When John writes, ‘Beloved, let us love one another’, what does he mean, and does it matter? Is it not a bit liberal to be writing about love on a Reformation blog post. Surely we are about ‘Doctrine, Truth, Discipline, Stewardship etc.’ Well, yes we are, but God says, if we don’t get what love is and do it, we are sunk, regardless of how outwardly correct we may appear to be.
What does John mean when he says, ‘Let us love one another?’ Well we need to begin with a definition of love? We can’t take the Humpty Dumpty route who, when having a discussion with Alice about the meaning of words says, “when I use a word, it means what I choose it to mean, nothing more or nothing less.” Love can’t be a word that we use and abuse dependent on what we want it to mean, or who we want it to influence or effect.
So what does ‘love’ mean? Well there is a very simple and clear definition of ‘love’. It is found in the root source of ‘love’. Trace ‘love’ to its source, and there you will find God, for God is love. ‘Love’ is neither an attribute of God nor the product of His being. Love is who God is, God is what love is.
But how we do we know what ‘love’ looks like because none of us have seen nor will we see God this side of eternity? Well we know what it looks like because it has been shown to us. God has revealed ‘love’ to us. When? 2,000 years ago. 2,000 years ago God sent the Lord Jesus Christ, His Only Son, to be the bearer of His wrath for the sin of His people. That’s ‘love’!
Love is the sacrificial, unconditional, no strings attached, no tightropes to be walked, giving of oneself to another regardless of the cost. And you know what? The absolutely amazing thing is that we can do it. Brother or sister because we are in Christ, you and I can love like this! We can do it because of God’s love for us. It is not impossible. Because God loves us, we can actually, really love one another. Because of our union with Christ, we can actually, really love one another. It is possible to love one another. Now we do need to think about it. It will require deliberate, intentional thought, leading to tangible, concrete acts. But it can be done, and more than that, it must be done.
For not to love, isn’t an option as far as our God-given, love-generated faith in Christ is concerned. That we must love is a non-negotiable command of Christ, a Law of God, that must obeyed. Not to do so, is simply not on. We cannot say ‘I love God’ and then not love one another. Either we are lovers of God and our brothers and sister in Christ, or we are a liar! You can’t be both, not matter what the circumstances.
What has love got to do with it? Absolutely everything!