John 13:35 says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is often paraphrased as “Christians will be known by their love.” We should be exercised about this passage—this spiritual truth. Love should be right at the core of our Christianity. We ought to love each other fervently. And this love should be multi-faceted. It should sow kindness and meet needs among the flock. It should overlook a lot of small stuff (love covers a multitude of sin). And it should manifest itself with encouragement. Now this kind of love costs us…it takes effort and sacrifice. But…love cost Christ his glories in heaven and the cross. And his insane display of love brought immeasurable gain to those who believe on him. So our love, in a far lesser measure, will work gain among the people of God.
But truth is frequently beset by traps set by the enemy of our souls. Love is no exception. Many who come under conviction for their shortcomings in love fall prey to the popular teaching that walking in love requires us to shun such “mean” practices as reproving sin, exposing compromise, or challenging people’s beliefs and practices. And the advocates of this teaching disdain those who engage in such activities as unloving and judgmental. They embrace love sans light.
Don’t allow yourselves to be shaken by such lobotomized Christianity. God is both love and light. Those who bring us a Jesus that majors in love and minors in holiness and truth—or even sweeps them under the rug altogether—are preaching the Jesus of the apostasy of the last days, not the Jesus of the Bible. Love and light can be distinguished, but they cannot be divided. When men focus on love to the exclusion of light (holiness and truth), their experience always degenerates into nice people winking at sin, if not indulging in it themselves. Embracing love and marginalizing light is a practical rejection of Jesus—the Jesus of the Bible.
Don’t forget that the God who commands us to love one another also commands us to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires will heap up for themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Tim. 4:2-4). The predominence of this love error is yet one more indication that we live in the last days, in an age characterized by the spirit of Jezebel and Laodicea.
“Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.”
Lee W. Brainard