Linchpin is a word not commonly used by most of us these days, but sometimes a word that has gone out of fashion is one that describes something better than any other word.
The word linchpin seems to first appear in use in the late 14th century and was used to describe a fastener whose purpose was to prevent a wheel or other part from sliding off of an axle when it was in use riding. It was absolutely vital to make things work.
As opposed to linchpin, love is a word used so often and easily in connection with so many things that it has almost lost a great deal of its significance. We say we love someone, but we also say we love pizza or jogging or sleeping late, etc. And that is why so many say the English language is inadequate based on how broadly this one word is used.
It’s little wonder that we don’t weigh the word love with this full meaning when it comes to our faith, God’s love and how it is demonstrated over and over and lived out in the life of Christ. It shouldn’t be surprising that some are tempted to think God’s love is as conditional and uncertain as human love. And the enemy would have it so because when it comes to a relationship with God love really is the linchpin that connects all the various complex interweaving aspects of faith.
Love isn’t just a word God says.
It’s who He is.
Some readers of the Old Testament dispute that because they miss the whole point of the laws that were given and God’s reason for giving them. They miss the point when bad things happen because they lose sight of the forces of evil present in the world or that bad choices have real life consequences even if forgiveness and grace are extended again and again.
A closer reading of the Old Testament will reveal a great deal of grace evident from Genesis to Malachi – before we ever begin the New Testament that we routinely associate with grace. Jesus comes in part to help us see what we are missing and have missed since the fall in the Garden of Eden.
“Jesus already knows that in this broken world, we will endure suffering. Our faith will be tested, and we will fall short. But we have a Savior whose love stretches across the great cavern of our failings and across the sea of our shifting faith. Jesus leaves a breadcrumb trail again back to His heart, ever beating the great gospel message of grace – “My Covenant is greater than your commitment.”
Eric and Kristen Hill
In this great quote from The First Breakfast we see one of those other words not commonly used today – covenant. We associate it with the word contract, but it had a greater depth of meaning than a contract that can be amended or ignored by too many. (Maybe that is what has happened in marriage. We started looking at it as a contract instead of a Covenant.)
Covenant in the Bible was not referencing two equal parties, but rather something that was initiated by a benefactor to a recipient, not unlike something we receive in a will from a benefactor. It also involved a solemn oath from the one who initiated the covenant and bore the greater responsibility for keeping it.
We first see an example of that most clearly between God and Abraham. Who initiated it? God.
A Covenant was translated from Greek meaning “a legal term denoting a formal and legally binding declaration of benefits to be given by one party to another, with or without conditions attached.” Where God is concerned “covenant does not have the character of a contract between two parties, but rather that of a one-sided grant.” (From bible-researcher.com)
From the beginning God has offered covering for our failing out of love for us. He covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve with the skins of animals He killed for their sake.
God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to stretch out his arms wide on the punishing death of a cross to cover our sins that we could never repay. Love was the linchpin in it all.
“Our faith is not simply about our hands reaching to the Father but, even more so, about His hands reaching to us. It is not just that our eyes are on God but that His eyes are on us. It is not just our prayers to Jesus, but His prayers for us. The prayers of Jesus sustain our faith. It is not our commitment to Him, but His Covenant with us that holds us. It is less about our own faith or our own abilities, and more about His perfect love toward us. Jesus already sees beyond the present testing of our faith and is already holding us up.”
Eric and Kristen Hill
Love is the linchpin and He is love! His Covenant does not waver.