Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law (Romans 13:8)
THE GOSPEL OF LOVE: I know we’ve talked about the subject before in this space, but there are still too many people out there (millions) who evidently need some serious coaching in terms of what it means to follow Jesus, and to live the heart of the Gospel as if The Master really meant it when he voiced the following mandate at the occasion of The Last Supper:
“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other” (John 13:34-35).
Yet so many strident voices are fast and loose when it comes to judgement, argue every detail because they simply have to be RIGHT, and make ungrounded and arbitrary statements such as, “I go to a ‘Bible-believing church’ and you don’t.” Their read on John 13:14 goes more like this: “The world will know we are the real disciples because our doctrine (my doctrine… my church… my interpretation) is right, and other people have it all wrong.”
The Bible, however, is the narrative account of A) God’s evolving relationship with The Children of Israel; B) God’s initiative of redemptive love via the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; and C) the beginnings of the movement of the Good News into, “Jerusalem, all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The Bible is not the kind of document that comes with one irrefutable, correct, verifiable, conclusive, exhaustive set of commentaries; and it’s not the kind of manuscript that lends itself to tidy, flawless explanations. It’s the story of God’s reaching in through time and space, and offering healing to a broken world. That’s God’s initiative of love; that’s the work of the cross. It’s our opportunity, then, to either live into love or to reject it.
And I believe it is quite impossible to be a disciple of Jesus, a follower of The Way, and to fail to live in love.
Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8).
In love, and because of love – DEREK
(Your reward for reading this far is the following set of photographs around the outside of our home. Spring has certainly come to Wake Forest, and it wears a beautiful garment of praise.)