The scriptures have much to say about love. This short work is not designed to exhaust the study, nor will it. Herein will be found two aspects of love. God’s word teaches hearers to love and not to love. An honest study will show that there is no contradiction between these two thoughts.
First, God declares in His word the need to love. Jesus in answering a lawyer (Matthew 22:35, 36), said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Verse 37). Luke 10:27 adds, “and with all thy strength.” The idea is that one should love God supremely and totally. This was taken from the law God gave in Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 30:6. The Psalmist declared, “I will love thee , O Lord, my strength.” (Psalm 18:1; Comp. 116:1). One logically inquires why this love should be given. The answers are many and simple. Briefly and simply, “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).We love God because He “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:….” (1 John 3:1; Cf. Galatians 3:26, 27). Such love acts like a magnet, drawing one to love Him.
Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34). The Lord declared, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.” (John 9:4). Jesus successfully did that work, declaring on the cross, “It is finished.” (John 19:30). In keeping with God’s wishes and love, “Christ died for us”, shedding His precious blood, enabling us to be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:8-10; 1 Peter 1:19). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). How could one who understands and believes this not return that love? Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). In John 15:14, Jesus said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
Upon finishing His work upon earth, Jesus ascended back to the Father in heaven. (Acts 1:9-11; John 20:17). The Spirit of truth, Holy Spirit, then came, declaring what He heard of the Father, guiding them “into all truth.” (John 16:13; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Peter 1:3). We need to love the Holy Spirit for His faithful following of God, giving us the written word.
In addition to returning the love of the godhead (Colossians 2:9), we, like those of old, should declare, “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97). Job said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12). Psalm 119 says, “I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love” (Verse 113), “Therefore I love thy testimonies” (Verse 119), “I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold” (Verse 127), “I love thy precepts” (Verse 159), and so on. A serious study of God’s word will cause us to love the Book. May we speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15).
God’s people are to love their neighbors as themselves, and their enemies. (Matthew 5:43-48). Paul wrote, “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 3:18). 1 Peter 2:17 declares, “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” If one can please God, omitting one of these, all can be left out. Jesus pointedly and simply said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.” (John 13:35). One’s love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Love is to be without dissimulation, that is, sincere, not hypocritical. (Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 8:8). Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Solomon called upon all to get, listen to, remain with, exalt, embrace, and love wisdom, and receive the benefits of her. (Proverbs 4:5-10).
Second, Solomon wrote, “To every thing there is a season,…a time to love, and a time to hate;….” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8). It has been established herein that one is to love everyone. Christ even died for His enemies. (Romans 5:8, 10). He loves everyone, and He sent His apostles to every creature in every nation to preach the gospel to save them (Mark 16:15, 16; Matthew 28:18-20), whomever they may be. (Romans 1:13-16; Galatians 3:28). The first century church did what Jesus commanded. (Colossians 1:23).
While we are to be full of love for the things mentioned prior, there are some things God’s people should hate. For example, Psalm 97:10 says, “I hate evil.” Every child of God should hate the sins of Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:18-32; and all other sin. Psalm 119:113 teaches us to “hate vain thoughts.” “A righteous man hateth lying.” (Proverbs 13:5). Psalm 101:3 declares, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave unto me.” Read this entire chapter. Psalm 119:104 and 128 say, “I hate every false way.” Jesus had John to tell the churches of Ephesus and Pergamos that He hated the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. (Revelation 2:1, 6, 12, 15). God said of Jesus, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” (Hebrews 1:9). Jesus showed that He detested sin, when He “cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.” (Matthew 21:12, 13). How Paul loathed the perverted, troublesome, so-called gospel that had been preached to the churches of Galatia. (Galatians 1:1, 2, 6-9). We love people, but we must hate any and all sin committed from whomever, whether friend or foe, family, or any other.
Beloved, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2:15-17). Jesus resisted each of these temptations. (Matthew 4:1-11). Each child of God should, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Also, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Children of the King are told, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” (Verses 14-16a). These are rhetorical questions. The answer is, NONE! The Holy Spirit moved Paul to tell why this is so. Christians are “the temple of the living God”, and as such, are not to be contaminated by any such union.
Those in Christ cannot hold hands with Him and Belial at the same time. This principle is set forth in Matthew 6:24, where Jesus taught concerning God and finances. Cf. also Romans 6:17, 18, and context. Make the cut from sin lest you become like those of Romans 1:18-32. They knew God, but they retained Him not as God, and look what they became. Hate sin, or learn to hate it. You cannot play with coal or mud without getting it on you.
Memorize Galatians 2:20, and live by it daily as you walk with the King. Learn to love the things that are right, while hating things that will destroy you. Do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Ask the elders to involve and help you in the work of the Lord. Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously and godly. (Titus 2:11, 12). “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks:….”(1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18). Give as prospered. (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 8 and 9; Acts 2:42; 13:38). Do not forsake the assembling. (Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). Teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2, 24). Live pure and undefiled religion. (James 1:27; Galatians 6:10). Study, rightly dividing the word to know how to worship and serve God faithfully. (2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15).