The dominant theme and ethic of the New Testament (and I would argue, the entire Bible) is LOVE. The Apostle John declares in his first letter that GOD IS LOVE. Not that God is loving or that God loves (both true), but that GOD IS LOVE.
The very nature and character of God is love. Every other characteristic of God — His holiness, His righteousness, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His revelation, and even His judgement and discipline — all pour forth from His love and the truth that HE IS LOVE.
This is why Jesus is very clear when asked what is the most important thing for His followers to do. LOVE. Love God and love others.
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The plain meaning of Jesus’ teaching is clear: LOVE IS PRIMARY.
All the rest of the laws and the commands flow from and are fulfilled in this command. LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS — everything else is commentary.
As disciples we are constantly in the SCHOOL OF LOVE, facing significant LOVE TESTS, and called to MAKE LOVE in our world.
You want to be like Jesus?
You want to be a faithful disciple?
You want to worship God with your heart, soul, mind, and total life?
You want to offer your life as a living sacrifice to God?
Then do what Jesus told us to do: LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS — indeed, love your neighbor as yourself! And even more — LOVE YOUR ENEMIES! Actually LOVE THEM! With a pure and holy and grace-filled love!
Now anyone who has read the Bible — and even given a cursory look at the Gospels — knows that all I have said above is true. It is core and foundational to the Christian faith — and central to understanding of God and what it means to follow Him.
Why is it that Christians are not known by the broader culture as great love makers?
Why are Christians known more for what they are against, than what they are for?
Why do Christians spend more time fighting, dividing and keeping people out than uniting, seeking justice and practicing the same radical inclusivity that Jesus practiced?
I don’t have an answer to that question… I honestly am baffled by most Christians. Their lack of authentic Jesus-like unconditional love baffles me… and the lack of care about the problem baffles me.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to be LOVE MAKERS. We are supposed to MAKE LOVE. So, for God’s sake brothers and sisters… DO IT ALREADY!