The Bible is the Word of God. It is an amazing revelation, showing us Who God is, and what he has done to save mankind from the sin that we are all prone to. Central to that revelation is the truth that God hates sin and evil, and everything that is false, but God loves man. He has made a Righteous way to save man from the consequences of Man’s own rebellion.
In a recent sermon I made this observation, which some have found hard to understand; I said that the Bible doesn’t really say that much about Love. God is love, and the implications of nearly everything we are shown in the Bible are brimming with Love, but there is not as much talk about Love itself as one would think.
The creation is obviously an act of Divine Love, Everything was created for the maximum needs of man in mind; the garden of delight, the perfect environment, the meeting of the need for companionship, the gift of meaningful work, the exalted place given to the man and his wife. Obviously a lot of loving thought was put into creation by the Creator.
There is Love in the account of the fall as well, for there is the concern that the first couple confess their sin to the Creator, (obviously He wanted to save them) , then there is the clothing of the shame of the first couple, in the bloody garments which foretell the death of the Savior for our sins, and the prophecy of the “Seed of the woman” to come, who would crush the serpent’s head and undo the effects of the primal curse and estrangement from God.
Love permeates the accounts, but little is said about Love itself, there is little or no “Love talk”. This is what I meant about there not being much about Love in the Bible itself. God is love…He doesn’t speak much about Love itself, but those who know God, know Love, and Know that He is LOVE and that Love permeates all that He does and is.
I took people to the New Testament, and especially to the sermons of Jesus, the Apostles and the preaching in the book of Acts… They didn’t preach Love in their Kerygma, ,neither the LOVE of God for all, nor did they teach “Unconditional Love” . There was much warning of Judgment, and they preached the Lordship of Jesus, the cross and it’s meaning, and of course th Kingdom of God, but not much was said about Love.
But it is obvious that Jesus loved/loves us. The Father loves us, and we who are saved know it. Of course there is some said about Love in the scripture, such as I Corinthians 13, or the teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, about the Love of the Father for the just and the unjust, I do not assert that there is no talk of Love. I have simply made the observation that there is not as much said about love as people think.
There is much made of Righteousness, and Holiness, and some said about Love.
I suppose that in the last century or so, Evangelical churches and preachers, shifted in their emphasis in preaching, from an emphasis on the subject of Righteousness, the law of God, and judgment, to an emphasis on Love. I also suspect much of this is due to the philosophy of humanism which has swept across the planet, particularly the West.
This is not to say there is no place for discussion and emphasis on Love, the Love of God for man, for sinners, and in redemption. There is no doubt, that We are to preach that God loves fallen man, and was “In Christ reconciling sinners to himself”.
But Love cannot be the only emphasis, nor does it seem to be the prime emphasis in the gospels, and in Acts. The Apostles preached “Righteousness, Temperance and the Judgment to come, as well as love.
And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
The Bible is the most loving book on earth, ever , in history, but it doesn’t speak as much about Love itself as many think it does. The Love of Scripture is implicit, powerful and pervasive, because we have a God who loves in deed, and on levels difficult for sinful men to understand or receive, until after they are enlightened. God is Love, He acts in Love , thinks in Love, speaks in Love.
Could it be that merely preaching “Love” to the world, without the context of Holiness, the broken Law, Judgment and wrath, actually deceives sinners and makes it more difficult for them to believe the gospel?
There are many, many people who are similar in attitude to a French Atheist (Heinrich Heine) who had spent his whole life in militant rebellion against God, denying the existence of God, and saying “No” to any claims of God on his life, moral or otherwise.
On his death bed, a friend asked him, “What if you are wrong about God? “
His reply, Dieu me pardonnera, c’est son travail , translated from French, “Of course God will forgive me, that’s His job!”
We sinners tend to presume on Love. Instead of hearing how precious we are in God’s sight, we need to be told that we are sinners, and in danger of damnation, we need to understand that God is a righteous God, and that Jesus is LORD, and that there is a judgment coming which we are not qualified to pass through. The great themes of scripture , such as Sin, Salvation, Heaven and Hell, the World and the coming Kingdom need to be proclaimed afresh, so that we can put the “love of God” in it’s proper context.
Perhaps this is why Scripture isn’t full of “love talk”, although implictly Scripture is a revelation of a radical, eternal, overwhelming and overflowing act of Love by a God who is LOVE and in Love sent his Son to die for our salvation.