Biblically defining the LOVE of God and our Love of Him.
“It’s just about love.” This statement is used in attempt to stop any who suggest repentance from sin as a step to salvation or toward anyone preaching obedience to the Gospel of Christ. This statement is also used when one points out denominational error.
It may also be used as the pièce de resistance rebuttal toward anyone that shows what the New Testament teaches regarding unity through the doctrine of Christ or the one true church of Christ.
Another way some misdirect the definition of love from its true meaning is when they say, “God loves us as we are.” We are to love a person’s qualities not their corruption. Love the sinner not the sin.
For most, the worldly definition of love is to tolerate sin, live and let live, and salvation has nothing to do with change. “God loves you the way you are.”
When they say, “God loves people the way they are,” it implies He also loves their corruption. This is wrong. God loves corrupt people, but He requires them to put off that corruption. [Col 3:5-7]
The Love of God is amazing and powerful, but the biblical definition is so different than the worldly definition. The Bible says…
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” [1John 2:15]
As we approach this subject, let’s state what we’re NOT saying.
- We are NOT saying to be hateful or mean to the lost or those engaged in sin. [1John 4:8]
- We are NOT saying that we are perfect and without sin, that would make us liars. [1John 1:8]
- We are NOT saying that God hates people who are in sin. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16]. The Bible teaches that God is love. [1John 4:16]
Here is what we ARE SAYING about the biblical definition of LOVE…
Love was demonstrated first by God when He…
LAID down His life for us.
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” [1John 3:16; cr John 3:16; 15:13; 1John 4:9]
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Rom 5:8; Eph 5:2,25]
Biblical Love is LAYING DOWN your life.
OBEDIENCE is LOVE demonstrated on our part. Without Obedient Godly active participation, then true LOVE is not present.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15,21,23; 15:14]
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3]
“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.” [2John 1:6]
Biblical Love is OBEDIENCE to God.
Loving God is…
VOLUNTARY and not coerced. If Love only occurs because the direct operation of the Holy Spirit then there is no Love at all. This is one of the lessons taught at the beginning of the book of Job.
“Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” [Job 1:9; 2:4-5]
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” [1John 2:5]
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” [Mark 12:30]
Biblical Love is VOLUNTARY toward God.
Sometimes Love is seen when the one who loves us…
EDUCATES, Rebukes, Disciplines, Chastens us. Love without discipline is Enabling. Discipline goes beyond just delivering pain. It includes EDUCATION and training. God’s written word Educates us.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” [Heb 12:6]
“For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” [Prov 3:12]
“Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;” [Psalm 94:12]
“But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” [1Cor 11:32]
Biblical Love is EDUCATION & DISCIPLINE from God.
The children of God are called to LOVE Him. Before we can truly LOVE Him, we must first FEAR him. Once we know the “terror of the Lord” [2Cor 5:11], then we can appreciate His LOVE for us and come to LOVE Him. It’s then that our True, Biblically Defined, LOVE for Him casts out fear. It casts away terror for love. It casts away fear of what man can do for the reward God will give to His children [Mat 10:28; Heb 11:6].
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” [1John 4:18-19]