Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The nature of love I

The love of God
If it’s so important, what then is love?

We use the word ‘love’ in many different ways. Like the word ‘god’, it can mean so many things that it is often necessary to ask ‘which kind of love are you talking about?’

In Holy Scripture, love is often described with reference to Jesus’ death: We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another (1 John 3.16); 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); But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5.8). Jesus himself said No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15.13).

If you know anything about Christ, it will be no surprise to hear that Jesus’ death for us is the preeminent example of love. If this is news to you, or if it makes no sense, then there are riches ahead for you in your spiritual journey. All our love is a response to God’s love in Christ: we love because he first loved us (1 John 4.19). God’s love is the model, the example from which we learn how to love, but it is also the foundation upon which we can build our love, the reason it is safe to make ourselves vulnerable in love, the hope that guarantees that no act of love is in vain.

But what is this love like? What kind of love are we talking about? What kind of love can make a something out of nothing? (more to come)