In The Name Of Love
By Grant Phillips
The society in which we live is drunk on love, but is it the love that comes from God? The Apostle John, especially in his first epistle, speaks much about love. How does it compare with the love of the world?
To write about love, in its entirety, would be far too lengthy to post. It could be many books, and then some. Therefore, please allow me to just hit the high points within a narrow field of view. I would like to briefly compare Biblical love, or Godly love, with what the world, or society, views as love.
First of all, Biblical love is not based on emotions as many may think. It certainly isn’t based on appearances either. Biblical love is a mental attitude, with emotions as an appreciator, but never an initiator.
When one comes to Jesus to be saved from their sins, they must make a mental decision. Again, emotions may be involved, but they will not get you one inch closer to Jesus Christ until you make a mental decision to ask His forgiveness and put your faith totally in Him. John reminds us that, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) When Jesus saves us and we then grow in Him, we begin to appreciate more and more what He has done for us, and in us, as we mature spiritually. Our love for Him grows, because we realize more and more just what He has done for us.
God is a God of love, but does His love save anyone? No; not of itself. God made a mental decision to become the propitiation for our sins by becoming as we are, yet without sin, and then to die on the cross and rise again. By this, when we place our faith in Him, Jesus, He places us back in God’s acceptance. He does love us, but He is also absolute righteousness and justice. We are unrighteous because of sin. Our sin must be judged, but we cannot pay the penalty for sin because we are not perfect, or sinless. Therefore, Jesus, who is perfect (sinless), became our substitute, and by His death and resurrection He can save (redeem) those who come to Him for salvation.
Unlike God, our love must be seeded and grow in Jesus Christ, because we are corrupt to start with. So, we cannot truly love until we know love through Him. Okay, so what about other facets of love? Where do they fit in?
Many books have been written about love. Even more songs have been written about love. Movies have been made about love. Television programs have love ingrained within them. People often speak about love. Unless these books, songs, movies, television programs, etc. are speaking about the true Biblical love of God, they fall short, some more so than others. In some cases love may be a legitimate love between people that God has ordained, but it still falls short of God’s love. On the other end of the spectrum, love is merely a perverted animal fulfillment of self-gratification (no disrespect meant toward the animal kingdom).
Society believes that to spank a child does not show love, but anger. This is not true. The Scriptures say, “Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.” (Proverbs 19:18 NLT) “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” (Proverbs 13:24 NLT) Please take note of what society has produced in her children in the last generations. I needn’t say more.
Society believes that to execute a murderer is cruel and unusual punishment. “That would not be showing love.” This has nothing to do with showing love. It is about justice. It is about protecting those in society who do not commit murder, by permanently removing the murderer from society, and meting out deserved justice. Exodus 20:13 says, “Thou shalt not murder.” (It is translated “kill” in the KJV, but actually and specifically means “murder”.) Read Exodus 22:2-3; 35; 16-18; 20-21, 27, 31, 35; and Deuteronomy 5:17. Especially note Genesis 9:5-6 which says, “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” God Himself authorizes capital punishment for the murderer. So who is right, God or society?
Society believes to speak against homosexuality is hateful. Society believes that true love exists between two homosexuals just as much as two married heterosexuals. What does God say? Please read Romans 1:22-32. He makes it quite clear. There is also no doubt where Gods stands when reading the following, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders.” (1 Corinthians 6:9) God created Adam and Eve to head up the family and replenish the earth, not Adam and Steve.
Have you ever witnessed a baby sling its food all over the walls? This is what society does with the word “love” when it comes to fornication and adultery. (Fornication is illicit sex outside marriage. Adultery is illicit sex within marriage.) There is so much about this in God’s Word, I’m not even going to provide references. Just do a run down with your concordance, and it will keep you busy for a long time. There is no shame today for a bride to wear white, even though she has been promiscuous prior to her wedding date. There is no shame for two people to live together and not be married. “Everybody’s doing it, so it must be okay. It’s love! We love each other! I may love someone else tomorrow, but I love this one today.” Many do not even bother with the “love” excuse, they just call it their right to physical enjoyment and go from partner to partner.
Biblical love, is loving the other person when they do not deserve it. Biblical love, loves another, and expects nothing in return. Biblical love has feet under its prayers. Biblical love, fights for what is right and true. Biblical love, speaks out against false doctrine. Biblical love, defends the weak and metes justice to the unjust. Biblical love, is not swayed by emotional ties, but measures its thoughts and actions against the Word of God. Biblical love, looks past the faults and failures and sees the soul. Biblical love, does what is right, even when it is not popular to do so. Biblical love, tries to guide through the fog, but yet respects the rights and feelings of others; i.e. Jesus forces no one to come to Him. Biblical love, is not swayed by tempting allurements. Biblical love, seeks no reward.
On the other hand, worldly love is swayed, activated, and initiated by enticements. Worldly love’s primary desire is to please self. Worldly love is happy, as long as its ego is stroked. In a nutshell, the world’s view of “love” is almost entirely physical and/or emotional.
Biblical love, or Godly love, goes way beyond the physical to the spiritual side of God and man. Jesus said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7) Jesus was referring to a spiritual birth. Unless we are born again; physically the first time and spiritually the second time, we cannot understand spiritual matters. Therefore, concerning love, the worldly man cannot get past the physical part of love until he is born again in Christ. Then the highest plateau of love is experienced spiritually.
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John 3:16 – The Story of Love
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jeremiah 31:3 …It is hard to fathom how much God loves us but He most certainly does. He loves us more than our human mind can comprehend. “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.”
Romans 5:8 …But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:10 …Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation/sacrifice for our sins.
Ephesians 2:4 …But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.