by Perry Sexton

      The God of love (1 John 4:8) makes it perfectly clear as to how important love is in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  We are so thankful for the love of God (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8) and the love of His dear Son (Rom. 8:35-39).  Love compelled Christ to leave the Father and glories of Heaven and come to this earth (2 Cor. 8:9), live among sinful man and suffer on the cross of Calvary.  Love was the motivating force: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).   

      Satan would have you to believe that “love” is all that is important.  Many are under the impression that if one has love, other things are not important.  They believe that if one has love, it does not matter whether or not he is following the Bible in doctrinal matters, or how immoral he is.  This is about as far from biblical truth and true love as one can get!  Is love important?  Very much so, but love is much misunderstood.  Biblical love is not just saying so, nor is it just feeling love toward another or toward God. 

      True love is demonstrated by deeds as we have seen from the God of love (John 3:16; 1 John 3:18).  How many times have we heard people talk about how much they “love the Lord” while being involved in adultery, cursing, drinking, etc.  Some people think it is enough to talk about how they love Jesus. Some go to great lengths in their praise and worship of Him, but their worship is in vain because they do not obey God.  They follow men (Matt. 15:9).

      Is doctrine important?  Very much so!  It is the difference between Heaven and Hell.  One cannot be saved without God and one does not have God without being doctrinally correct (2 John 1:9).  We find those who departed from the true gospel or doctrine, were removed from God and therefore removed from the grace of God (Gal. 1:6- 9).  One cannot be saved without the grace of God (Eph. 2:8).  Sin of any kind brings death, i.e. eternal damnation (Rom. 6:23).  One cannot receive the gift of salvation without first repenting of sins (stop sinning) AND obeying the gospel (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38).

      As God demonstrated His love for us, so must we demonstrate our love to God.  If one really wants the truth on love just read what Jesus said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Who really loves Jesus?  Jesus said: "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21 read also v. 23,24; 15:10,14).  As John wrote: “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it” (2 John 1:6).  “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).  It is far too plain to be misunderstood, but many choose to do their own thing in religion rather than learn and obey God’s will.  The bottom line is: Jesus is the “author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:9).  If all truly loved God, all would be obeying His commandments and there would be no doctrinal differences as there are none in the Bible. 

      We must have love toward fellow man which is consistent with true love for God.  John wrote of this giving kind of love (charitable).  “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17,18 cp Gal. 6:10).  As we must not give “lip service” to God, so must we not give “lip service” to mankind.  James is dealing with a dead faith or faith alone in the following verses, but the same is true of love.  As you read it, insert the word love for faith. “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith [love], and have not works? can faith [love] save him? 15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit” (James 2:14-16)? 

      “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).  We must not love the evil things of this world or take part in them in any manner.  To do so is sinful (cp. Rom. 1:32 and context; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Tim. 6:10).

      Let us grow in love toward God, His Word, His church and all people.  Look at this motivation: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3). 

      Do you love God, His Word, His church and your own soul?  Do you want to be saved and go to Heaven when this life is over?  Have you purified yourself by obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ (see plan of salvation on the back)? 

      Will you truly love God and your own soul by obeying the gospel?  “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:22,23 cp. 2 Tim. 4:8; Eph. 3:17).  ♥