Love And Truth

Probably the most well-known attribute of God is His love, and rightly so. The Bible tells us that God “so loved” the world He sent Jesus to die so that we could be saved (John 3:16). Many people know the Scripture “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and that’s absolutely true, but that is not all that He is and there is so much more to His love than our natural minds can understand. Paul prayed for the Ephesian church that they would know the love of God that “surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:18). That essentially means that His love can’t be fully known, but it’s worth it to spend our whole lives seeking to know that love more deeply.

Love, in general, is one of the most overused and least understood things in the world today. People talk about love all the time—often in an effort to promote tolerance—but the reality is there is a famine of love like there never has been before. See, love already is and it can’t be redefined. Any love in the world exists only because of the goodness of God. Romans 5:8 says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 John 4:18 tells us, “We can only love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:18). All love comes from Him. Without His love and His Spirit active in the world today, there would be no love even among unbelievers, because there would be no light! However, we need to understand that God’s love may not always be what we think it is. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us some very powerful things that about love:

  • Love is patient.
  • Love is kind.
  • Love does not envy.
  • Love does not boast.
  • Love isn’t arrogant.
  • Love doesn’t insist on its own way.
  • Love isn’t irritable.
  • Love isn’t resentful.
  • Love rejoices with the truth.
  • Love bears all things
  • Love believes all things
  • Love hopes all things
  • Love endures all things.
  • Love never ends.
  • Faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of those is love.

Now, that is a powerful list. If you think you’re acting in love, but any one of those things is not at work, then it’s not pure love. If you think you’re acting in love but there is pride, then it’s not pure love. If you think you’re acting in love, but it’s not kind, then it’s not pure love. If you think you’re acting in love but there’s resentment, then it’s not pure love. Love mixed with selfishness, fear, pain, or anything carnal loses its purity.

I believe one of the greatest problems in our society is that people have experienced a twisted version of love—something called “love” that’s mixed with the world and actually isn’t love at all. So, when they hear that “God is love,” they actually have no reference for understanding what that means. One of the pieces of love that is glaringly missing from today’s “love” is truth and we see all throughout the Scripture that love cannot be separated from truth. In 1 Corinthians 13, we see that love “rejoices with truth” and not with wrongdoing. God is love, but God is also the highest truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the Word of God made flesh. If you think about it that way 1 John 3:16 tells us, God so loved the world, He sent the Truth, so that whoever believes in Him would not perish. God’s truth, even when we don’t necessarily like it, is a demonstration of His love. Let’s look at a few Scriptures along these lines:

“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” (2 John 1:3)

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 1:18)

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

We are saved by grace, because God loves us, but we cannot come into a knowledge of that saving grace without truth. The Bible tells us that there will be people who will not be saved, not because God doesn’t love them, but because they “refused to love the truth” (2 Thes. 2:10). Love cannot be separated from truth. The Word of God is truth, and it’s embodied in Jesus. Even when it’s hard, we can choose to love the truth and be saved.

The greatest picture of God’s love is His heart as a Father. So often, people want to experience the feeling of “love,” but they don’t want the sting of being told something they’re doing is wrong. This is why there is a famine of love today. There is a generation promoting love like never before, actually knowing nothing of it. Acceptance without truth isn’t love and it will never satisfy the ache of the human heart. There is a famine of love because pure love—love that fills you and sets you free—is found only in Him. Hebrews 12:7-8;11 tells us,

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons…For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Good fathers tell their children the truth not to harm them, but because they love them. God is the greatest Father there is and His correction is always to love and heal, not condemn. His desire is that everyone would love the truth and so be saved. He sent the Truth to live and die so that He could set us free. Love isn’t a feeling. It’s the demonstration of who God is and there is no real love apart from Him. If you receive the discipline of God, remember, that’s His love. He disciplines us to keep us safe. He tells us the truth because He wants to bless us. He convicts us of sin because it will destroy us. Any time we receive the truth of God, it will lead to His blessing and goodness, because that’s who He is! I want to encourage you this week to receive that love like you never have before, in truth, because there is truly nothing greater in all the world!

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