Today, as I watched the Royal Wedding and most of the commentary on today's events, I was inspired to consider the subject of love. During the wedding, Micheal Bruce Curry (an American Preacher) touched on love in an unconventional sermon. I found most of his message to be incredibly refreshing. His posture and message were uncommon for an event of this magnitude, but I was indeed appreciative of the unusualness! Unfortunately, some social media commentators were not. As I scrolled through my timeline, I read several dissenting opinions of people who thought the message was not good enough. And honestly, this response left me a bit perplexed.
Help me out here if you can, but I cannot understand why so many people diminish and twist God’s message of love (which is a paramount theme in the Bible)? Is it that some fear that teaching love will coddle people into antinomianism? Or perhaps some deliberately twist love (in an abusive manner) because they fear that many will become legalists? Do we think that we can scare people into obedience? Do we believe that love should comfort people in their sins? Why is the simple message of biblical love not enough? Why must we add or take away?
On the subject of love, the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible states that it is the "first and last word in Christian theology and ethics. It is therefore important to understand clearly this exceedingly ambiguous term" (1).
I'd wholeheartedly agree with the fact that love has become an increasingly ambiguous term as time has passed. However, the Bible is entirely clear on what love is according to God's standard. Biblical love is more than just intimidation, sexual desire, or passivity. Biblical love is fundamentally understood in light of God's character. God is the true definition of love. Therefore, to truly understand biblical love (and live it out), we must intently study all of the attributes of God.
I want to make this clear; I don't downplay any part of who God is! However, we must understand that the central truth of who God is, is that He is Love! (1 John 4:8)--That is the absolute truth. And we cannot mute the truth and power of God’s love just because others have twisted it or because we are concerned that others will abuse love. We can't control outcomes. We can't change the hearts. We aren't God; we are vessels. And as faithful vessels, we should aim to live and share the truths of God's love in every way. If you want to understand how God’s love is rightly defined, then commit to studying the Word of God diligently. Saints, we have been commanded by Christ to abide in love (John 15:9). Remember this! And all who genuinely love, belong to God and know Him (1 John 4:7).
If I am not known by anything else, I want to be known by two simple truths: First, that I sincerely love God. And secondly, that I genuinely love people. If I am truly operating in biblical love, then everything else will take care of itself...
My obedience will be rooted in love.
My sacrifice will be rooted in love.
My correcting and teaching will be rooted in love.
My ability to receive correction will be rooted in love.
My patience will be rooted in love.
My ability to overlook past offenses will be rooted in love.
My genuineness and perseverance will be rooted in love.
Listen. If God’s pure and perfect love can’t change hearts, then nothing else can. Trust God to be God. He is Sovereign! His love is powerful! If it were not for God’s love, none would be saved. God’s love saves us, and God’s love keeps us. Believe in and NEVER forget the power of God's love!
Scripture references on love: Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:5; John 3:16; Romans 5:5–8; 1 Corinthians 13:1–13; Galatians 5:14–22; Matthew 22:37–40; John 13:34–35; John 14:21–23; John 15:9–13; 2 Corinthians 5:14–15; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:10–18; 1 John 4:7–12; 1 John 4:16–20
1. White, R. E. O. (1988). Love. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1357). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.