Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Love Is Not the Greatest


                                                (Foggy Morning in Monroe County - 1/3/21)

(Some morning meditations on love...)

Is love great? Depending on your definition of love, yes.

Is love the greatest thing of all? No. Among the triad of faith, hope, and love, love wins. Love, biblical-style, is therefore greater than faith and hope. This does not say love is greater than all things. 1 Corinthians 13:13 reads - now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Note the words "of these."

Love is not greater than Christ. One day, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Christ, not love, is lord of all.

Aren't Christ and love the same thing? No. Christ is a person. Love is a quality, an attribute, like "red," in "This apple is red."

In 1 Corinthians 13 love is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit's grace. But, of course, love is not the Holy Spirit.

God is love. But love is not God. There is an asymmetric relationship between God and love. 

Love is not a being. God is. God is Supreme Being. Love is one of God's essential attributes. Love is an inexorable manifestation of the being of God.

Love has no ontological status. Love is not some entity that exists apart from persons. The reality of love depends on persons. The love of God can manifest through persons who are connected to Jesus.

Love is an expression of the being of God. But, again, this does not mean that love is God. 

For followers of Jesus like myself, what does love look like? Love looks like Jesus. Therefore, I study Jesus. In studying Jesus, in coming to know Christ, I come to know love as He is love.

One result of studying and knowing Jesus is seeing that, throughout and to the cross, Jesus hates sin, and calls us to repentance. This, also, is love. Romans 2:4 says, Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (NLT)

Out of the heart of Jesus come words like, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near! (John 4:16) Because it is not loving to coddle sin.  

This, in my mind, is where some Christian writers fail me. To me, they elevate love above Christ and, as a result, diminish both. One cannot simultaneously embrace Christ and sin and label it "love." To do this is to commit the sin of over-affirmation.

Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.

Worship Christ, not love. And in this way, know what love is.