Is ‘love’ an old fashioned notion? Love is actually a vital, active, motion of our God toward his people that we are intended to imitate toward other people. A right understanding of love is a life and death matter. John addresses the practice of love in the community of believers. Love is the litmus test of authentic Christian faith; assurance of salvation and love are intertwined. John exegetes faith as acts of love – faith without love is dead. Loving everybody in general may be an excuse for loving no one in particular.
Emlet examines these questions:
- What is the source of love? (It comes from outside ourselves, namely God (1 John 4:10) – Love is not defined by how we treat God at our best, but how He treats us at our worst);
- What does love look like? (It culminates in the reality of the incarnation – love is not spiritualized, but actualized (1 John 3:16) – with biblical love, it’s not simply the thought that counts but the follow-through of the thought that counts – mercy ministry isn’t an addendum to the gospel, but is rather at the heart of the gospel);
- What is the impact of love? (The incarnation is the climax of a love story gone sour – yet God continues to pursue his people).
Emlet ends with a discussion of love as a community venture. We are an ordinary people loved by an extraordinary God.
Key Scripture: 1 John 3-4; Romans 13; Ephesians 3; Luke 7; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7