But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].
1 Corinthians 8:3 AMPC
My love reveals my owner—what I love, who I love, and whose love I love, as Martha says. And I can just about grasp that! But then the verse above kind of exploded through my heart and left me on my knees and it felt like I was back at square one of understanding. “If one loves God truly…he is known by God…and he is owned by Him.” It’s the ‘truly’ that hits my heart, because I well know how easy and normal it is to don a veneer of love that is anything but. And we don’t just play this game with each other; we can (and do!) choose to believe that God is just another chump who’s buying what we’re selling. But God is not fooled, NEVER fooled. God owns the one who “loves God truly.”
If One Loves God Truly, He LOVES!
The most cursed, the most miserable, and the most unloving people I have met in this life were ones who claimed the mantle of Christ but lived under the Law. Legalists and the religious murder the Lamb of God with every word and deed but claim to love and worship Him. They masquerade daily as one who loves God truly. They are obscene, a walking blight that purports to be godly—yet God loves them, too. In fact, God’s vengeance and His love is nowhere so perfectly illustrated as in the life of the Apostle Paul. Saul persecuted and murdered* God’s children, and God took Saul’s entire life, full of acclaim and accomplishment. He even took the man’s name. God obliterated Saul in every way that matters to humanity. “Vengeance is Mine…” indeed! But even as Saul died, Paul was born. And God’s love and grace and blessing covered and filled and spilled out of Paul in ways we still talk about and wonder at today.
I bring up the religious because they have always been my kryptonite. I can smell sulfur as soon as they walk in the room. They push every button I have the moment they open their mouths. I would sooner fight one to the death and lose than sit and endure their presence for a single cup of tea. Or so it once was… Now I find I love them. I love them! The more I receive God’s love for me, the more I love HIM. And the more I love Him, the more I love whom He loves.
If One Loves God Truly, He Loves as God Loves
I have experienced the miracle of God’s love for my own wicked, wretched being, but even that is not as shocking to me as the growing evidence of my new heart. God really did give me a new creation, with a new heart that LOVES. I have been a vessel of white-hot hate my whole life; I can do that in a coma. But the love that lights up and takes over and shoots out of my heart for other people is miraculous. It is! I have said to John so many times over the years, “I don’t understand. I should HATE this person! Yet I don’t.” Who they are isn’t hidden or obscured in any way, but I love them all the same. And THAT is where God owns me.
“If one loves God truly…he is known by God…and he is owned by Him.”
* I get that Paul didn’t strike the killing blow, but holding your mates’ jackets so they don’t get spattered with blood and bone bits and brain matter is total culpability to me.