This is Love

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“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." - 1 John 4:10-11

The whole of religion can be summed up in the spiritual love of Jesus. To love God and to love our neighbor was said by our Lord to be the fulfilling of the law and the prophets. All Christians believe that God reveals Himself as Christ; so the love of Jesus is in truth the love of God.

Love as experienced by human beings may be on either of two levels, the human or the divine. These two differ not only in intensity, but in kind. Human love is undoubtedly the best thing left to the human race. Though it is often perverted and sometimes degraded, without it, life on earth would be unendurable.

Let us imagine what the world would be like if every trace of human love were suddenly removed. The heart skips a few beats from the contemplation of such a horror. Without love, earth would not differ from hell except for the difference of location.

Let us treasure what is left of love among the children of God. It is not perfect, but it makes life bearable and even sweet. But human love is not divine love and should never be confused with it, although many do. This is a great moral blunder and one that leads to frustration and disappointment. If we are to think clearly and pray rightly, we must recognize the difference between love that is merely human and the Divine Love which comes down from above.

Charles Wesley knew the difference and made it clear in his famous lines: "Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven, to earth come down."

Here all grades and degrees of human love are acknowledged, and the true love which comes down from heaven is placed above them as far as the heaven is above the earth. This is not only good poetry, it is also good theology.

God's love for us is John 3:16 kind of love. It is only with God's love that we can love one another--love not only the lovable, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, strive to love your enemy as well.

Prayer: 
Your love, O God, is so deep and so wide. Grant increased understanding of it so that I may love others with Your neighborly love. In Christ's name. Amen.
Date: 
May 11 2018