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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Grace Over Sin

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Believers are to be aware of their sin nature (old man) and its sins but not consciously stayed on them, for He knows this would hinder spiritual growth in our faith in the Lord Jesus and thus become less useful in His purposes. A fixation on our sins indicates a less-than-full understanding of His forgiveness (not hindering redemption but stunting the fullness of its use), “because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins” (Heb 10:2).


It’s a matter of understanding and believing that Christ’s one-time sacrifice (Heb 9:12, 26, 28; 10:10, 14) is all-sufficient in eternally removing the guilt of our sin from us. This is “as far as the East is from the West” (Psa 103:12), which intends that of being as far as one can possibly imagine.


There is a vast difference between being aware of something and being conscious of it. In “walking circumspectly” (Eph 5:15) our thoughts are not stayed on our sin, nor on the Enemy and his “devices” (2 Cor 2:11). But we are to merely realize that we are not to find it unexpectedly that our “old man” (sin nature) and the devil will ever be in opposition to us, thus ever making attempts to delay the increase of our faith in Christ; and we can know that this conflict is used for our spiritual growth, which growth (in quality not quantity) increases with every practical use of faith.


There is nothing between us and God, except possibly that which is misunderstood concerning His Son’s expiation for our sin! Every single thought the Father has concerning His Son contains equally the same thoughts concerning believers, which answers to, “You are not in the sin nature” (Rom 8:9).


I believe the crux of the matter concerning our sin nature (old man) is in what we desire. The believer will always desire God's pleasure (Phil 2:13), even though the sin nature yet dwells within and affects us.


We have been given the right to live our lives after these truths—if we desire to go this far—which will be limited only in where we might not comprehend or fail to accept them. May God give us to know the fullness of the freedom we have in the Lord Jesus, in order that we might be more efficiently used by Him; in “drawing” the lost (John 6:44) and “exhorting” the saved (Heb 10:25).


- NC

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