Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:7-10)
All You Need Is Love
One of the first emotions experienced by a child is the love of a parent. This brings about an approval desired throughout life to be accepted by others and to feel a bond of companionship leading to familial relationships with one another. Friendship comes from the germ of love shared by two people. Marriage is predicated on some level of love that binds two hearts together. A deeper kind of emotional bonding is learned when a person accepts the idea of God giving His only begotten Son to die for them. Accepting the Biblical story of God’s love is paramount to having a spiritual relationship with the Creator and to share that brotherhood with men. Religion is produced from the convictions of the heart that seek a higher power to guide their lives and mold their character towards a common goal. As in human relationships, love is the basis for the manifestation of how a person interacts with his Maker. For many people, love is the key element that seems to shroud the mystery of salvation with a garment of grace with an acceptance of all peoples who will love God and love one another. A familiar theme in this type of communal religion is the expression, “All you need is love.” Love based upon full acceptance of others removes judgments, characterization, and condemn the actions or lifestyles of others. Generalizing love as the only thing needed in a relationship suggests there can be no disagreements or contrary doctrines. On the surface this seems like the answer to war, poverty, hatred, prejudice, and disharmony in the world. What is not seen is the impossibility of humanistic values guiding the heart to have harmony with others simply based on love. What one person defines as love may not be what another deems viable as love. If the only thing a person needs is love, what happens with the conference ends and life goes back to normal? How can the world function in a Woodstock environment of free love and acceptance without consequences? The answer is that love is not the only thing needed for the completeness of man.
God loved the world so much He gave His only begotten Son. Clearly, love was not all God needed for man because He gave the most incredible gift man will come to know when the Son of God died on the cross. Defining love by the sacrifice of Jesus is showing what love means. Trying to define the word love cannot be done with words alone. The true sense of love is an expression of the heart towards the object of that love. Suggesting the only thing needed in religion is love decries the very message of the Bible. Proponents of love alone salvation fail to appreciate what the Lord said about the character of love. Jesus reminded His disciples that if they loved Him they would keep His commandments. With the shadow of the cross hours away, Jesus tells His followers that commandment keepers are those who love Him and when those who profess His name keep His commandments, He will love them and abide in them. Love is based upon doing the will of the Father. Many people believe that as long as they say they love God that He is pleased with them. Love is not found in saying one loves or believes in God but rather there must be evidence of that love. The apostle John describes a child of God as one who loves God and keeps His commandments. There can be no separation between the two. The love of God is seen when men keep His commandments and John reminds the saints the commandments of God are not burdensome. Love is found in walking according to the commands of God. Without doing the will of the Father there can be no hope of salvation. Jesus did not die to make His follower’s commandment keepers but to show by His love that obedience must be learned by the expression of love. The example of Jesus shows that love was not enough. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus loved His Father more than any man could understand and the Lord expressed that love to His Father. However, His love was tempered by the knowledge that He must do what His Father desired Him to do. Jesus begged His Father if there was another way, but the Son of God had to obey the command of the Father and in so doing expressed His love for the Father.
The Bible is a testimony of the love of God found from the beginning of Genesis to the final pages of the Revelation. Jesus Christ is the center of that message in His love for humankind and the expression of that love on the cross. When a man loves God he is born of God and knows God. Without that love man cannot see the Father. No greater meaning of love can be found than God sending His Son to die for the miserable creature of man who was undeserving, unworthy and unreceptive to the grace of his Creator. And God still sent His Son because of His love. It is certain that God is love and for man love is not all he needs to find salvation. The Lord has done His part in bestowing grace and mercy to all sinners. All men must love God and accept the invitation of the eternal to be saved. Love bends the heart of humankind to learn about the Father and to seek His will in their life. Love without keeping the commandments of God is not love but futility. Salvation cannot come from love alone. It can only come from doing the will of the Father from a heart of love. Saying one loves God will not save a man because Jesus said salvation comes from doing the will of the Father. If you love God – obey Him.