- Agape Love [God’s Love] is Kind [Gentle] –
Neh 9:16–17 “But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. 18Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; 19Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.”
Isa 54:8 “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting [H5769] kindness [H2617] will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”
Isa 55:3 “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting [H5769] covenant [or Gospel] with you, even the sure mercies [H2617 lovingkindness] of David.”Jer 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting [H5769] love: therefore with lovingkindness [H2617] have I drawn thee.”
Psa 103:17 “But the mercy [H2617 lovingkindness] of the LORD is from everlasting [H5769] to everlasting [H5769] upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;”
- Kindness toward Us through Christ Jesus – In Eph 2:4–10 we read about God’s wonderful mercy, which in Greek is eleos (G656) and expressed His love by sending the Lord Jesus to be the only Savior: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ”. All the God’s Kindness we have seen above typified, or pointed, to “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”. Heb 10:16–18 [also Psa 103:3–4, as we have seen above] emphasizes the total forgiveness that God bestows upon those whom He has elected to save from sin and eternal damnation: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin”. God, not only magnified His Word: “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou [God] hast magnified thy word above [as] all thy [God’s] name” (Psa 138:2) but also cleanses the elect with the “washing of water by the word [the Gospel]” through the salvation process because of His “kindness and love” for His people, as we read in Tit 3:3–7: “after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”. Isa 63:9 speaks of God’s care for the nation of Israel (as they typify the true children of God): “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel [or messenger] of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old”. Man’s spiritual deadness requires that God do all the work needed to regenerate man’s dead soul, including drawing the man to Himself, as Jer 31:3 asserts: “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee”. Because God does all the work of Salvation, all the glory must go to Him, as Jer 9:24 proclaims: “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD”. There is only one kind of boasting that meets with God’s approval – it’s the boasting by believers about the mercy of God for His glory, as we read in Gal 6:14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
Eph 2:4–10 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Tit 3:3–7 “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Gentleness – Those to whom God has graciously given the gift of salvation do not, in any way, merit such eternal kindness and blessing nor can they claim any credit for it. In Eph 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” and Col 3:12–13: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye”, true believers are instructed to mirror the kindness that God has shown to them by being kind to one another. Following the pattern of their Master, those who are part of the eternal church are equipped with the fruit of “gentleness”, or kindness. We will look at one of Jonathan’s sons, Mephibosheth, to whom King David showed much kindness in 2 Sam 9:3–8 and 13. David loved Jonathan dearly, and in the historical context he desired to express that in a tangible way to Saul’s relatives. He wanted to “shew the kindness of God” to “any of the house of Saul”. King Saul was Jonathan’s father and David’s former enemy. This is a beautiful representation of the biblical injunction to “love your enemies”. May the Holy Spirit empower us to exhibit patience, kindness, and the good kind of zeal in our lives for God’s honor and glory.
Gal 5:22–23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
2 Sam 9:3–8 and 13 “And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?. …So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”
Psa 40:11 “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continua] – The second characteristic of love in 1 Cor 13:4 – kindness or Gentleness: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up…”. We see that God is “kind” to even unthankful and evil people [all of us sinners] in Luke 6:35: “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil”. Neh 9:19 illustrates God’s constant, protective and faithful care for His Sheep, despite of their rebellion: “Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go”. Jer 32:18 illustrates both God’s mercy and God’s justice: “Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name”. God in His magnanimous kindness grants an individual divine, eternal pardon and reconciliation as Psa 103:3–4 declares: “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies”. The Hebrew word for “mercy” is checed (H2617), is also rendered as “kindness” or “lovingkindness”. The Hebrew word for “everlasting” is olam (H5769), and both words appear together in almo.
A new year is fast approaching, which brings with it the opportunity to reorder our lives and set in place rhythms that help nourish our