The Contemporary Western Church’s Handling of “God’s Love.”

“Verses like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life,” give abundant proof that the redemption which the Jews thought to monopolize is universal as to space. God so loved the world, not a little portion of it, but the world as a whole, that He gave His only begotten Son for its redemption. And not only the extensity, but the intensity of God’s love is made plain by the little adverb “so,” — God so loved the world, in spite of its wickedness, that He gave His only begotten Son to die for it. But where is the oft-boasted proof of its universality as to individuals?

This verse (John 3:16) is sometimes pressed to such an extreme that God is represented as too loving to punish anybody, and so full of mercy that He will not deal with men according to any rigid standard of justice regardless of their deserts. The attentive reader, by comparing this verse with other Scripture, will see that some restriction is to be placed on the word “world.” One writer has asked, “Did God love Pharaoh? (Romans 9:17). Did He love the Amalekites? (Exodus 17:14). Did He love the Canaanites, whom He commanded to be exterminated without mercy? (Deuteronomy 20:16). Did He love the Ammonites and Moabites whom He commanded not to be received into the congregation forever? (Deuteronomy 23:3). Does He love the workers of iniquity? (Psalm 5:5). Does He love the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, which He endures with much long-suffering? (Romans 9:22). Did He love Esau? (Romans 9:13).”

~ Loraine Boettner

The Great Heresy of the church in the West today is the heresy of the “Love” of God. Countless times, when the character of God is presented people will say, “My God would never be that way,” or, “My God would never do that.” But regardless of who the god of such people is, the God of the Bible is a God who is just and who is angry with the wicked every day and who hates workers of iniquity. The fear of God is absent from people precisely because there is nothing in God, as He is typically represented, over which anyone should have any fear. Why should a god who’s love is the love of a whore be a god whom men should be in awe of? Why should a god who’s love is all sentimental pious gush be a God whom men should honor?

It is the current doctrine of the “Love of God,” that is destroying the Christian faith. Because of this salacious “love of God” doctrine I have read articles recently that speak about the necessity of the Church to rethink accepting Transvestites and Transgender people into the Church as members. Through the invocation of this “love of God” doctrine I’ve read articles that apologize because the early Church adopted a creed that found God damning people for not believing in Him as He reveals Himself in Scripture.

The chanting of John 3:16 and similar type texts, as if they are some kind of Hindu mantras that prove that God is love the way a whore is love has destroyed the Church in the West.

The Lord Christ

The Lord Christ

The Word spoken at Creation
The Captain of His people’s Salvation
The Promised blessings unto the Nations
Our Elder Brother

The Body and Blood as Bread and Wine
Very Man and very Divine
Of Mary’s Seed and David’s line
The Lamb of God

He who would crush the Serpent’s Head
He who would bring life from the Dead
The Warrior who would go on Ahead
The Great High Priest

Giver of Meaning and Quencher of Thirst
New Wine means old wine-skins Burst
The first shall be last and the last shall be first
Our Propitiation and Mercy Seat

A Warrior who demands surrender of all
Adam’s successor, reverse of the fall
Those who come, are those who He calls
The Great High King

We walk now in terms of His Victory
No surrender for those with eyes now to see
His Knowledge shall cover from sea unto sea
His Present Kingdom shall come

Brief Meditations … The Cross of Christ … Maundy Thursday

The Cross is made, simply enough, with a Vertical beam and a horizontal beam. The simplicity of this points us to the reality that the Cross work of Christ was both vertically and horizontally directed. Vertically, Christ died for God that God’s name might be cleared of injustice because He had not, until the Cross of Christ, visited Sin with the full punishment of His wrath that it was promised. Horizontally, Christ died for man that man might find a reconciliation with God that man could have never found without a propitiation that was both very God of very God and very man of very man.

In the Cross God is both Just and Justifier for those who have faith in Jesus.

As most clearly seen in the requirement that the ark of the Covenant would be made from wood, as combined with the reality that it is there on the Mercy Seat of that wooden ark that God would be propitiated it has been a reality that God has ruled from the Wood and that Salvation comes via the Tree. Like the lid of the Ark of the Covenant the Cross is the throne where the glory of God is revealed unto judgment and salvation.

Life and death — Judgment and Salvation — ever comes from the Wood.

Whether in the times of Noah where preservation of life came from a wooden ark, and judgment fell upon those who refused the wood of the ark life comes from the Wood. In the ministry of Moses, it was His wooden staff through which God Redeemed His people. Those who aligned themselves with the wooden staff were saved. Those who sought to gainsay the wooden staff perished. Life ever comes from the Wood.

Life and death — Judgment and Salvation — ever comes from the one who reigns from the Wood.

“Once you think that you behold the wood on which our salvation, the Lord of Majesty, was hanged with nails whilst the world trembled, you, too, must tremble, but you must also rejoice.”

Letters of St. Paulinus of Nola II,
Letter 31, 36:126

The Fall began with eating of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil. Good Friday announces that the Fall has ended for those who partake of the Fruit of the Tree of Redemption — The Cross of Jesus Christ.

O you Sons of Adam, fallen from heavenly status, through the bitter pleasure of the Olden Tree: Come!! See here the true and most revered Tree; hasten to kiss it and to cry out with faith: You are our Help, most revered Cross.

From the Byzantine “Veneration of the Cross” Liturgy

Mocked with a Cross of Thorns, our Lord Christ — whipped so that the bone was exposed, and bruised shoulders the Cross to the place of the skull (Golgotha). With each step upon the via dolorosa, He knew that the pain and agony He was undergoing was only at it’s beginning. He knows the full birth of pain, and agony lies ahead.

The scenario of the Crucifixion, from beginning to end, is a classic example of the Spiritual realities being incarnated into physical demonstration. The real pain and agony that was being incarnated in the pain and agony of the Trial and Crucifixion was the Spiritual pain and agony of being the sin bearer. That sin bearing was a spiritual reality that could not be seen except by those who were taking it all in,not only with, but through their eyes. For those who had eyes to see — and it is questionable whether there were any present — the very real physical pain and agony that the Lord Christ underwent was but the incarnation of the Spiritual pain and agony that found the Son of God being a sin bearer and so abandoned by God.

For those with eyes to see, the very tangible and seen corporeal suffering of the Lord Christ was a window into the very real but unseen incorporeal sufferings of being sin bearer and alienated from the Father.

“Thou, O Sacred Wood are alone in your glory among all other trees; no forest ever yielded its equal in leaf, flower and fruit for the fruit of the Cross is the Salvation of the World.”

A snippet from a Hymn of the Roman Liturgy

“Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the Salvation of the World.”

Part of Early Church Liturgy.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday Reflections

On Maundy Thursday Christ’s utter abandonment begins. First he is abandoned by His disciples as seen in their refusal to pray with Him. Later all 11 disciples will abandon the Lord Christ upon His arrest. Later still, Peter will abandon the Lord Christ in His denial of even knowing Jesus. All of this abandonment will lead to the place where the Son is abandoned by the Father on the Cross.

Our Lord Christ hence cries out … “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” The Lord Christ, as part of His redemptive work suffers alienation and abandonment by all that our alienation from the Father might be ended.

Maundy Thursday begins the Lord Christ’s descent into the Sheol of abandonment that His people might know the favor of the Father.

What Thou, my Lord, has suffered
Was all for sinners’ gain
Mine was the transgression
But Thine the deadly pain

Our Lord Christ prays that this cup would pass.

The cup that he was praying would pass was the cup of woe that He would eventually drain to the bitter dregs. He drinks this cup O Christian that you might drink the cup of weal … a cup of blessing and the peace of God. His was the bitterness tasted for His Church. Ours is the blessing tasted because of His drinking of gall and wormwood.

Should He devote His Head
For such a worm as I?

Our Lord Christ enters into Gethsemane (Olive Press) to be pressed Himself as He prays that the cup might pass. He can find none of his Disciples to persevere with Him in prayer. He is on the cusp of being arrested. Even those who come to arrest Him will fall down and worship Him when He self identifies with the name of Deity, “I am He.”

The Lord Christ was pressed by the Father and in the pressing he was broken and bruised that those who trust in Christ Alone might be delivered from God’s just wrath and certain condemnation against them.

The Lord Christ was pressed by the Father and in the pressing he was broken and bruised that those who trust in Christ Alone might become the righteousness of God in Christ and so should walk in a newness of life that is increasingly consistent with the King’s Law Word.

Our Lord Christ prays while the Disciples sleep. Even after asking them to pray with Him the Disciples slept. The agony of the Lord Christ was so great he sweat as great drops of blood. Physicians say that sweating blood is possible but that the person who does so is nigh unto death. Some scholars have suggested, that when Christ prays, “Let this cup pass,” what he is praying is that He would not die their in Gethsemane before He could accomplish His Cross work where He would die for the Sins of the Elect.

Praise God for so great a Captain of Salvation as our Lord Christ.

Seven Words From The Cross … A Brief Meditation

1st Word – Luke 23:33-34 – Father Forgive Them

On the Cross the Lord Christ prays, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

We should not be surprised at these words for it was compassion and mercy, from the very beginning, that found our Lord Christ mounting the Cross. In this utterance our Lord Christ crowns his compassion that had Him mounting the Cross, with a compassion that pleads with the Father for even more mercy.

And compassion and mercy were what was needed for sinners such as us. The mercy and compassion of the Father sent Christ so that His just wrath did not fall on His people. The mercy and compassion of the Son found the Son willing to come and be our mercy and compassion that He might gain us as His inheritance. The mercy and compassion of The Spirit found the Spirit taking from the mercy and compassion of the Father and Son to apply that same mercy and compassion on sinners such as us that we might have peace with God.

Sinners never know what they do to insult God and yet with God there is mercy and compassion so that now is the appointed day of salvation.

Second Word – Luke 23:39-43 / Two Thieves

Two malefactors were Crucified with our Lord Christ. One on each side. One railed against Christ while the other defended His honor.

Here we find the antithesis between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. The seed of the serpent always, like the insolent malefactor, rails against the Son, either overtly or by the even greater railing of not even giving him any consideration. While the seed of the woman, even when hanging on a Cross, takes up for His Lord and Master and defends Him to the hilt against the accusations of the seed of the serpent. The seed of the woman owns their Sin and looks outside themselves to THE seed of the woman for the blessings of paradise and like that thief crucified next to THE seed of the woman sinners always find the Lord Christ promising paradise to those who are repentant and own their sin.

Which malefactor are you? Are you the malefactor who rails against Christ in mocking tones, or are you the malefactor who recognizes Jesus even when you are hanging on a Cross?

Third Word – John 19:25-27 / Mother & Son

While undergoing the rejection of the Father on the Cross the Lord Christ remembers His Mother at the foot of the Cross and provides for her future. Our Lord Christ thus displays that our Christian faith can never be so pious as to forget our responsibilities to our own family, our own kin, and our own people. The love of Christ, dying for the sins of the world, is not a love that is so universal that it forgets and fails to prioritize the particulars of immediate family, kin, and people. Yes, our Lord Christ dies for the sins of the World but at the same time He reveals His peculiar responsibility to His own Mother for whom He also died.

Our Lord Christ in the very service of being the Atonement, remembers to give His Mother a Son to care and provide for her.

Jesus, thus in dying for the sins of the world shows Himself to be a Kinist.

Fourth Word – Mark 15:33-34 // My God, My God, Why Has’t Thou Forsaken Me

On the Cross the Lord Christ cries out, “Eloi, Eloi,lama sabach-thani” (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.) and in that cry we see the nadir of the torture of the Cross; The felt abandonment of the Son by the Father.

Compared to this sense of divine abandonment the lacerations from the scourging whip, the wounds from the crown of thorns, the raked nerve endings and the exposed bone were nothing. Compared to this alienation from the Father, the dehydration with its accompanying convulsions were insignificant. Not even the pain wracked requirement to lift thyself by the crucified feet in order for the lungs to get just enough breath to remain miserable could compare to the agony of this sense of forsaken-ness. Here …. HERE is the real brutality of the Cross.

And here is presented the reality of Hell. Hell is the sense of being utterly forsaken by the Father in whom is all life, meaning, and joy. To be forsaken by God is to be in Hell.

And this sense of being forsaken … this entering into Hell … insures that those who look to the Elder Brother of Salvation will never taste that sense of forsaken-ness.

Fifth Word – John 19:28 // “I Thirst”

When the Lord Christ utters, “I thirst,” the divine irony is so thick that only the fallen could miss it. Here is the one who said of Himself that those who came to him would never thirst and that He was the one who to whom people must come to drink so that they themselves would, out of their hearts, have flowing rivers of living water. But now on the Cross the one in whom is the water of eternal life, is now paying the ransom price of sinners whose whole life is characterized by drought parched lifeless barrenness.

And so as the one dying in place of Sinners, Christ, “the living water” cries out with the voice of sinners, “I thirst,” and we are reminded that He thirsted that we might have our thirst for life quenched in Him.

Sixth Word – John 19:29-30 // It Is Finished

On the Cross when Our Blessed Lord Christ, cried out, “It is Finished,” He was not announcing surrender or defeat or even death. The Cry, was the cry of the Champion announcing that the back of sin had been broken and that the strong man had been bound. When our Lord Christ announced, “It is Finished,” the deepest chambers of Hell shook and quaked with fear because Hell’s power had been crushed, and its authority seized. With the cry of “It is finished,” the sting of death had been pulled and the portal of eternal life opened to such who would align themselves with the Finished work of the Champion Lord Christ.

“It is Finished” are not the words of a man surrendering to death but the words of a soldier who had conquered in battle. They are the words of a Savior whose mission was accomplished, the words of the Alpha and Omega whose all sufficient work for our salvation is complete. Jesus did not simply die on the cross to make salvation possible; His blood finished the purchasing of His Elect from the guilt and power of sin.

Seventh Word — Luke 23:46 // “Into Thy Hands I Commit My Spirit”

On the Cross when our Lord Christ commits Himself into the Hands of the Father we hear the Faith of our Lord Christ. Remember our Lord Christ felt the abandonment of the Father and yet His final words speak with the voice of Faith. He knew His Father would not abandon Him to the Grave and so with confidence He commits His life into God’s hands.

With His death the blessed Lord Christ vouchsafed His future vindication with the Father having faith that the Father would justify all of His words and work by the powerful working of resurrection.

The Son had faith that the eternal bond between the Father and the Son could never be severed and so with a calmness that speaks the end of the storm the Son commits His Spirit into the Hand of the Father.

Thoughts and Notes On John 13:31-35

I.) The Purpose Of Christ’s Humiliation — God’s Glory

A.) The connection between the betrayal and the glorification (now)

Judas has just left to do his Judas-work. Christ knows what is before him. The purpose of the 1st advent of Christ is steamrolling forward. With Judas departure the sense of inevitability grows.

It is interesting that the greatest work ever accomplished was preceded by the vilest deed ever committed.

Perhaps this should remind us that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. We struggle with the problem of evil … and rightly so. But here in this betrayal we are staring monumental evil straight on and yet God is using that evil to accomplish the Salvation of the world. That does not negate the evil of the betrayal but it does suggest to us that when evil comes into our lives that we can trust God, no doubt with great difficulty, to turn whatever adversity He sends us in this sad world to our good and His glory.

Judas’ betrayal does not overcome God’s intent and control.

B.) The connection between humiliation and glorification

1.) It is interesting that at this point where Jesus is about to enter into His deepest humiliation He speaks instead of His glorification. We make necessary distinctions between the humiliation of Christ and His Glorification but as glorification could not be arrived at apart from going through humiliation it is reasonable to speak of one’s humiliation as being intimately connected to one’s glorification. As such, even though we may think of the humiliation and the glorification of the Lord Christ as being opposite it really is the case that there is a fitting dialectic between the two that brings them into harmony. If one cannot be glorified without being humiliated then their humiliation is their glorification.

2.) But there is another way to think about this humiliation / glorification as well.

The Lord Christ elsewhere in John speaks of glorification in relation to His own Death

cmp. vs. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him. 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

a.) The “Humble Glory” of the Son (Origen)

In both John 12 and John 13 there is an intimate connection made between the Humiliation of Christ and His Glorification. How is this so, we might ask.

The Son of Man is Glorified in His humiliation because the purpose of the Son of Man’s coming was to seek and save that which was lost. In the Cross that seeking and saving comes to its penultimate fulfillment. Christ is glorified in His humiliation because in His humiliation He accomplishes the seeking and saving of His people.

The Son of man is Glorified in His Humiliation because the Son of Man was the lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. In His humiliation the Son of man is Glorified because in His Cross death the Son of Man began fulfilling His purpose as the spotless lamb of God who takes away sins. His humiliation is thus His glorification.

The Son of Man’s purpose, by His own words, was to come to this hour of humiliation. By His dying Humiliation he brings many sons and daughters to Salvation and so is Glorified.

So … there is no contradiction here for the Lord Christ to tie his humiliation to His glorification, for if they are understood in their proper connectedness they can be spoken of as much the same.

Of course all this speaks the Gospel. All this speaks of the reality that we, as those justly under the intense disfavor of God, could only be saved quite apart from our contribution to our cause. The Son of Man undergoes all this saving work are our representative head and in His standing in for us and as our substitute He does all the saving. The Son is glorified in this, His humiliation work, and when we deny that the Son alone saves we attempt to steal from His glory in an attempt to secure some of that glory for ourselves.

b.) The Glorification of the Father by the Son

Well, we might ask how it is that the Father is glorified in the Son.

First, we might offer that the Father is glorified in the Son in as much as the Son of Man did not seek His own will but the will of the Father who sent Him. Jesus came to do the will of the Father who sent Him, and so when the Father’s will is done in the connection with the Lord Christ’s obedience the Father is glorified. The Father is glorified in Christ because the Lord Christ always did those things that pleased the Father.

Second we would offer that the Father is glorified in the Son of Man because in the work of the Son of Man God’s name is cleared of any possible impugning. God had, in times past, overlooked men’s sins. A charge of injustice might conceivably be brought against the Father. He had not brought the full death upon mankind that mankind deserved. But now God is glorified in the self surrender of the Son of Man to a death that bore the full expression of the First person of the Trinity’s justice upon the Incarnate second person of the Trinity so that God’s just wrath upon sinful man might be justly spent. God is glorified in the Son because in the Son and His work, the Father’s name and reputation are cleared of any possible charge. According to the Father’s will the Son of Man, in His life, fulfilled all that was required in God’s law and and in His death withstood all the penalty that the law required against Sin. In the accomplishing of that the Father was glorified.

And allow me to add a slight wrinkle here,

Just as the Father’s name can no longer be impugned so the Son of Man’s name, having so accomplished redemption, will not be able to be impugned when the Son of Man finally crushes the opposition. Because of His finished work he has been commanding through His servants for men to be reconciled to God. He, through His servants, has been commanding all men everywhere to repent and if they refuse to reconcile … if they refuse to repent there will be no shadow cast upon His character when He finally thoroughly crushes His enemies, but only the Praise of His Saints.

c.) The Glorification of the Son by the Father

Well, might we ask how it is that the Son is glorified by the Father.

A hint of that answer is found in John 17:5

5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Clearly Christ is looking past the humiliation to His resurrection and ascension. The Father will glorify the Son by the resurrection and ascension thus putting the Father’s seal of approval upon the Son’s work and so vindicating Him. The fact that Jesus speaks in the future tense (“will glorify”) is suggestive that the Son is looking beyond the Cross to the Throne.

By the use of the word “immediately” in vs. 32 we know that the glory that Jesus anticipates will come swiftly upon His humiliation.

Just a point of application here,

Just as it was for the Lord Christ that humiliation preceded glorification so it is with His people. Indeed the Lord Christ can say in this same upper room discourse,

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

And in his Epistle St. John 3:13 can write,

“Do not marvel brothers if the World hates you.”

Phil. 1:29

29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

Romans 8:17

17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

II Timothy 3:12

12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

So, we must not shy away from this kind of reality nor trim our sails so as to avoid this. We must speak up for Christ and as Christ despised the cross, enduring the shame, so must we on a much much smaller scale do the same for we know that this light and momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

3.) Significance of Son of Man statement

This is Jesus favorite self designation occurring over 80 times in the Gospels. It is only on the lips of anyone else twice (Stephen upon his Martyrdom [A. 8:56] and the inquirers probing into the meaning of Jesus usage of the term [John 12:34].) The fact that it is almost completely unique to Jesus combined with the fact that others have to inquire as to its meaning suggest that it was a fairly unknown title for the Messiah. In the usage of this title the Messiahship of Jesus could be cloaked against the wrong expectations of Messiah as developed by the low information and misguided Jew. So, in its being unknown Jesus can fill it with the meaning that He desires to fill it with and so seek to correct wrong concepts about the Messiah.

In the way that the Lord Christ uses the term we discover that it is a reference for both the “heavenly Son of man who comes in glory,” and “the Son of Man who suffers to bring salvation.” So, even in the term “Son of Man” we see a combination of humiliation and glorification that we spoke of earlier.

Leon Morris offers,

“The term ‘Son of Man,’ then points us to Christ’s conception of Himself as of heavenly origin and as possessor of heavenly glory. At one and the same time it points us to His lowliness and His sufferings for men. The two are the same.”

In 13:31 we see the two themes brought together.

Between Christ’s statement regarding glorification and His Precept to Love one another Jesus speaks a few words regarding the immediate future of the disciples.

We want to note especially the tenderness with which Jesus addresses the disciples.

“Little Children”

This is a common phrase that John uses in his 1st epistle. It is a term of endearment and reminds us of Jesus love for His people. One could surely excuse the Lord Christ for being more preoccupied with what is before Him then what is before His disciples and yet His mind is upon them and He prepares them for what lies immediately ahead.

III.) The Precept Upon Christ’s Humiliation — Love One Another as I have loved you

A.) Consistent w/ the OT?

The commandment of the OT (Lev.19:18, Prov. 20:22, 24:29) is tweaked.

Whereas the commandment of the OT is for us to love our neighbor as ourselves the commandment from Jesus is that we love one another as he has loved us.

Of course Jesus is demonstrating this love before them (cmp. 13:1) and will continue to do so.

Jesus revealed His love to them by looking not after His own needs but also the needs of other. The love that Jesus has for the disciples is a self sacrificing love. That is the way we as God’s people are to love one another. The standard for loving someone else is no longer “how would I love myself,” the standard for our loving one another is “How did Jesus love us.”

And Jesus loved us by fulfilling all that God’s law required of us. So, our sacrificial love, one for another, must also be consistent with God’s revelatory Law. We do not love sacrificially one another, if we are loving one another in ways that are defiant of God’s revelation of Himself in His law. We do not love the brethren if we encourage them in their sin. We do not love the brethren if we ignore how they know Jesus in a strange way. We do not love the brethren by letting them go on in harm’s way when we know that the way they are going is harmful. We do not love the brethren by protecting ourselves from their wrath by not warning them against some danger we see them headed towards.

Note that we can only have this love one for another as we all have love for Christ. Our mutuality of love for one another extends out of our love for Christ, which itself extends out of an understanding of His love for us. Herein is love, not that we first love him, but that he first loved us and gave Himself as a propitiation for our sins.

So, ultimately the way to grow in love for the Brethren is by plumbing the depth of the Triune Godhead’s love for His people.

B.) The Evangelistic Effect of Love

Tertullian — he one of the ECF — contrasted Christian love with pagan idea.

“But it is mainly the deeds of a love o noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. ‘See’ they say, ‘how they love one another,’ for they themselves (the pagans) are animated by mutual hatred; ‘see how they are ready even to die for one another,’ for they themselves (the pagans) will rather put to death.” (Apology XXXIX)

Our love in the community of faith for one another is to be the kind of thing that causes people who only have competition and temporary alliances w/ other people, to want what is found in the confines of the Church community. In the words of Dr. Fancis Schaeffer, “Love is the final apologetic.”

But again … not some syrupy sentimental love that is defined by the world but the love of Scripture that has sinews and tendons all about it. The love that is measured and defined. Not the love that is whatever makes us feel good.

This passage is a beautiful passage for the Church but we run the danger of shrinking it because of how the word love is so abused and ill defined today.