Love or Something Else?
Robert Wurtz II
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:8)
More than anything else God wants us to love Him with all of our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. All of God’s commands boil down to those two things. That sounds simple enough, but what does that mean? The world is moving primarily in self-love. This explains much of the reason why there is so much hate and bitterness in the world. The truth is, everyone knows how to love. Jesus taught that even publicans know how to love those that love them. The question is, can we love indiscriminately like God loves? Can we love our enemies and seek reconciliation like God does? (Colossians 1:21) When we have been hurt and abused; when we have been taken advantage of; when we have been persecuted without cause, can we still love?
Can you love like this?
While Christ was on the cross suffering the worst injustice in the history of mankind He uttered these words, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) Could you and I do that? That staggers the comprehension. What about Stephen when he was being stoned to death at the hands of a merciless angry mob? And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. (Acts 7:60) How could he do it? Why didn’t he curse and swear as the pain and agony bore down upon his battered body? What about Paul the Apostle? I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh. (Romans 9:1-3 NKJV) These are the words of lamentation because of the Israelites that had rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The disciples had desired to call fire down from heaven on the Samaritans, but here is Paul wishing himself could be accursed from Christ if it would save his people. Have you ever wondered why he would utter such things? What could be at work inside of him to make such selfless statements? He was not lying. He means it. His own conscience is affirming within that he is not faking these comments. This is fervent, unfeigned love. Could this be the same man that was breathing out threatening and slaughter against Christians some twenty years before? What could have possibly effected such a radical change in this man?
A New Commandment
In John 13:35, 36 the Lord Jesus states, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This command would not come without the power to carry it out. If we would simply obey this passage, all people would know that we were disciples of Jesus Christ. Unfeigned love is essential to genuine Christianity. (Romans 12:9, 2 Cor. 6:6, 1 Peter 1:22) ‘Unfeigned’ is an old word that means sincere, irrevocable and irreversible. We sincerely love and we don’t take it back. If Jesus commanded this type of love He expects us as His people to do it. If we refuse then we find ourselves in the same state as the church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2:1ff. Jesus told them, repent and do the first works or I will remove your lampstand. Why? Because the light is the love of God manifest in a darkened world. What is the point of having a golden lampstand if there is no light? It is as worthless as salt that has lost its savor. The truth is, we are not qualified to be a church if we are not moving in this love. We are not qualified to be Christians if we do not have this love. Are you and I confronting the world with this love or with some lesser thing?