1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
What is love? If we recognize that we live in a fallen depraved world, we are not going to go to that world to get the answer to this question, but to God’s infallible Word. So what is the God-breathed definition of love?
Now that definition is not what you typically hear the world using for love. And yet sometimes the world does hit on some of these true aspects of what love is. In fact, those who do not accept the Bible as God’s Word will use 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 when it comes to love because they can see that it is undeniable truth about love. But the devastating question after the question of “what is love?” is this: “Once I know what true love is, how can I be loving all the time?” And an equally penetrating question is this: “What does it mean if I am not loving all the time like this?” We can even take the implications of that question a step further: “Who can rectify my lack of love toward others?” The disturbing reality about identifying the true nature of love is to recognize that we each fall short of that standard and to recognize that such a standard of love is not an abstract eternal principle unconnected to our Creator God.
So what is the Bible’s solution for sinners like us who fail to live up to God’s revealed standard of love toward others? Jesus, the God-Man. Read back through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and you will see a description of love that Jesus, during His earthly ministry and life, perfectly exhibited as the God-Man. So what is true love? Christ-like love. How can we be loving all the time? Only if we are empowered by the One who loved perfectly. What does it mean if we are not loving all the time like this? That we are sinners before God. Who can rectify our lack of love toward others? Jesus, the One who lived a perfectly loving life in our place and who also died in our place for our horribly unloving life. He did so that we might be cleansed before God and enabled to truly love God and others. To love like we ought is to be like we ought before God and others. Jesus came to live, die, and rise again for us that we might positionally be like we ought in Him before God and that He might transform us to practically be what we ought to be in our lives: Lovers of God and others. Being people who truly love is a tall order, but we have a glorious Savior. By faith we can act out our union with our Savior Jesus today…this week…in our lives. He is the perfectly loving One who lived, died, and rose again, and now stands in God’s presence in our place enabling us to live this life of love.