God demonstrated His unsurpassing love for mankind by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.16,17 In turn, Christ showed his love for mankind by being obedient to God's will and accepting death on a cross-even though He was innocent and committed no sin.18 This outpouring of love is further completed when we, in turn, show our love for God by loving Jesus19 and following His commands.20,21
Given God's emphasis on love, it is not surprising that Jesus proclaimed that the second greatest commandment ever given was to "love your neighbor as yourself."22 This means that Christ wants us to love one another, just as He loved us.23 In the same manner, we are to treat others just as we would like to be treated.24
Our love for others is to be genuine; we are to love one another "deeply, from the heart."25 When we do this, it is evidence that God lives in us and His love has been made complete in us.26
People will know that we are Christ's disciples when we show love to one another.27 We show our love for Jesus by serving others.28 If we say that we love God but hate our fellow man, then the Bible says we are liars.29 Anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.29 Therefore, God gives us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother.30
Our love for others is not to be limited to the people who "love us back." We are to love everyone, including our enemies and those who persecute us.31
Above all, the greatest expression of our love for others would be to lay down our life for our friends.34 This is exactly what Jesus did for all of mankind.35
In the final analysis, the Bible tells us that the only thing that really counts in this life is faith expressing itself through love.37 No matter what, we are never to let go of love and faith; we are to write them on the "tablets of our hearts."38 We are to be imitators of God and live a life of love.39 We are to remain in Christ's love until he returns again to take us into paradise and eternal life.40,41
Paul's Description of Love
(Based on: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
- Love is patient. Be patient with everyone,42 bearing with one another in love.43 A man's wisdom44 and under-standing45 give him patience.
- Love is kind. Shower each other with kindness and compassion.46 Be warmhearted, considerate, and sympathetic. Kindness is one of the "fruits of the Spirit" and evidence that we are Spirit-filled.47
- Love does not envy. Don't be jealous or envious of the blessings bestowed on other people,48,49 or envious of other people's skills or talents.50 A heart at peace gives life, but envy "rots the bones."51
- Love does not boast. Don't brag or boast about yourself to others. All such behavior is eviland does not encourage love.52 Boast only about the Lord53 and what He has done for you.54
- Love is not proud. Pride only breeds quarrels.55 The Lord detests the proud of heart.56 Honor one another above your-self 57,58 and clothe yourself with humility.59
- Love is not rude. Try to be polite, courteous, considerae,60,61 and well-mannered. Don't be rude or crude. Let your gentleness be evident to all.62
- Love is not self-seeking. Don't focus on what you can get out of the relationship (what's in it for you), but focus on what you can give to the relationship. Self-seeking people can provoke God's wrath and anger.63
- Love is not easily angered. Try to stay calm, and don't be quickly provoked into anger.64 Anger stirs up disagreements and fights, and a hot-tempered man commits many sins.65 Make every effort to live at peace with everyone.66
- Love keeps no record of wrongs. Don't keep bringing up past hurts or offenses. Forgive one another, just as in Christ, God forgave you.67 No matter how many times you are hurt, if the person repents, keep on forgiving.68
- Love does not delight in evil. Don't take delight in hurting others, or being mean or abusive, or otherwise sinful. Turn from evil and do good instead.69
- Love rejoices in the truth. Don't tell lies70 or deceive.71 God detests those who tell lies, but delights in those who are truthful.72
- Love always protects. Protect others from harm and keep them safe, just as God protects those He loves.73,74 He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.75 Show your love for others by protecting them from harm.
- Love always trusts. Build trust in your relationships. Keep your word. Follow through. Be loving. Be reasonable and predictable. Don't lose control or be abusive or aggressive. Trust in God and do good.76
- Love always hopes. Don't give up hope, no matter what difficulties you may be having in your relationship.77 Keep positive and optimistic.78 God is a God of miracles; nothing is impossible with God.79 If you feel hopeless, try putting your hope in God.80
- Love always perseveres. Be persistent in your love for others. Don't give up on them or be discouraged.
- Love never fails. Even though you may experience difficulties along the road, loving another person always succeeds in the end. Your efforts will always bear fruit. Do everything in love.81
As we set about loving one another, rest assured that no matter what happens in life, those who believe in God will never be alone and will never be separated from God's love. The apostle Paul etched these sentiments into the history of mankind with these incredible words of assurance from Romans 8:38-39:
"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."
God is love.
(1 John 4:16)1
Love comes from God.
(1 John 4:10)2
We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:19)3
The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving
toward all he has made.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
How priceless is your unfailing love!
I [the Lord] have loved you with an
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34)8
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your strength.
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'"
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
Spread your protection over them, that those who love
your name may rejoice in you.
I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
Everyone who loves has been born of God
and knows God.
(1 John 4:7)14
Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love.
(1 John 4:8)15
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and
sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 4:10)16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.
He suffered death, so that by the grace of God
he might taste death for everyone.
He who loves me [Jesus] will be loved by my Father,
and I too will love him and show myself to him.
If you love me [Jesus] you will obey what I command.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them,
he is the one who loves me.
The second [greatest commandment] is this:
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
There is no commandment greater than these.
My command is this: Love each other
as I have loved you.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them
do to you, for this sums up the Law of the Prophets.
Love one another deeply, from the heart.
(1 Peter 1:22)25
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
(1 John 4:12)26
By this all men will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.
Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar.
For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen,
cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
(1 John 4:20)29
And he has given us this command:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
(1 John 4:21)30
You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and
hate your enemy." But I tell you: Love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be
sons of your Father in heaven.
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not
worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter
more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does
not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one
and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and
despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down
his life for the sheep.
The only thing that counts
is faith expressing itself through love.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around
your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
Be imitators of God, therefore, dearly loved children and
live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself
up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
Now remain in my love.
Keep yourself in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our
Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle,
encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
(1 Thessalonians 5:14)42