Jesus, the dearly loved Son, was always turned towards his Father in love. He delighted in his Father. He obeyed his Father freely from love. He always honoured the Father because he loved his Father more than his own life. In all these ways, Jesus related to his Father in the Spirit so that he overflowed with joy in the Father. As we look at Jesus we also see the Father turned towards his Son in delight. Jesus is the beloved Son in whom the Father is always well pleased. And the Father was continually present to Jesus with delight in the Spirit.
So when we look at Jesus the first thing we see is that God is a fellowship of self-giving love. In this fellowship, the three are continually sharing in each other’s delights and desires, in each other’s loves and longings, in each other’s pleasures and pursuits. They are dynamically one in the sharing of life and love. C.S Lewis called this “The Great Dance”.
Apart from Jesus, we know nothing of the Triune God in the eternal realms. But what we see in Jesus during his earthly life unveils who God is eternally. God is a fellowship of mutual joy and love and life and energy and joy. He is not a still and static essence; he is a joyful fellowship sharing a fullness of life and love. In himself, apart from us, God IS love and he is love in dynamic and personal fellowship. It is this God, who now calls us to walk in love as we live in him and he lives in us.
The God who is love calls us to walk in love. Are we called to walk in love because we now have the ability to love? Where does our love come from? Left to ourselves, we do not love. However, in spite of our natural lack of love we are met by Jesus in the Spirit and that encounter changes everything.
In the Presence of Jesus, we are aware that we have failed to love God and others. Indeed, we are those who are always hostile to God wanting nothing to do with him. Nevertheless, as we meet Jesus, we are aware that he is the one who loved us and gave himself for us. And in that same encounter, the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Spirit freely given. So we now know that we are deeply loved and called to walk in love as the Spirit of love works the love of God within us.
We must continually remind ourselves that God does not love us because we love. Rather, we love because he loves us. For the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me continually loves me and goes on giving himself to me. I no longer live, but he lives in me to live his own life of love in and through me. And so, in him and with him and through him we are enabled to walk in love.
God has demonstrated his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. And this same God moves towards us personally uniting us to Jesus by his Spirit. That means our life in union with Jesus begins with God’s love. We are not united to Jesus because of something in us that makes it happen. Nothing at all precedes God’s love for us. We live in Jesus and he lives in us simply because of God’s free love. And now, within this union, we know that we are deeply loved. With John, we say, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
As those who are loved, we are called to walk in love. That means living a life of love for the God who has loved us and for others. Recognising, that we are only enabled to love as the Father’s Son lives in and through us by his Spirit. We may feel we are called to much more than love? However, the God who is love shows us there is nothing higher or better than love for God and for others. Love is simply the greatest thing in the entire world. Paul says love is “the most excellent way”. Indeed, unlike faith and hope, love remains forever (1 Cor 13:8). For, as Jonathan Edwards says, “Heaven is a world of love”. So we walk in love knowing that to love is to live in God as he lives in us.