Friday, November 12, 2004

The Divine Balance of Power and Love

For the last couple of days, I have been considering the relationship between power and love, because that is what the prayer of the early Church in Acts 4 is about (see below).

God’s love and power always go together. David declared, “I will sing of Your power. Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning. For You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Psalm 59:16). The mercy of God is the Hebrew hesed. It is the covenant love and faithfulness by which God has pledged Himself to His people. It is the Old Testament counterpart to the New Testament agape — divine love.

For David, the power and mercy of God are inseparable, even synonymous. It is impossible for God to be loving and yet remain powerless to help His loved ones. Just as impossible as it is for Him to be powerful and yet uncaring toward His own. No, God’s love and power go together. There is no schizophrenia in God. His love and power are in perfect harmony — a reciprocal relationship: God’s love expresses His power; God’s power expresses His love. It is the divine balance.

One day a leper came to Jesus and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched Him saying, “I am willing; be cleansed” (Matthew 8:2-3). The ministry of Jesus continually shows us that God is both willing and able to cleanse, heal and set free.

The early Church asked for boldness and power, not for their own gain and glory, but for the glory and honor of God, and for the sake of the people to whom they were called to minister. They were not possessed by the love of power. They were crying out for the very real and tangible power of love to be to shed abroad through them. They took on the servant heart of Jesus, the very expression of God’s own heart, to love, give and serve.

In the remainder of the Book of Acts, we find that God did indeed stretch out His hand to heal. Signs, wonders and miracles followed to bless multitudes and focus their attention on the Lord Jesus Christ. Because God is both willing and able. Because His love and power go together and express each other.