Above All, Love Each Other

February 17, 2019
When we are tempted to withhold our love and let hatred prevail, we need to remember that God is love. The apostle John beautifully presented this truth saying, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). It is in the manner that we love others that we are known as believers. This love that we share with others is not from us but from God. The apostle John further magnified this, saying, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
 
And because God loves us, we ought to love one another. In his epistle, the apostle Peter said, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Of the many things that we can do to others, our priority should be to love them. Yes, we should do everything in the name of love.
 
For us to be able to love the way God loves us, we need to understand what God’s love is. Otherwise, we might be led to believe that we love our brothers and sisters, yet we do not. Some of the characteristics of God’s love are as follows:
 
God’s love is sacrificial. The apostle John said, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). The price of our salvation is enormous to God. He had to give up his only begotten Son so that through him we can be forgiven of our sins. God did this in the name of love and nothing else. God’s sacrificial love is also known as agape love.
 
God’s love is unconditional. His providential love is unconditional, for it covers us all. He sends rain to both the righteous and unrighteous (Matt. 5:45). Out of his love, his offer of salvation is also unconditional. It is offered to anyone regardless of their status in life. The apostle Paul said, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). However, when it comes to his saving love, it is conditional. This was presented clearly in John 3:16 when Jesus said that only those who will believe will be saved. Also, the apostle James said that God will only draw near to those who will draw near to him (James 4:8). Indeed, God had set conditions for someone to be saved. He expects us to repent of our sins and to turn away from them. He also expects us to obey his commands; failure to do so will imperil our salvation.
 
God’s love never fails. God is able to fully manifest his love because it endures forever (Psalm 136:1). The apostle Paul said, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:37-38).
 
God’s love is sincere. When God said that he loves us, he meant it. Unlike us, God will never lie, nor will he make promises that he will not fulfil. Even the Lord Jesus himself had said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). At the appointed time, Jesus yielded his life to the Father and died for the remission of our sins. He willingly paid the price for our sins out of his sincere love.
 
God’s love is forgiving. It is on account of his love that we are forgiven, and when he forgives, he forgets. King David said, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11-12). And the Lord said further, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12).
 
Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). With this command, we ought to love one another deeply above all else. And we can only do so if we love the Lord more. Just as sin separates us from the Lord, sin also separates us from one another. As the Lord forgives us our sins, let our love for one another move us to also forgive others. The apostle Paul summed it up saying, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Col. 3:13-14). Hallelujah!