Part 4 – Making Much of Our Generous God
Paul continues in these opening verses of chapter five to speak of the benefits or fruits that accompany our justification by faith. In our verses for this message (Romans 5:5-8) Paul speaks of two wonderful ‘gifts’, ‘fruits’, or ‘benefits’ of our justification: The Lord has poured His love into our hearts; and this love has been given to us by the now indwelling Holy Spirit.
Humans are capable of three ‘kinds’ of love: storge – love of family; philios – friendship; and eros – passion. These loves are good and are a special part of our life as humans, but they are ‘human’ (although given by the Lord), which means their expression is hampered by the effects of the fall. These humans loves, as ‘good’ as they are, are imperfect, temporary, conditional, and selfish.
But when we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, we are given as a gift the presence of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s Spirit/Life, and since “God is love”, then His love – agape – is now a part of our spiritual life. This love is completely foreign to fallen man and cannot be manufactured, developed, nurtured, or acquired by fallen man through his own efforts. This agape is a gift from God. It is His love – His life – the Spirit of Christ, who IS love – that He puts within us, and enables us to love as Christ loves. So God’s love is the ‘opposite’ of human love in that agape – is perfect, eternal, unconditional, and selfless.
The second point that has already been alluded to above, is that the putting of God’s love within us is done by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When we come to faith we ‘get’ the Holy Spirit. At our conversion we receive all of the Holy Spirit; we are ‘baptized’ into Christ at the moment we come to faith. There can certainly be ‘fillings’ of the Holy Spirit – splashes of the Spirit’s presence and grace upon us for particular times, refreshings, and God’s purposes, but all believers possess the Holy Spirit at their new birth, and He will never leave the ‘set apart one’ – the saint – the holy one of God.
Along with this list of ‘fruits’ and ‘benefits’ of our justification, we need to be reminded that, as wonderful as the ‘gifts’ are (forgiveness, salvation, peace, etc.), we must never glory within the gifts to the point that we neglect the Gift Giver. The Lord has certainly ‘made much of us’ by His justifying of us before Him through Christ, but ultimately, we are to be making much of Him because every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father, but it is always about His glory and His glory alone.