There can be no doubt that God loves us. After all, the Bible says God is love. No matter where you find yourself at this moment, even if maybe you don’t feel it, you can rest assured that God loves you. More than you can imagine. And if you want to explore this love that God has for you further, please read our previous blog on the subject:
In this blog, however, we’re going to look at things from a slightly different perspective. Here we will accept that Jesus loves us (and teaches us to love others) as a given; so as Paul Harvey used to say, we’re going to look at the rest of the story. The Bible clearly teaches us that we should not “just pretend to love others” but to “really love them.” (Romans 12:9) But just how do we do that? How do we show true love?
In the world today it is not uncommon to hear someone say something along the lines of “Jesus is all about love and tolerance”. And when they say such a thing, what they are usually trying to convey is that true love is defined as accepting a person living in one sin or another just as they are without ever addressing the sin itself. But this position is only partially correct; yes we should treat all people with love, right where they are. After all, even if they disagree with us, Jesus did tell us we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). To the extent possible, we should show love to everyone, regardless of their present condition or spiritual state. But that is not the whole story.
You see, loving someone often means telling them the truth. So, if someone is, for example, caught in sexual sin, the loving thing is to tell them the truth. In fact, to tell them it is OK, to encourage them to remain in their sin, is actually damaging and unloving. Why? Because you may actually be preventing them from turning from their sin and receiving the eternal life that Jesus promises those who repent of their sins. The Bible says “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 6:9a)
Jesus came to Earth to live and die for us so that our sins would be forgiven; and to rise from the grave that we could have eternal life. So if we do not call out sin for what it is, and then encourage the sinner to repent and accept the grace of Jesus, we are robbing them of the very loving act that Jesus performed for them. Yes, we are very possibly keeping them from eternal life! So while some may decry that we are being hateful for not accepting others in their sin, in reality, we are being most loving when we tell them the truth!
Of course, we tell them in a loving and caring way. The Bible says: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1, CSB) So the loving thing, the Christ-like thing, is to gently point people to the truth of God’s Word, to encourage them they can change, they can escape the sin in which they are trapped, and to tell them what Jesus has done so they can be forgiven and have eternal life. And all the while, as we share this love of Christ, we are careful that we don’t fall into sin ourselves (for that is a real possibility!).
You can think of it this way: is it more loving to give an alcoholic another bottle or to speak the truth about their condition and point he or she to the nearest recovery center? Paul taught the Corinthian church, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:20) Jesus, himself, showed his love by pointing out our need to turn from our sins: “From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
God is very patient with us. But his patience and kindness has a purpose: “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4) He did not come to Earth to accept us in our sins as some would have you think, rather, he came to die for us that we might be forgiven of our sins: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) So, Jesus called us to repent from our sins that he might show his love to us by forgiving us.
Therefore, the most loving thing we can do, and the way to show true love to one who is caught up in sin, is to share the Gospel with them. We tell them that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23) and that they should “Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
To learn more about becoming a Christian, or if you just have questions, please check out KnowGod.org.
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