"And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:3
Love is the greatest of the Christian virtues. Jesus said that His disciples would be known for their love for one another. The Law and the Prophets are summed up in love toward God and love toward your fellow man. No godly virtue has ever been attacked and distorted as that of love.
Since Jesus has sent His followers forth as lights in a dark world, it is extremely important that we accurately portray and define true love. The Bible says that God is love. God does not merely have love or feel love, He is love - love is the very nature of His character.
Everything that God says or does is motivated by true love. If the saints do not accurately define Godís love the devil will present a corrupted version which will deceive people. Godís love not accurately defined will produce an idol.
Letís take a moment to show what love is not. Love does not rejoice in sin or deception. Love does not withhold correction or discipline. Love does not break Godís Commandments. Love does not tolerate sin in the Church body.
Love is patient and kind. Love forgives - and does not hold on to a wrong suffered. The Bible actually defines love - you might be surprised by this truth. "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His Commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments; and His Commandments are not a burden to us." 1 John 5:2-3
Most Christians think of Law and love as very different things, but the Bible says they are the same - as we just read, "love is keeping the Commandments." Jesus often told His disciples that if they loved Him they would keep His Commandments.
When God destroyed the world with the flood He was motivated by love. The Flood story is a love story. God saw that manís thoughts were continually evil and the earth was filled with violence. It broke Godís heart when He realized that He must destroy them if they refused to change - "I am grieved in My heart, and am sorry that I have made man."
A just God could not allow the world to continue in such a state. Noah preached a plea of repentance for 120 years yet no one received the message that would save them. This was Godís love defined.