Love - Do We Truly Understand It?
What Is Genuine Love?
Love - I am convinced that this is one thing that people seek more than anything else.
We should look for love in the place where it should be the most obvious, and that is from God. There is a great problem in regard to this because God is not visible to us, and we have been used to love with flesh on. God's love was put on display when Jesus came as God in human form. That was long ago, and in our day we can't see him because he died, resurrected from the dead and then went to Heaven. Well, he still lives on in the lives of those who truly love, serve and obey him, but sadly far too many people who claim to represent God are not the loving people Jesus was. In fact, some of those people seem like they wake up every day and the first thing they have is a cup of lemon juice and a
sour disposition to go along with it. Others seem to think that God is all about Hell and judgment and rarely speak of his love. Some people even teach that God is filled with
hate for sinners and especially certain sinners that do the most "gross things" such as murder or sex sins. But what does the Bible have to say about love? We find in John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON that WHOSOEVER believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I John 3:16 - "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." And again in I John 4:7-8 - "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God; He that does not love does not know God, FOR GOD IS LOVE!"
Now there is some problem with these few verses that requires more research because some people who do not know God and don't know his word will misinterpret or misunderstand or misappropriate what is being said here. John 3:16 tells us that God acted on love when he sacrificed his only son for "whosoever" believes in him, and that those people have everlasting life. Please understand that this is not mere mental acceptance because Romans 10:9-10 is clear that this is a matter of the heart. It is believing in the heart alone that secures this salvation. A mere mental acceptance
will never bring salvation. I John 3:16 tells us that God laid down his life. This is very significant because it is declaring that Jesus Christ is God. God came in the form of a man and died for his creation, and he rose again that we might be restored to a right relationship with him and receive full pardon for our sins against him. That is the absolute total love of God on display! THERE IS NO RELIGION OR TEACHING ON EARTH TO COMPARE WITH CHRISTIANITY! Notice also that God calls those believers to Lay
down their lives as well. That is God's love working through his people. They don't have that in themselves, but God changes them so they can have it. Then I John 4:7-8 tells
us that those who say they love God are to love one another. It goes on to say that love
is of God and everyone that is genuinely loving others is born of God and knows God.
Please understand that this love is not the romantic, feel good love the worldly are thinking is true love. This is a supernatural love deposited in believers by God himself, and this love does not depend on feelings. In the theological world it is called agape or love that has no boundaries and doesn't require anything of the person loved. It is the love that obeys the command to "love your enemies" as readily as it obeys the command to love all men. This love runs contrary to everything taught by people who have never received the salvation God offers to all who will believe. It is a decision to continue to love even the most obstinate and unloving or disrespectful person we would ever come across. It crosses all boundary lines of race, creed, or religion and embraces all people because when Christ came he came to die for only one group of people on earth and that group was sinners! We all fit into that class, and only people who are hardened and refuse to listen to their conscience believe otherwise. It is this love that God alone can give that is living in all who love God more than anyone or anything and delight in bringing this love to others.
WARNING! This love is not a license to continue in sin and rebellion against God or his word. While it is true that God loves sinners, even when they refuse to return his love, and that he is merciful because his mercy is renewed every morning, God will not tolerate our sin forever. There is a day of reckoning when all mankind will be called before the throne of God in Heaven and will be judged if they refuse to repent of their great wickedness or choose their opinion over the word of God. Just as we cannot commit crimes in society, get caught and go free without paying the price for our crimes in a court of law, God is more just than any court of law, because he sees everything as it really is.
Human courts are full of errors, and people sometimes go to prison for crimes that they never committed while others who commit the crime go free. But God has perfect knowledge of everything we have ever thought, said or did, and he will be the final authority on all things in life when we stand before him. Those who have come to him with sorrow for their sin and repented and trusted God to save them from their sin will be welcomed into his kingdom and later to a new earth he is going to create for them. Those who chose to ignore his offer of salvation, deemed themselves to be too intelligent to accept this simple act of faith, held to their own opinion, or used whatever excuse to justify their behavior in defiance of God must deal with the punishment they receive at his hand. This too is an act of love. An unsaved, unrepentant person would never feel right being in the presence of people who love and serve God and who love one another with this wonderful agape love. Their lives would be full of ungodliness, and would cause them incredible grief if they were permitted into the company of the godly and God himself.
They will fully understand the depths of their sin and rejection of God and know as deeply as anyone could ever know how terrible that rejection was, and they will also fully understand that their judgment and punishment is just. They would be horrified to be in God's presence as they will be horrified when they bow before him in judgment. It is mercy that they have another place to go to because all mankind is spirit and will live forever, and there is no way to change that. This same love has prepared a place for those who love and serve God and live to love him and love all people. A new Heaven
and new earth are coming where all those people will be in God's presence, with others like them and the angels of God. Study Revelation Chapter 21 to learn about this.
WHAT ABOUT YOU FRIEND? WILL YOU BE AMONG THEM?
A LOVE TEST FOR ALL OF US
Do we meet the biblical standard of love?
In every blank below insert your name when it applies to you.
_________________________suffers long and is kind
_________________________does not envy
_________________________doesn't vaunt itself; is not puffed up
_________________________doesn't behave unseemly
_________________________does not seek his/her own way
_________________________is not easily provoked
_________________________thinks no evil
_________________________doesn't rejoice in sin but rejoices in truth
_________________________bears all things
_________________________believes all things
_________________________hopes all things
_________________________endures all things
DO WE REALLY LOVE OR ARE WE JUST KIDDING OURSELVES?