor as yourself.’” (28) And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” (29) But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (30) Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. (31) Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. (32) Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. (33) But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. (34) So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (35) On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ (36) So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” (37) And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (cf. Matthew 19:16-19; Matthew 22:35-40; Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:4, 5)

 

John 13:34, 35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (35) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (cf. Leviticus 19:18; John 15:12, 17; Ephesians 5:2; 1Thessalonians 4:9; James 2:8; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 2:7-8; 3:11, 23; 4:20, 21)

 

John 15:12, 13, 17

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (13) Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. . . . (17) These things I command you, that you love one another. (cf. John 13:34; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:11; 16; 4:21)

 

Romans 12:9, 10

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. (10) Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. (cf. Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 1:22; 2:17; 3:8; 2 Peter 1:7)

 

Romans 13:8-10

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (9) For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is  any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (10) Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (cf. Matthew 22:38-40; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:14; 1 Timothy 1:5; James 2:8)

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (4) Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; (5) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; (6) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; (7) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (8) Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. (9) For we know in part and we prophesy in part. (10) But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (11) When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (12) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (13) And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (cf. Philippians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Matthew 6:1, 2; Proverbs 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Psalm 10:3; Romans 1:32; 2 John 1:4; Romans 15:1; Galatians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Corinthians 8:2; 1 John 3:2)

 

 

Galatians 5:14

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (cf. Matthew 22:38-40; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:14; 1 Timothy 1:5; James 2:8)

 

Galatians 5:22, 23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (cf. John 15:2, 4; Romans 15:14)

 

Ephesians 5:2

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (cf. John 13:34; 15:12; Galatians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 3:11; 3:16, 23; 4:21)

 

Philippians 2:1-4

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, (2) fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (3) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (4) Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (cf. Galatians 5:26; Ephesians 5:21; Colossians 3:12; Romans 12:10, 16; 15:5; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 10:24; 13:5; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 1:27; 3:16; 4:2; 1 Peter 3:8)

 

Colossians 2:2

That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ. (cf. Philippians 3:8; Colossians 1:9; 3:14)

 

Colossians 3:12-15

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; (13) bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (14) But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  (cf. John 13:34; Romans 13:8; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Galatians 5;22; Ephesians 4:2, 3, 24, 32; 5:2; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:23; 4:21)

 

 

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; (10) and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; (11) that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, (12) that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. (cf. Matthew 22:39; John 13:34; 15:12; Ephesians 5:2; Colossians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:21)

 

1 Timothy 1:5

Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith. (cf. Romans 13:8, 10; Galatians 5:14; 2 Timothy 2:22)

 

1 Timothy 4:12

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (cf. Titus 2:7, 15; 1 Peter 5:3)

 

Hebrews 6:10

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (cf. Proverbs 14:31; Matthew 10:42; 25:40; John 13:20; Romans 15:25; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 9:1, 12; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:18)

 

Hebrews 10:23-25

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (24) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, (25) not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 4:14; 11:11; Acts 2:42; Romans 13:11; Philippians 4:5)

 

Hebrews 13:1

Let brotherly love continue. (cf. Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 2:17; 3:8; 4:8; 2 Peter 1:7; 1 John 4:20, 21)

 

James 2:8

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. (cf. Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Romans 13:8-9; Galatians 5:14)

 

1 Peter 1:22

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart. (cf. Romans 12:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 2:17; 3:8; 4:8; 2 Peter 1:7; 1 John 3:18; 4:7, 21)

 

1 Peter 2:17

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (cf. Proverbs 24:21; Matthew 22:21; Romans 12:10; 13:7; Philippians 2:3; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 1:22)

 

1 Peter 3:8

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous. (cf. Romans 12:10, 16; 15:5; Ephesians 4:32; Philippians 3:16; Colossians 3:12; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 2:17)

 

1 Peter 4:8

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. (cf. Proverbs 10:12, Col 3:14; Hebrews 13:1)

 

 

2 Peter 1:5-7

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, (6) to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, (7) to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (cf. Romans 12:10; Galatians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 5:15; 1 John 4:21)

 

1 John 2:9-11

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. (10) He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. (11) But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (cf. John 12:35; 1 Corinthians 13:2; 2 Peter 1:7, 9; 1 John 3:14, 15)

 

1 John 3:10, 11, 14-18

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. (11) For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another . . . (14) We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. (15) Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (16) By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whoever has this worlds goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? (18) My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (cf. John 13:34; 15:12; Romans 12:9, 10; Ephesians 5:2; James 2:15, 16; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 2:9-11; 3:23; 4:7, 8, 20, 21; 2 John 1:5)

 

1 John 3:23

And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. (cf. Matthew 22:39; John 6:29; 13:34; 15:12; 17:3; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 2:8, 10; 3:11; 4:21)

 

 

1 John 4:7, 8, 16, 20, 21

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (8) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . (16) And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. . . . (20) If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (21And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (cf. Matthew 22:37, 39; John 13:34; 15:12; 1 John 2:4; 3:10, 11, 17, 23; 4:8, 12)

 

2 John 1:5, 6

And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. (6) This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. (cf. John 13:34; 14:15, 21; 15:10, 12; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 2:5, 7, 8, 24; 3:11, 23; 5:3)