What is Real Love?
All of us not only want to receive or experience real love, but deep down we also want to give to others real love, especially to those of the household of faith. Often our finite mind tends to make love mostly, if not all, about what we feel. Feeling loved is a part of true love for certain, but we human beings can be loved by God and never feel His love.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)
Does God love all people of the world? This verse of scripture answers with an affirmative yes. Does every person of the world receive and experience God’s love for them? The sad answer is no. God’s love is like the sunshine, it is always there, but many people stay outside of His great love for them by keeping up the barrier or wall that separates humanity from His love and that is sin. Every family has some form of dysfunction; therefore, all of us are products of the level of dysfunction we were raised in, however, through receiving Jesus Christ into our hearts can we experience God’s great love that is beyond our ability to understand.
Colossians 2:11-14 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (NKJV)
This is not an easy subject to speak about because we will never love fully as we should, but we must be willing to discover the true meaning of love as God defines it in His Word. When we hear someone say to another person, “I love you,” what are they really saying? When a person says it, do they mean they would willingly run in front of a truck about to run over that person and push them out of the way getting hit and dying in their place? Well, this is the love God has shown to the whole world.
Romans 5:8 God demonstrates His own love toward us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:6 “Love (God’s Love) takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but takes pleasure in the truth.” (BBE) The same Apostle Paul also wrote this, Romans 1:32 Who, though they have knowledge of the law of God, that the fate of those who do these things is death, not only go on doing these things themselves, but give approval to those who do them. (BBE) The Love that God the Father pours into the hearts of His regenerated, born-again, adopted sons and daughters through the Holy Spirit enables them to not take delight in others doing that which is in opposition to the Word of God and certainly they won’t approve of it. The love of God is so endless that I could write infinite pages and still it would be as if I dropped one drop of water into the Pacific Ocean. The Apostle John wrote that we (those who are born-again) should not love in just words, i.e., “I love you”, but in what we do for our brothers and sisters in Christ Body who are in need. It is wonderful and a blessing to the poor unsaved man or woman when we help them, but our first desire should be to give spiritual and physical aid to our family members in Christ Body.
Listen to what Pastor Albert Barnes (1798-1870) had to say about God’s love, “Love does not rejoice over the “vices” of other people; love does not take delight when they are guilty of crime, or when, in any manner, they fall into sin. Love does not find pleasure in hearing others accused of sin, and in having it proved that they committed it. Love does not find a malicious pleasure in the “report” that they have done wrong; or in following up that report, and finding it established. Wicked people often find pleasure in this, and rejoice when others have fallen into sin, and have disgraced and ruined themselves. People of the world often find a malignant pleasure in the report, and in the evidence that a member of the Church has brought dishonor on his profession. A man often rejoices when an enemy, a persecutor, or a slanderer has committed some crime, and when he has shown an improper spirit, uttered a rash expression, or taken some step which shall involve him in ignominy. But love does none of these things. Love does not desire that an enemy, a persecutor, or a slanderer should do evil, or should disgrace and ruin him. Love does not rejoice, but grieves, when a professor of religion, or an enemy of religion - when a personal friend or foe has done anything wrong. It neither loves the wrong, nor the fact that it has been done. And perhaps there is no greater triumph of the gospel than in its enabling a man to rejoice that even his enemy and persecutor in any respect does well; or to rejoice that he is in any way honored and respected among people. Human nature, without the gospel, manifests a different feeling; and it is only as the heart is subdued by the gospel, and filled with universal benevolence, that it is brought to rejoice when all people do well.”
Scenario: You have a 42 year old brother addicted to crack-cocaine; he lies to you regularly, steals from you, and always wants money from you. Question: If you refuse to give him any money (knowing he will use it to smoke more crack and thus continue to kill himself) are you demonstrating to him real love or is real love to give him what he wants? The Apostle John wrote in 3 John to Gaius and said to him, “Gaius, whom I love in truth.”
Jesus Christ is love manifested in a human body. How did He demonstrate His love for people while He was on earth in the flesh? Our Lord was truly compassionate, but He was never enabling. Christ came to show compassion and love to all humanity by dying for our sins. However, His love is not enabling. Take the woman at the well, the Lord Jesus already knew about her status with other people in her community, especially being lowly regarded by the women. He knew what people thought of her as a woman. He knew about all the men she had slept with. He knew what she was seeking in all of her bed hopping. He brought her to a point where she was willing to confess her sin to Him. Once she felt brokenness and became contrite about her sin, our Lord immediately forgave her and gave her what she had been looking and longing for all her life and that was real love. For the first time in her life she knew real love, which all of her sexual encounters never brought her. Do you believe that she ran from the presence of our Lord (receiving His love in her heart) into the city announcing her encounter with our Lord to the men of that Samaritan city wanting to run back into the bed of the man she lived with?
I have never conducted this poll I am about to speak about, but I am not ashamed to say that I believe if you asked 100 people that were praying for someone with an addiction to heroin if they wanted that person forgiven by God and still bound by heroin or forgiven by God and delivered from the addiction, I believe with zero doubt in my heart that 100 people (that’s 100%) would answer delivered from the addiction by God and forgiven. This is what Christ salvation brings to every soul. Our Lord said, “I have come that you might have life that is superior in quality.”
Matthew 9:2-7 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!" But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" --- then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." And he arose and departed to his house. (NKJV)
What would that prove? It proves that if you really desire to love (as God does) you want the people you love to be whole, healed, and you would want the absolute best for them. The Bible says the wages of sin (not some sin; all sin) is death (not life). Humanity has an enemy, and from the beginning he has and still is waging war against the Word of God. In the garden, he asked Eve, “Did God really say not to eat of every tree of the garden?” The desire of the enemy is to distort the true love of God found in Jesus Christ and repenting of sin and believing the gospel is the only way to receive real love.
Romans 13:8-10 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (NKJV)
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul”, coming soon for the Glory of God
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