Because He First Loved Us

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Do you love Jesus Christ? Isn’t there a part of your heart that not only accepts the truth of Christ's death for you but, in response, actually loves Him for the price He paid? Don’t you love His Word, even when it hurts; and don't you appreciate the many times He's rescued you, even from battles caused by your own sin?

For too many people, however, knowing Jesus is superficial; it goes no deeper than agreeing to the historical fact of His existence. Loving Him is a distant, almost unnatural reality for them. Some even take His name in vain or anger.

For you, however, the very sound of His name, Jesus, calms the troubling in your heart. You often cry at movies that reverentially mention His name. Even if you fall short of your own spiritual aspirations, still you love His righteousness.

The fact that you possess love for Christ, even if your love is imperfect, proves something vital about you. The very existence of your love has been cultivated and awakened by God’s love for you. The living Christ has actually approached you. You love Him because He has revealed Himself to you. As it is written, "We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

Christ, Our Source of Unity

Today, Christians argue about doctrines and divide over perceptions of end-time events. Yet, let us look at the deeper issue: Do we each love Jesus Christ? If so, our love for Him is the result of His love for us. Even if we disagree with one another on minor doctrines we should treat each other with reverence, for Christ has personally loved us.

You see, the proof that we truly know Jesus Christ is not measured by the degrees we post on a wall but by the degree of love for Him that burns in our hearts.

Do you not love Him? Your love is a response to the relentless warmth of God’s love for you, and His love has proven itself irresistible. He says, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16). Again, He says, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). Even our coming to Him is a product of His love for us.

When I say, "I love You, Jesus," it is because at some point long before I knew Him, before I could discern His voice or recognize His influence in my life, a power born of His love was drawing me to Him. Yes, I know I am not worthy, but still Christ loved me. True, I have no righteousness of my own, but I imagine there was a moment in Heaven when the Son turned to the heavenly Father and said, "I love Francis. I will bring him to Myself, show him My ways, and become the strength of his life."

Behold How He Loves Us

Our capacity to actually dwell in Christ’s presence is based upon knowing the true nature of God. If we see Him as a loving Father, we will draw near; if He seems to be a harsh judge, we will withdraw. Indeed, everything that defines us is influenced by our perception of God.

If we do not believe God cares about us, we will be overly focused on caring for ourselves. If we feel insignificant or ignored by Him, we will exhaust ourselves seeking significance from others. Once we accept the profound truth that God loves us, that He desires we draw near to Him, a door opens before us into His heart. Here, in the shelter of the Most High, we can find rest and renewed power for our souls.

Our Lord is not distant from us, for He is actually "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb. 4:15 KJV). He feels the pain of what we experience on earth. He participates in the life we live, for "in Him we live, and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28 KJV). He is not removed from our need; we are His body.

The truth is, we are never alone in our battles. However, if we believe we are alone - if we accept the lie that God does not care - our darkened thinking will isolate us from the eternal commitment of our heavenly Father. Beloved, even in our times of sin or rebellion, the heart of God is not far. Consider the Lord’s relationship with Israel. Though Israel had sinned and was suffering oppressive consequences, we read that, when the Lord "could bear the misery of Israel no longer," He raised up deliverers (Judg. 10:16; Neh. 9:27). God wasn’t distant; He was with them, actually bearing them and their misery!

At Lazarus’ tomb, the Bible tells us that Jesus wept. Of course, Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus; He knew it six days before He raised Lazarus from death. He wept because those He loved were weeping. The Spirit of God feels our heartache. He is with us in our conflicts and fears. At the tomb of Lazarus, some suggest that Christ’s weeping was actually over the unbelief of His disciples. I think not. When the Lord wept over Lazarus, those who saw Christ saw a man touched by the sorrows of others, and they marveled, "See how He loved him!" (John 11:36).

Our healing comes when we behold how He loves us. We are raised from the dead when He comes to the tomb of our spiritual failures and pain (Eph. 2:4-5). He calls us out of death by name.

You see, we must accept the personalization of God’s love. He gave His Son for my sins, He enlivens His Word for my guidance, and His Spirit is with me as my helper. If the Almighty is for me, who can be against me?

Never wonder if God loves you. Rather, look at your heart. Do you love Him? If so, your love for Him is proof of His love for you. We love because He first loved us.

Dear friend, with wide-eyed wonder, let us behold how He loves us, and be healed of our aloneness.

Heavenly Father, help us to pause, to absorb into our consciousness the impact of Your purposed love for us. Let this wondrous love influence everything we think and all that we do and become: I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. Your banner over me is love. Let my life be flavored by Your unfailing mercy until, with all my heart, I love You, even as You have loved me.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "And I Will Be Found By You" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

Purity of Heart: Open Vision

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Spiritual perception is based upon purity of heart. What we see in life and how we see it is rooted in the soil of our inner thought life. If we would experience clear and open vision concerning the kingdom of God, a pure heart is most essential.

Revelation Perception At the Throne of God
In the book of Revelation there is a marvel: ". . . in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind . . . around and within" (Rev. 4:6, 8). Our purpose here is not to spend ourselves in speculations about these creatures. Our goal is to possess that purity of heart that comes from living in the awareness of God. We're seeking the open vision that is manifested at His throne.

Though these "living creatures" may represent many things, one thing is fairly certain: John was not seeing a nightmarish vision of six-winged beasts with dozens of eyes covering their bodies. What John saw was a symbol of a deeper truth. The many "eyes" represent the open, all-inclusive vision that is the result of being in God's presence.

Let it be known, where the Lord is, there also is His throne. If you have had a meeting with the Lord, it is because your spirit is at His throne. When you were spiritually reborn, you were born again from above (John 3:3 Amplified). At this very moment, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, your spirit is "seated" with Christ upon His throne in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). Where His presence is, there also is open vision.

These "living creatures" are symbols of the life one finds as he abides in God's presence. In Him our eyes can think: they see with discernment and understanding. The mind of Christ fuses with our vision, revealing what was impossible to be seen by the narrowness of our perception; we see "in front and behind." Our vision also comes from "the center . . . [of] the throne." Not only do we see distant spiritual realities, but we are close enough to penetrate and search the depths of God Himself (1 Cor. 2:10).

Yet, at the same time, being near to God also gives us "eyes . . . within," eyes which monitor the motives that guide self, inner eyes which stand guard against sin. The more our vision opens up, the greater we see God in His holiness. The slightest sin in our lives becomes significant; we are compelled to live pure before Him.

The "four creatures" at the throne of God do not cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty" (Rev. 4:8). Day and night, God is holy. When our spiritual eyes are open, the utterances of our mouths are all, "Holy, holy, holy."

A True Israelite Has Spiritual Perception
Jesus spoke concerning Nathanael, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (John 1:47). What kind of man was this young disciple, that Jesus should praise him? There was no guile, no deceit in this young man's heart. Oh, how we should desire this purity for ourselves! Nathanael had "eyes . . . within." He kept himself free from self-deception. When you cleave to the truth inwardly, you will perceive the truth outwardly. Nathanael looked at Jesus and declared, "You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel" (v. 49).

Jesus said to Nathanael, "You will see greater things than these . . . I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man" (vv. 50-51). Because of Nathanael's honest heart, Jesus knew open vision would be inevitable. Open vision is the consequence of a pure heart. To those who fight against sin, who hate falsehood, who diligently pursue walking in holiness, your struggle is a preparation for seeing God. You shall see the heavens opened.

Because of our dullness of heart, we have come to expect spiritual blindness as an unfortunate condition of this world. The truth is, in the Old Testament one of God's judgments against sin was that the heavens became "bronze" (Deut. 28:23). Most Christians similarly see the heavens closed. Few see with open vision either into the heavenly realms or into their own hearts. The heavens are always "bronze" to a hardened heart. But the Lord promised, "You shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God"!

God wants us to have true spiritual vision. One sign that the Holy Spirit is involved in a church is that, "young men . . . see visions, and your old men . . . dream dreams" (Acts 2:17). There is continuity between God's kingdom in Heaven and His kingdom on earth.

Oh, there are those who say the supernatural was strictly limited to the first century, that today we "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). Yes, we often do take steps of faith, where we walk without prior knowledge of what each step involves. But we do perceive Him who is with us! Ours is not a blind trust; it is a proven, seeing trust! Walking by faith and having spiritual vision is not an either/or situation. Just moments before Paul stated he walked by faith, he wrote, “We look . . . at the things which are not seen . . . things which are . . . eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). Paul had revelation perception of the spirit realm. He saw the eternal spiritual body that was prepared and waiting for him in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1, 4)! He knew how "a man . . . was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words" (2 Cor. 12:3-4).

We could continue concerning Paul's spiritual perception, but the fact is, he authored one-third of the New Testament out of his open vision of Christ. How did he see the things he saw? Just after he declared "with unveiled face [we behold] . . . the glory of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18), he wrote, "But we have renounced the things hidden because of shame" (2 Cor. 4:2). Later he continued, “Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1). Out of a purified heart, out of his perfected holiness, came open vision of the glory of God.

Remember, we are not seeking experiences, we are seeking a pure heart. We are not running after visions; we want holiness. Even as the supernatural realm was an expected phenomenon in the primitive church, so also was purity the expected condition in their hearts. Therefore, do not be as the foolish ones who seek visions. You must seek sanctification, and when you are ready, if God wills, He shall speak to you in supernatural ways (Acts 2:17-18). Do not seek to conjure up an "experience" with Jesus; seek to have a clean heart, allowing Christ to examine and purge you daily. And as He washes you with His Word and chastens you with His holiness, He will draw you into His presence. He will open your eyes to "things without and things within."


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.