By Paul Bawden
These words taken from an old song about love are certainly most relevant in our world today.
Divisions in the USA, war in the Middle East and Ukraine, in addition to tension with China over Taiwan, along with North Korea.
In fact, love is one of the essentials for life to have any meaning at all. In our last article, we mentioned that faith is the first essential for life to have fulfillment on planet earth. Who a person has faith in will determine one’s fulfillment here and one’s eternal destiny. Faith to be real for the present and beyond this life must have an eternal personal object. As we pointed out last time, Jesus Christ the God-man, the Savior, is the only one who is qualified, regardless of those who deny such a reality.
Okay, then, why is love an essential part of life? Love is what makes relationships real and lasting. Without love, we can’t survive long as a nation or as a world civilization. Look what hatred did to the nation of Israel recently and continues on, and the on-going hatred displayed to the Ukrainians.
But where does love come from? Is love just in us humans as we are born? How do we have love that’s entirely different from the animal world. Obviously, we are not an extension of the animal world, as the popular idea is today. No, as humans, we are one of a kind, unique – made in the image of God. Yes, we are not just physical and material, we also have a spiritual makeup that comes from the biblical God – so we can think, love, and act – develop relationships with one another that are meaningful as individuals and in the marriage union of husband and wife along with children – the family.
The Bible has the answer for the source of love – it’s the biblical eternal God revealed to us in Jesus Christ. That’s why the Scripture says that God is love (I John 4:8) – not that love is God but that God as the source of love defines love by His very character, and then He displays that love to us. God is also light, or He is holy – transcendent moral purity. This means that God’s love is pure, untainted by any sin or wickedness.
Of course, the ultimate display of the biblical God’s love is when He sent His only eternal Son into this sinful and wicked world to suffer the most awful death on the cross for us, was buried, died, and rose again bodily the third day. That’s why the writer penned that In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the satisfaction for our sins.
This is the greatest news we can hear today! God loves each of us regardless of what we have done – even rejecting Him. His love is unconditional, sacrificial, forgiving, and eternal. Since we are created in His image, we have the capacity to love as He loves, but that love is plagued with selfishness, hatred, immorality, and pride.
What we need in our lives is the pure Calvary love Christ won for us through His death, burial, and bodily resurrection. That love comes into the life of the believer in Jesus Christ – so the believer can have selfishness turned into selflessness, hatred turned into acceptance and forgiveness, immorality turned into holy living according to God’s standards, pride turned into humility.
God’s love is more than sweet as the song goes. His love is powerful and life changing for the believer in Christ. It confronts. It transforms. It reconciles. It forgives. It accepts each person. It serves. It’s what quarterback Stroud was talking about who plays for the Texans. It’s what John Harbaugh was talking about after the Ravens game. Only Christ’s love practiced in His power by believers in Him, and others experiencing His love through faith in Christ, will the hatred in the USA, the Middle East, Ukraine, and the rest of the world, be solved. Love like Christ in His power! It’s what the world needs now!!
Paul Bawden is married and served in the full-time pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011, after which he and his wife served in four interims, three in Wisconsin and one in Iowa. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He is also a volunteer writer for GotQuestions.org. Paul likes to write, read, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.
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