“…. giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.“ (From II Peter1:5-7).
We usually think of charity in our times as giving to a need or needy person. Ordinarily, in Scripture it has to do with “love.” It is not any of the concepts of love that most people hold today. As we considered two articles back, brotherly kindness is love and respect of Christian brothers and sisters. In other words, we are there for them in a special way; they come first! Hard on the heels of that is love for all mankind. This is not sentimental or “warm feeling” love. In fact, it is often love for someone who doesn’t deserve love. Jesus loved us before we received Him as Savior and Lord, and we certainly didn’t deserve it. This is a caring and concern for people. It is holding them in high regard. They are important! We reach out to them, meeting needs when possible and giving help within Scriptural guidelines. Especially, we reach out to them with the Gospel. They may disappoint us or even offend us. Nevertheless, as long as communication is open to us, we offer hope. Think carefully on this portion of I Corinthians 13. In Verses 4-8, I’ve changed the word charity to love: “Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth….” Now, go back and change the word “love” to Jesus” and read it again. With God’s love for His own in mind, this is how we should endeavor to love others, as His grace gives us the power to do so. From the hymn, “The Debt We Owe” by Clara McAliister Brooks, we extract these challenging thoughts: “The Savior hath given us freely salvation and grace through His name, He bids us to publish His gospel, its words to all creatures proclaim; we’re debtors to those who are dying, and never its power have known; can we who so richly are favored still leave them to perish alone? When taking His word to the lost ones, it is not a gift we bestow: by working and praying and giving, we pay but the debt that we owe; if millions are lost at the judgment, their cries shall our conscience upbraid, because when their souls we could rescue, our debt unto them was not paid. They perish, they perish, yet Jesus to save them has died; go pay them the debt that we owe them, those souls who in darkness abide.” Selah! Are we sharing God’s kind of charity (love)? Ron
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