II PETER 16
THE DEFINITION OF LOVE AND WHY WE EXIST
In the closing verses of II Peter 1 are these words: “He that doeth these things shall not be lacking or unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ”. I am afraid these provocative words are overlooked by most readers, and so, a vital truth is missed. The knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ means coming to know the Savior. It is the closest we humans can ever come to knowing God, while still trapped in this human body. Jesus told His disciples, “When you have seen Me you have seen the Father”. All who claim to be Christians claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, for that is what Christian means. But you cannot be a follower of Him if you do not know Him. This makes Peter’s words have particular and very important significance for everyone who reads them.
Peter has just finished giving us a list of characteristics which he indicates are vital for us to know and for us to inculcate into our own personality. This list is wrapped up at the end by “love”, which is what John says God IS.
Grasping the meaning of these words and striving to build them into our character means learning how to imitate Jesus Christ. And He came to reveal the Father to us and to bring us forgiveness for our sins by knowing and accepting Him through His Only Begotten Son. To learn these things is to learn God’s will and how we can be like Him who created us to live with Him throughout all eternity.
Inasmuch as we are created beings, it should be obvious to the thinking mind that the creature can never be as wonderful as the Creator, nor can the creature ever completely comprehend the One who made him. Therefore, it is not surprising that our minds cannot understand the dimension where God dwells. Because of our limited world of time and space, we can never comprehend a dimension where these two do not exist, and yet, for our God to be eternal, He must transcend any limitation of time, and because He created all things, He must not be limited by the space He created.
I have tried to make the former concept clear so that we may understand that we cannot ever be like, nor imitate the power of, God. However, He said He made us in His own image. That can only mean that He created man to have, not the powers of God, but His characteristics. I think He has revealed to us why He did this and therefore the purpose for which we exist.
Before time came to be, there was only God. He pre-existed all things. But it is evident that He did not like that, and so, He projected from Himself His Word, and gave it another personality and called it His Son. This was because God, who is love, needed something or someone to love. Because the Son was part of His Father, the two were one. In His prayer in John 17, Jesus said He shared glory with the Father before time began. This means they shared their love. But in order to have someone who could love Him, which takes a free choice, He and His Son created man. To emphasize how God does not like aloneness, and wants it to be wiped away by love, He thought it not good for man to be alone, and so, He created woman, with the same characteristics that man had, so the two could be joined in love.
What this all means is that studying God’s revelation of Himself to us, causes us to realize that He created us as a being to love and with the ability to love Him. We were created to be an eternal companion for God, but only if we choose to do so. To love Him, who is Spirit, is to love the characteristics that His Spirit is: goodness, mercy, purity and peace-loving, as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. That is who God is, and when we want those things incorporated into our lives and in our relations with other of His creatures, then we love God.
If we need a definition of love, that is it. When I want these things for others, it means I want them to be happy. In fact, the definition of love is when I am more interested in the happiness of another person than I am in my own happiness. When this is true in the home, you have a home filled with love and happiness. When it is true in the church, you have a family of God’s children who are united, in heart and mind. When it exists between you and God, you have become what He created you to be, and He has promised all eternity with its peace and joy without end.