“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Thursday, May 26, 2011

True Love

According to the Miriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, love is an emotion which yields strong affections. It is characterized by a personal attachment to that which is loved. In today's society, love is an emotion that is passive and easily discarded. But as for Christians, love is something that should be embedded in their very being. Only Christians can demonstrate true love. This is why.

God has a myriad of attributes. But one of His many attributes is love. God showed His love by giving His perfect Son as a blood sacrifice for fallen humanity, even when they did not deserve it (Romans 5:8). God showed love to His people, who were wallowing in their unregenerate life. His people were previously slaves to sin, and in fact dead in it. By God's love, His people were brought to life (Romans 4:25).

The mark of true Christianity is love. Christians should model the selfless love that God shows for His people. Christians can show God's love by striving to be obedient to His Word (John 14:15). The only true mark of Christianity is love for and obedience to God and His Word. 

Another way to demonstrate Christian love is to love others. "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers" (I John 3:16). It is impossible for us to lay down our life as a sin offering as Christ did, but we should model His selfless love for others, even those who are enemies to us. We may never have to lay down our lives for someone, but we should be prepared to do so since Christ died for His people.

First Corinthians 13 is known as the "love chapter". In this chapter, Paul outlines the way Christians should love. In the first part of the chapter, Paul writes that spiritual gifts are useless if love is not present (1-3). If God has given us the gift of eloquent speech, our speech is asinine if not used in love. If God has given us the gift of knowledge, but we use it without love, we will sound dumb. And if we give away all our belongings to bring glory unto ourselves, but do not love others, then our sacrifice is in vain.

Secondly, Christians should imitate Christ's love (4-7). Paul lists characteristics of love, which happen to be characteristics of Christ. 
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Finally, true love endures forever (8-13). Paul writes that prophecies, knowledge, and speech will eventually pass away, but "Love never ends." When Christ returns, we will no longer need our spiritual gifts. When the hope of our faith is finally realized with the return of Christ, the only thing that will exist is our eternal love for Christ, with which we will abide with Him forever. 

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