What is love? Scripture lays out many qualities for love, ones that most of us have probably heard a hundred times. They are used at weddings and as ways to try to get people to act "lovingly". However, these are just actions that come from someone who is a loving person. What makes this person loving? I think that the answer is found in I John 4:7, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."
(1 John 4:7-12 ESV)
We see here the amazing love that can exist within us. If love is from God then the only way that we can truly love, is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to trust fully and only in Jesus Christ. John clearly says here that, "whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." Now, some people might say, "how can this be true?" I would point back to the text where it again says, "if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." I love what this passage means to us as Christians. It puts such a greater calling upon us to share the gospel with those we come in contact with. Without God, there is no salvation, no love, no hope. However, when a person comes to a saving faith in Christ, there is salvation from sins. There is a deep love and passion for others. There is HOPE!
Without God in our lives, all of our attempts to love others fail. We use our "love" to be manipulative, greedy, and selfish. We act as though our deeds are what love is, when our hearts couldn't be further from love. We act as though we deserve something for the "love" we show to others. How can this possibly be love? We have an amazing example of what true love looks like in this passage from I John. He says, In this the love of GOD was made manifest among US, that GOD SENT his ONLY SON into the world, so that we might LIVE through him." It isn't about what actions we do or who they are done to, in one sense, but rather it is what we have living in us and coursing through our bodies. Is it our sinful, selfish, depraved state that we are born with? Or rather is it this love that God displayed through the appearance of his son? This is a question all people must ask themselves. Without Jesus being the propitiation for our sins, we never would know what love is or even looks like.
Even though we can now love because of Christ living in us, our love is oftentimes still tainted by our sinful humanness. We will only truly love upon receiving our purified bodies when we join Christ, worshiping him forever, in paradise.
Praise God for his loving kindness and mercy that he has so graciously poured out upon those whom he has chosen to draw to his glorious presence!!! Amen and amen!