Christian Theology, Biblical Theology

"You are no longer under law but grace; therefore, sin shall not have dominion over you" "The grace of God has appeared teaching men to say no to sin"

Definition of Biblical Love

Definition of Biblical Love. 1 John 5:3 "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome". How difficult is it to not steal, not lie, not fornicate? Maybe this is difficult if you are slothful and don't wish to give up bad habits!

We all have our own definitions of love; there is romantic love (Eros) and brotherly love (Phileo) and an enduring love that hopes the best, and highest for all men - including one's enemies (Agape love). God commands us to love all men - not to like all men. Let's call this a benevolent love. By the way neither the term nor concept of unconditional love appears in the bible. The only type of love that even approaches unconditional love is God's benevolent love for mankind which does not entail His loving each and every individual. God so desires that all men come to repentance and a knowledge of the truth. But this does not say that God loves each and every person. Could you imagine God loving Hitler as he was burning 6 million Jews? Or when God gave up on Pharaoh and finished him off by hardening his heart?

What God is saying in this agape or benevolent love is to desire the highest and best for all men; which is for them to love God supremely and love their neighbor as themselves, culminating in salvation and life in heaven. But making it to heaven has a 2 conditions viz. repentance from sin and faith in Christ. And these 2 conditions preclude the notion of God's love being unconditional. Paul said the whole law and the prophets rests on these two principles. Let's put aside what each of us thinks love is and see what God says; since ultimately His opinion is the only one that matters. Left up to us none of us would ever send anyone to hell, none of us would ever want to condemn a man to death by execution - but we are not God. 

1. How did Jesus and others in the bible define love? 
2. Jesus said in John 14:21 “If you love Me you will keep my commands”.
3. 1 John 2:3 “By this we know that we love Him if we keep His commands, the one who says I know Him and doesn’t keep His commands is a liar. The one who keeps His commands, the love of God has been perfected.”.
4. Now that we know what love is we are to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.
5. We love God by keeping His commands and our neighbor by exhorting them to keep God's commandments.
6. The bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Machiavelli wrote in the "Prince" 'Is it better for the leader to be feared or loved?'. Can you love your leader without first fearing him?
7. Jesus wrote about the Father: "Fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell" Jesus wasn't talking about mere respect.
8. The Apostle Paul wrote "Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men".
9. This is why Jesus and the apostles preached repentance; because repentance entails following God's commandments; repentance entails preaching Love.
10. Contrary to popular belief, the world did not love Jesus it hated Him. Jesus said "The world hates Me because I testify that its deeds are wicked". This is the message of love viz. to warn sinners of the impending doom if they don't repent and trust Christ.

What most students want to hear from us is anything but this biblical love. They want to hear some sort of message styled by man under the name of grace which allows men to do as they please because God loves them without condition…This is not love but rather selfishness because it seeks to increase the pleasing of one's self versus God. Christ spoke maybe 9 times on love and 140 times on repentance, judgment, and hell. The word love doesn't appear in the book of Acts; yet we know the apostles loved men enough to give their lives so that men could hear the message of truth. Truth is never popular since in large most people are not living according to the truth of God and don't want their lives to be compared to God's standards. Remember the bible teaches us that open rebuke is better than secret love. If you love your neighbor you will rebuke him for his own good.

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