1 Corinthians 16.13-14
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
Here the final five essentials of love taught in scripture:
6. God not only loves us, he also loves righteousness.
In his desire to love us, the Lord will not compromise his love for righteousness. “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord” (Psalm 33.5). The power and wonder of the cross is that it satisfies both God’s love for righteousness (the cross executes justice) and God’s love for us (the cross offers grace). “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5.21).
7. Authentic love is guided by knowledge and wisdom.
The Lord wants love that is informed, wise, and discerning. Love that is untethered from truth is a very dangerous thing, because it is love driven by feelings, and it lacks discernment. Undisciplined affection is impetuous and inconsistent. It is capricious and easily manipulated. Philippians 1.9: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.”
8. Love is not the same as approval.
Because the Lord loves us and also loves righteousness, he disapproves of our behavior when we disobey him. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love us; it does mean he is disappointed when our actions do not align with his commands. It is precisely because he loves us that he does not approve of wrong actions. Assuming you are operating from the right standards, love should motivate you to disapprove of inappropriate behavior … first yours, then others.
Nor is love the same as trust. God designed love to be a gift that is freely given. He designed trust to be a privilege that should always be earned. We must be careful not to reverse the two. Do not give away your trust, and do not make people earn your love.
9. Authentic love takes action.
It seeks to serve, not to be served. It is easy to say “I love you.” It is not as easy to actually love people, especially when it requires sacrifice. Modern culture has reduced love to a mostly subjective and easily manipulated feeling. The truth is that love is something you do, not always something you feel. As we have said, true love is selfless commitment, and that means love that gives sacrificially. “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3.17-18).
10. There is a love that God hates.
The fallen world wants your allegiance and commitment. It wants your attention and affection. It wants you to believe and behave according to its standards. So you must choose to whom you will give allegiance: the Lord and his standards, or the fallen world and its standards. You cannot have both.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2.15-16).
In the kingdom of God, love is pre-eminent. We must get it right. We pay a terrible price if we get it wrong.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13.1-3)
The Lord is calling,