BIBLICAL VIEW OF LOVE
By Russ Bellinis
The world defines love as a feeling or emotion. The problem with this definition is that feelings and emotions are changeable. How many Christian marriages end because people fall “in and out” of love? Would you believe that the concept of “falling in love” is foreign to the Bible?
John 3:16 is most likely one of the best known and best loved verses in the Bible. God did not have “mushy feelings” for the World. “Love” in this verse is a verb. God loved the world, so He did something about it. He gave His only begotten Son.
In (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) Moses repeats the 10 commandments. Again, love is a verb, it was something that Israel was commanded to do.
(John 4:10) says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but He loved us and sent is Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The first instance of the use of “love” in this verse it is a noun, the other two times it is used it is a verb. By the way the meaning of “propitiation” is “appeasement” or “satisfaction.” In Isaiah 53:11 “Out of the anguish of His (Jesus) soul He (God) shall see and be satisfied (propitiation).” The sacrifice of Jesus satisfied the demands of God’s justice to pay the penalty for our sins.
Probably the most exhaustive passage in the Bible defining love is (( (1 Cor. 13:1-8, 13). This passage focuses on what love does rather than a specific definition of love. Love can be recognized by its behavior.
The Way of Love
In (1 Cor. 13:1-3) Paul makes it plain that love is indispensible to the Christian life. It doesn’t matter what we do, if it is done without love, it is worthless. Notice that Paul speaks of doing the supernatural; if you will miraculous things, or even a supreme sacrifice, yet if done without love, there is no value to anyone.
In verses (1 Cor. 13: 4-7) we see the defining marks of love. It is defined by a list of “do’s” & “don’ts.” First of all, love is characterized by being patient and kind. The unbeliever is at a disadvantage in trying to love in that the sin nature gets in the way, and often makes demonstrating the characteristics of love impossible. Even the believer sometimes will have problems demonstrating patience and kindness because we still have problems with sin. Depending on one’s temperament, a person may have some patience and kindness naturally, but without the indwelling Holy Spirit, the level will fall well short of what God expects of us.
We then see at the end of (1 Cor. 13: 4-6a) all of the things that are the opposite of patience and kindness. If you are a believer and you find yourself doing these things, (1 John 1:9) tells us “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For the unbeliever, the only solution is to be born again by believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Sin is not a “little thing.” It cost the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and there is no other effective way to deal with the problem of sin.
Notice that love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant, or rude. It is not irritable or resentful, and does not rejoice in wrongdoing––ever. These things are all evidence of sin, and not a part of love.
Love rejoices in the truth. This is speaking of Biblical truth. We live in an age where everything is considered relative, and truth is no longer considered absolute. The Bible makes it plain that there is absolute truth, and that which is not the truth is a lie.
What does the Biblical definition of love have to do with marriage? In April of 1973, I married my wife, Lorraine. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on April 21, 2013. We have experienced a lot in 40 + years of living together. I was not always the perfect, caring husband that I should have been, and sometimes I still fall short of what I should be as a husband. However, my love for Lorraine is not based on feelings or emotion. My love for Lorraine is based on the commitment that I made to love her when we exchanged our marriage vows. Feelings or emotion are the result of me practicing love for my wife as Paul taught in (1 Corinthians 13) moment-by-moment, day-by-day for the past 40 years. My love for her is unconditional, and does not have anything to do with her attitude toward me. Thankfully, her love for me is evidence that she has the same view of Biblical love that I do.
For the Christian, we have a hope that is found in the promises of God. We have faith that causes us to look to God. (Hebrews 11:1) tells us that faith is the promise of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Right now in this life I have a hope of heaven based on the promises of God concerning those who believe in the salvation that He has given in Jesus Christ. I have faith that God will keep His promises to me and take me to heaven when this life is over. When I get to heaven, I will see Jesus face to face, and I will experience the fulfillment of all of His promises. In heaven I will no longer need faith or hope, instead I will have sight and experience of everything He has promised. I will still have a love for my savior and lord that will last throughout eternity. Love never ends!
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