Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 2 Peter1:5-7.
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. John 15:12.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God (אלהים) says:
Holy. Be holy for I, the LORD your God, am holy. In other words, imitate Me as My dear children and walk in the light of My love. My love is not your love, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My love is higher than your love. But now I so loved the world that I gave you My only begotten Son to save you and pour My love into your hearts by the Holy Spirit which I have promised you and given you through Him. You are no longer limited to human love, you have tapped into divine love and became a partaker of My divine nature, for I AM love. Perfect, unconditional, everlasting, pure love that never quits and never fails.
And today’s life lesson in the ascent to the highway of holiness starts with brotherly kindness and moves to love, from phileo to agape. The highway of holiness is a superhighway suspended above the traffic below, like the modern raised freeways and toll roads, and there is a fast or zipper lane even there and you enter it when you truly begin to live the life of agape love, My kind of love. It is a love that does not take offense and refuses to quit.
The difference between brotherly kindness, which, in the Greek it was originally written, is the word “philadelphia, (φιλαδελφία)” which comes from the word “philos,” which means a loving friend, and “adelphos,” which means a brother, so it is affection for a brother or a friend who is like a brother to you, like family) and love (which is the word “agape (ἀγάπη)” which is value-driven, decision based, love, benevolence, good will, esteem) is that one is human love based on affection for one another and the other is divine love and is only possible for those indwelt by the Holy Spirit. For it is a love that is holy. And that is why I direct you not to yoke yourselves with unbelievers, they are incapable of the love that is divorced from self-interest.
Joseph, the son of Jacob, is an example of value-driven, decision based love. Even though his brothers planned to kill him and then instead sold him into slavery in their jealousy against him, Joseph chose not to be offended by his brothers and to give up holding unforgiveness in his heart. He did the same about Potiphar’s wife who lied about him and caused him to be held in shame and cast into prison. And he did this because of his relationship with Me. I was with Joseph and there was a reason for that. He opened his heart to Me and he walked in love, My kind of love. You see this in his conversation and demeanor, he always served the one who had authority over him and prospered them. He did this for Potiphar as his slave, he did this for the jailor in the prison, he did it for Pharaoh, and he did it for his father, Jacob, and that benevolence even flowed over to all his brothers and their children, he blessed those who hated him and maltreated him. He lived My Son’s sermon on the mount before it was preached but the timeless Word was in his heart.
And this love will show in your conversation. If you are complaining about others and telling what awful things they did to you, even if it is true, this is not agape love. When Joseph explained to Pharaoh’s incarcerated servants why he was in prison he simply stated, “For I was in fact stolen away from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have not done anything that they should have put me into the dungeon.” Genesis 40:15. No talk of his brothers or of their deceitful and violent treatment of him and no talk of Potiphar’s lustful and lying wife. And the same is true of his conversation with Pharaoh. Pharaoh highly honored and esteemed Joseph and was close to him but Pharaoh knew nothing of Joseph’s brothers, in fact, he was well pleased when he learned of them and invited them to live in Egypt and have the best of the land. He even entrusted his herds to their care. If he had known what they had done to his beloved Joseph he would have had them put to death and certainly would not have welcomed them or entrusted his herds to them. And even though Joseph had been given full authority over Egypt by Pharaoh he never did anything to Potiphar or his wife for the shame and grief they had been him through on her false accusations. Joseph saw everything in the light of My love and favor on him and he wanted only to be faithful to Me. His brothers did not understand him and feared he was really holding a grudge against them that he would one day vindicate, but they did not understand agape love. But Joseph assured them that he had no such intentions, his eyes were only on Me, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Genesis 50:19-21. So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
And what was it the Pharaoh noticed about Joseph that so impressed him as to entrust his kingdom to Joseph? “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the divine spirit?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 41:38-41. When you are walking with Me, it shows, it cannot escape notice.
Holiness, walking in divine love, will make you visible in moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.
You can have brotherly kindness without agape but you can also have agape without brotherly kindness. I love everyone with agape love but there are some who have chosen to open their hearts to Me and obey My Words, walking with Me in love, and with these I share My secrets and marks of My favor and affection. Joseph walked in agape love with his brothers out of choice in pleasing Me but he had no longing to spend his time with them, the affection was not there, and for good reason. They had none for him and he had no reason to have conversation with them. They did not think as he did and were not holy. They lacked all the virtues that we have been studying. Joseph was not like them, even Jacob called Joseph the prince among his brothers. Holiness stands out.
In these last times there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts. You see it now, even in positions of authority and power, these are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, My beloved children who have turned your hearts to Me, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the agape love, keep yourselves in My love, waiting anxiously for the coming of your Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Jude 1:17-23.
When you are godly, that is, filled with My Spirit and the mystery of Christ in you, your hope of glory, you love those who are like minded believers. I tell you that all should know you by your love for one another. John 13:35. And I use the word agape there. A love like My love, like Jesus’ love for you. He washed His disciples’ feet, He was among you as one who serves, and He told you that you who follow Him must do the same. Love serves. Love lays its life down for others.
Treat people with kindness and a gentle spirit, but never condone evil in their conduct. Love speaks the truth of My Word and exhorts and edifies sinners to be reconciled to Me by the blood of My Son. True love is not making people happy and comfortable in their wrongdoing but in snatching them from the fire of hell by sharing with them the good news of Jesus. Never permit sin in your house. What you permit will stay and grow. Watch your children and protect them from the evil that is at hand. If they are doing it you must not be permissive about it and think that is love. It is not. It is actually fear on your part of losing their affection. But if you permit them to live in sin you will lose them for eternity for a few brief years of them not being offended by you. But always speak the truth in love, it makes a huge difference in how you deliver the mandate. People can discern your heart.
Brotherly kindness will result in fellowship and works of charity for one another, but if you stop there it will stop when you are offended or grow weary of the other’s demands. Unconditional love does not end the minute the other is burdensome, that is why there is so many who divorce the one they once had affection for. My kind of love continues even in times of trial. It is covenant love. I have loved you with an everlasting love. If you refuse My love and leave Me, I will let you go, but I am always ready to forgive and take you back. My Son died for your sins so that I can do this. And that is what the parable of the prodigal son is all about.
Love should be holy and pure, above bickering and back-biting, above vengeance, and focused on the Heavenly Kingdom. It is not of the flesh but of the Spirit, and it is at the top of the list of the fruit of the Spirit.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. And that is My kind of love. And the best example of it, which you should follow, is Jesus. Therefore be imitators of Me, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for you, an offering and a sacrifice to Me, as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2. Love has a sweet aroma, like the perfumed anointing oil before Me, and is better than the finest wine. Song of Songs 1:1-4. You can say with the Spirit-inspired words of Paul, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14.
By this My love was manifested in you, that I sent My only begotten Son into the world so that you might live through Him. You can live in His love and through you His love can flow to a hurting world trapped in the devil’s lies, hatred, and revenge.
Love is the last step on the ascent to holiness by faith that is in the letter of Peter that we are studying. Why? When you come to walk in My love by faith you have become just like Me, for I AM Love. And I AM holy. Love is a sanctifying fire that removes all that is not of love. Faith, hope and love, these three remain, but the greatest of these is love.
To close I would like to share with you the Word My Spirit delivered to you through My beloved John. He had the greatest revelation of My love as manifested in Christ of the twelve disciples and he was the only one of them who had no fear to be with My Son at the foot of the Cross.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 4:11-21.
I love you. And love consists not in that you have loved Me but that I loved you and sent My Son to be the propitiation for your sins. And I have poured My love in your hearts through Him by My gift of the Holy Spirit. Live on in My love. It is forever. Listen to Me and I will show you how to love like I do and I will give you My love to do so.