What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Christianity and love–what do the two have to do with each other? Everything! When someone asked Jesus about the greatest command, He gave a two-part answer: a) love God, b) love others.

The greatest commands!

But like most things that matter, we need to define our terms. First, who is God? The Jews thought they knew God because they were His people, but Jesus told them they were of their father the devil. Later He told His disciples that He came to show them the Father and that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus.

To love God, then, means to love Jesus. But what did He say about loving Him?

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments . . .
He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:15. 21)

Loving God, then, is not some kind of transcendent, ephemeral experience. It involves listening to what God says and then putting it into practice.

Listening to what God says isn’t some kind of mysterious, secret communication with Him either. He has made plain what He desires of us in His Word–things like confessing sins, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, taking up our cross, and following Him.

No warm fuzzies. Loving God means dying to self. It means counting all my righteousness as nothing but filthy rags. It means trusting Him, putting all my faith in His character, His plan of redemption, His goodness and power, His forgiveness and grace.

Loving God is not possible apart from Jesus. It is He who is the Way. Because of His perfect life as God incarnate, He was the blameless and spotless lamb who could shed His blood to redeem those who believe from the futility of our sin natures.

But that’s the next part. Loving God isn’t possible without belief in Jesus. He is more than a good role model, a great example for us to follow, though He is that. If we only believed in Jesus as a good teacher, we could not enter into a relationship with God. Our sins would still separate us from Him. To love God we must first have that barrier between us and Him smashed. Jesus is the only one who can accomplish this.

He did it at the cross and we have but to accept His finished work, by faith. It is a free gift, not something we can earn, not something we do to try and win God over or please Him enough that He’ll extend His pardon. There frankly aren’t enough good deeds we can do. All the good is like paying the interest on a loan, which never puts a dent in the principle. Jesus, who owed nothing, is the only one qualified to pay off the debt.

Loving God, then, starts with believing in Jesus–that He is the Savior who took the penalty for my sins on Himself; that Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life, as He said He is.

Published in: on November 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm  Comments Off on What’s Love Got To Do With It?  
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