Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How will a True Christian Community be Known? By Love

12:9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. NET Bible

Biblical love cannot be separated from biblical righteousness. Christian love is drawn toward “right” and repulsed by “wrong.” It is attracted to and adheres to that which is “good,” abhorring and withdrawing from “evil.” Christian love is most certainly not “blind.” Biblical love distinguishes between good and evil, and then acts accordingly, cleaving to the good and avoiding the evil.

Christian love is something like a battery. There must be two poles for current to flow. There is a positive terminal and a negative terminal. In biblical thinking, “love” cannot be separated from “hate.” Love is a choice, a decision. It is a decision to choose one thing and to reject another. Jacob could not “love” both Leah and Rachel; he had to “love” one and to “hate” the other.53 So too we cannot serve two masters, for we will inevitably “love” one and “hate” the other (see Matthew 6:24).

Our love as Christians is to be both a response to God’s love and a reflection of His love. Our Lord’s love was a far cry from the hypocritical “love” of the scribes and Pharisees of His day. They spoke of good, but in practice they did what was evil. While our Lord’s love prompted Him to receive sinners, and to suffer and to die for their salvation, it also manifested itself in Jesus’ strong reaction to evil (see Matthew 20:12-17; 23:1-39). Jesus wanted no association with evil, and thus He even forbade the evil spirits to proclaim that He was the promised Messiah (see Mark 3:11-12).

There are Christians today who urge us to emphasize God’s love. This we should do. But if we are to proclaim God’s love, we must distinguish between good and evil. The love of God is that love which clings to the good and abhors the evil. The love of God cannot and does not overlook sin nor the judgment which it deserves and requires. If we would speak more of God’s love, we must speak more of good and of evil. Rebuke and discipline are not a violation of love but a manifestation of it. Love acts in accordance with righteousness. Bob Deffinbaugh

No comments: