For God so loved the
world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The New Commandment
Jesus said that he did
not come to destroy the Old Testament (the law and the
prophets), but came to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). The most
important commandments are to love God and to love your
neighbor as yourself. He not only stressed the continuing
validity of these principles, but also added a new dimension
to them. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, he stressed the
point that "neighbor" means all people, regardless of race,
creed, or nationality (Luke 10:25-37). His new commandment is
"That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also
love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my
disciples" (John 13:34). He also stressed that love is action,
saying, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in
heaven" (Matt. 5:16 ).
The Gospels show
Jesus' conception of love in action. He is the good shepherd
who knows and cares for his sheep, even laying down his life
for them. He healed all who came to him; he had compassion for
the lost and the burdened. He came to befriend and save
sinners (Lk. 5:32; 7:34); to bring salvation to the world; to
offer himself as the last sacrifice for the sins of all (Matt.
20:28; Rom 5:6; Heb. 9:27-28; Heb. 10:12-14). This kind of
love is necessary, for he who does not love in this deeper
sense does not know God, for God is love (I John 4:8). Love is
the greatest gift. It endureth all things; it never fails (I
concern for humankind. All religions have some idea of the
importance of love. Christian theology stresses the importance
of love because God has revealed that he is love (I John 4:8,
16). Love is both what God is and what he has done; God always
acts in love.
Love is a transitive
reality--that is, it requires an object. In the Bible, love is
described as personal (between persons) and selfless (desiring
the best for others). Christians see God's love in sending his
Son to die on the cross to save sinners (Rom. 5:8; John 3:16;
I John 4:10).
Christians are to be
known by the fact that they love God and others (John
13:34-35). Their love is not to be like the love the world has
(Luke 6:32, 35). Love is best seen in actions and in most
cases is to be identified with what we do--in our compassion
and commitment to those around us, attitudes and behavior are
to reflect God's love. Jesus said that only two commands are
needed to govern our lives: love of God and love of neighbor.
If such love is demonstrated, all the law and prophets are
But I say unto you
which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the
[one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy
cloke forbid not [to take thy] coat also. Give to every man
that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask
[them] not again. And as ye would that men should do to you,
do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love
you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love
them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what
thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye
lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye?
for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for
nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be
the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the
unthankful and [to] the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as
your Father also is merciful.
And he answering said,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with
all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy
mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Ye have heard that it
hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine
enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them
which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be
the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh
his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain
on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love
you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than
others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore
perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
I John 2:15-17
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 is of
the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Set me as a seal upon
thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love [is] strong as
death; jealousy [is] cruel as the grave: the coals thereof
[are] coals of fire, [which hath a] most vehement flame. Many
waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if
[a] man would give all the substance of his house for love, it
would utterly be contemned.
II Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given
us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a
Be ye therefore
followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as
Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an
offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling saviour
For, brethren, ye have
been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an
occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
My little children,
let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in