Dear Tabernacle Family,
As we open the Advent Season, a time of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas, it’s fitting that we give ear to the truths presented in our Holiday Musical, “Wrapped in Love!”
When I consider the theme of love in the Bible, I am always drawn to the inspired words found in the 1st Epistle of the Apostle John. John, who is affectionately known as “the apostle of love” pens these 105 verses as a love-letter to the Church, and in doing so, he uses the word “love” 46 times, comprising 25% of his letter! If anyone would be qualified to speak about the subject it would have to be John, seeing he was shown a unique, personal affection by Jesus himself. Six times in his Gospel, John refers to himself as “The disciple whom Jesus loved,” and we see him sitting closest to Jesus at the Last Supper.
Who better to give us a definition of what constitutes true love besides John. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 Jn. 4:7-8). These last three words form one of the most profound statements of the whole Bible and perhaps, for many people today, one of the hardest to believe: God is love! When we look at the world with all its evil and suffering, we may be tempted to question, “How can there be a God who really loves?” Yet, in the face of all this, John insists, love is the very nature of God.
Never was more meaning crowded into a few words than into this short phrase, God is love! John is not identifying a quality or characteristic which God possesses, but instead, he is making a statement about the essence of God’s being. It is not simply that God loves, but that He is love. That is, in His very nature, God is love. Love is not to be understood as one of God’s many activities; but rather that all of God’s activity is loving activity. Hatred, envy, malice, evil all have their source in something else other than God. He neither originates them, commends them, nor approves them. God is love, and love is never absent from His being or from any of His actions.
The fullest expression of God’s love came to us in the Person of His Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. God gave the gift of His Son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, placed Him in a manger, and offered this gift of love to, “Whosoever will!” My prayer is that you will receive this gift and allow your entire life to be wrapped in God’s amazing love.
In God’s love,
Pastor Jim Ruddy