Monday, October 10, 2011

S.A.F.E.--from a recent wedding

I was asked if I'd share part of the charge to the bride and groom from Nathan and Joanna Flack's wedding service this weekend.  The passage they had selected for reading was 1 John 4:7-19
7 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. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 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. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
In this passage we learn a number of lessons about the love of God, loving God, and the power of that love in us.  I shared four.

First, we see salvation is marked by experiencing and possessing God's love.  "[E]veryone who loves is born of God and knows God."  The blessings of salvation are multiplied, but one is that we experience and possess and are able to share God's love. 

Second, we learn that possessing and sharing this love for God and others is a great assurance that we are in right relationship with God.  Assurance is often treated as if it is a stand alone concept, but it is actually the result of changed life and behavior, and love for each other is one of those great tools of godly assurance.

Fearlessness marks the person who possesses and thus shares the love of Christ.  In marriage, when I love my partner enough to be the husband or wife God has called me to be, it not only helps me be fearless in terms of eternal life, but also fearless in terms of my relationship in my marriage.  My spouse's pouring God's love into me makes our home one where I need not have any fear of my acceptance or standing.

Finally, I note that love is an enablement God has poured his love into my life, which enables me to love others, especially my spouse, rightly.  I certainly cannot be the husband or wife God desires on my own, but he provides the love I lack, and keeps it flowing into me, so that it can flow through me. 

Putting these four words together, they can form the acroymn, S.A.F.E., and God's love will make your marriage a safe relatationship and your home a safe place from which your faithful walk and service can be based.