Love Poured Out
The Holy Spirit is given to us (Rom 5:5; 1 Jn 4:13), that is, to God’s elect people (Eph 1:4-5), for whom Christ died on the cross (Jn 10:11, 15; Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 2:24). The Holy Spirit is the gift of God, received by His being poured out upon us (Is 44:3; Joel 2:28–29; Zech 12:10; Acts 2:17, 33, 38; 10:45).
This initial encounter is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16; Jn 11:33; Acts 1:5; 10:47; 11:16; 1 Cor 12:13). The Scripture speaks of this beginning as a new birth (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). It is a spiritual reality coming to life in the soul of the sinner transformed into a saint.
God is love (1 Jn 4:8), so when the Holy Spirit is poured out, it is the love of God being poured out in our hearts (Rom 5:5). This is our salvation; for he who has the Son has the life; but he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (Jn 3:36; 1 Jn 5:12). The indescribable gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ is applied by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 9:15), and if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (Rom 8:9). If one does not belong to Christ, he or she will never believe in Him (Jn 10:26), having no will or ability to receive the Spirit, who gives faith (Jn 14:17; 1 Cor 2:12).
As the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in the soul of a man (Rom 8:9, 11; Gal 4:6; 2 Tim 1:14), He works grace upon grace for the newly adopted child of God (Rom 8:15, 23). The fruit of the Spirit becomes evident as it manifests (Gal 5:22–23). The child of God knows the love of God because it has been poured out (Rom 5:5). She loves because she had been loved (1 Jn 4:19). Without this love, she would abide in death, as others (1 Jn 3:14; 2 Cor 4:6).
The Bible goes so far as to state, “love is perfected with us (1 Jn 4:17).” Not that we have perfected love, but that perfect love abides permanently with the Spirit’s indwelling. He manifests perfect love as a fruit of His life-giving work. Love abounds toward the regenerated child of God (1 Jn 3:1).
Love never fails (1 Cor 13:8), as it begins to emanate from the overflowing heart filled with the Spirit. Love opens the heart to give the knowledge of the truth (1 Jn 3:16–17). This again is the gift of salvation being preached from one to another. It goes out to one’s neighbor, even as it is enjoyed by oneself. It overflows (Ps 23:5).
The source is the infinite God, whose love is everlasting and exclusive (Jer 31:3). Just as His love is poured out in the beloved’s heart, so the Light of the world has shone in our hearts (2 Cor 4:6). The knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is glorious, for He Himself is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24). As we grow in grace and knowledge of Him (2 Pet 3:18), there is more light shining in us and through us. This is not knowledge that puffs up (1 Cor 8:1) because it is mingled there with love and truth, causing humility (Mic 6:8). The knowledge of God humbles the saint and causes him to boast in Christ alone (1 Cor 1:31).
Illumined love sees truth and speaks it accordingly (Mk 16:17; 2 Cor 4:13). We want others to see the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6). It is this light seen through a dark glass that illumines truth. The truth is seen with increased light, so we become willing to suffer for the sake of the elect (2 Tim 2:10) that they, too, may see and believe.
Truth is not warmly received in a world of lies (Jn 7:7; 14:6; 15:18–25). Light and truth are suppressed under a bushel (Mt 5:15; Rom 1:18). Love is twisted into diverse perversions, so the Christian’s task becomes sacrificial very quickly. The lover of God denies himself love for the world and the things of the world (1 Jn 2:15–17). Love constrains him to take up his cross and follow in the steps of Jesus (Mt 16:24; 2 Cor 5:14; 1 Pet 2:21).
The Spirit never leaves nor forsakes the Christian, nor does the fountain of love ever stop flowing (Heb 13:5). The fruit of the Spirit remains and even increases by the grace of life (Jn 15:16; Gal 5:22–23). For this reason, Christians are not ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1:16), the story of God saving them. They are unwavering in hope because they are eyewitnesses to the transformation God has initiated and continues to work (Rom 12:3; Phil 1:6; Col 1:27).
When love is poured out in the believer, it transforms him to love others. He is abiding in God’s love (Jn 15:10), so fear dissipates. It is cast out by God’s perfect love (1 Jn 4:18).
God’s indwelling Spirit causes the Christian to walk in God’s statutes (Ezek 36:27), the summary of which is to love God with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:34–40).
Perfect love cannot fail because God is love and He is perfect (Dt 32:4). His Law is perfect (Ps 19:7), and His plans formed long ago are perfect (Is 25:1). It was His predetermined plan (Acts 2:23) to redeem His elect people (Ps 77:15; Titus 2:14), and to pour out His Spirit upon them (Is 44:3; Acts 2:17). In doing so, He has poured out His love (Rom 5:5). This is the cause of our Christian hope.
The hope of God’s people is called, “glory.” It is to dwell in union with Christ, forever, in glorified bodies and souls (Rom 8:30; 1 Cor 15). It is the promise that we will be like Him on that Day, appointed by God and known only to Him (Mt 24:36). Thus, our hope is in the Lord (Ps 31:24; 39:7), and our hope is from Him (Ps 62:5), for He has made us hope (Ps 119:49).
Christian, as you wait in hope (Ps 130:5), recognize there is no shame in this hope (Ps 119:116), for it is the hope of our salvation (Ps 119:166). He is our salvation (Ex 15:2), which is why this hope will never disappoint (Rom 5:5). He has pledged His love and given us His Spirit. He is forever faithful.
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 29, 2022