Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Genuine Love

What is love? People have many funny ideas about love. Many see it as some vague sentimental emotion. This emotion accepts anything and everything and would not dream of ever being critical. But this is not the Biblical concept of love. Rather, the Biblical concept is based on commitment and responsibility and putting the real good of another person before our own. In this, God’s love is our motivation and example. The ultimate expression of God’s love is that even when we were in rebellion against Him, the Father sent the Son to die for us (Romans 5:6-10; 1 John 4:9,10; John 3:16). Based on this we are motivated to live for God (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Luke 7:36-50). But it is important to note that God did not just shrug His shoulders regarding sin and say that it did not matter. There was a price that had to be paid, but God Himself paid it (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13-15; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Now the underlying principle of what God requires is love (Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13,14). But the love He requires is the responsible, committed love not the vague emotional type.
What are the characteristics of this type of love? It is concerned about what is genuinely good and true (Romans 12:9; 1 Corinthians 13:6; Ephesians 4;15). This is at odds with our society’s current idea of love. But genuine love must be concerned with the welfare of the other person, not just what they happen to want. As a result, love is not hypocritical or fake but is an honest expression of who we are (Romans 12:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:18). God is not interested in some kind of act but in what is in our heart. The result of this type of love is to consider others and their welfare before our own (Romans 12:10; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:3,4). This is the essence of love, as shown by the Father giving His Son to save us from our sins. The result of this is humility, the refusal to do things to exalt myself, but to put God and others first (Romans 12:16, 1 Corinthians 13:4; Luke 14:7-11). This will result in our giving to meet the needs of others and sympathizing with their troubles and triumphs (Romans 12:13-15; 1 Corinthians 12:26,27; 1 John 3:17). Now there is a place for using wisdom in helping those in need, but we cannot let this be an excuse for refusing to carry out God’s commandment in this area. And ultimately love will lead us to the point of loving even our enemies (Romans 12:14; Matthew 5:43-48; 1 Corinthians 13:5). Now this love is not something we can work up ourselves (John 15:5; Romans 7:18; 8:8). Rather, it is the result of God working in us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29). But we need to understand what the real goal is so that we may embrace genuine Biblical love.

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