The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I have come across a lot of these so-called born-again Christians who claim to saved, yet their new found faith seems to have made no change in their lives. They still love their sin, it’s just that now they are happy to know they are going to heaven because of the lip service they have offered God in accepting Jesus into their hearts. Biblically, no one can receive Jesus unless they repent (Mark 1:15) because from the fall every man has received a righteousness of self that is contrary to the righteousness of God (Gen 2:17 & 3:4-7). A fallen man’s heart is an idol factory because his chief end is himself and he has only asked Jesus into heart with the hope of a better life. There is no repentance or conversion of heart in such a man, & the love God represents to such a person is a love which accommodates his sin. It doesn’t strike such a man in the least, the price Jesus paid for sin (Is 53:3-11), because such a man loves his sin more than he loves Jesus Christ.
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? …
14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
While the hyper-grace antinomian sees lawlessness as grace, the Bible on the other hand refers to lawlessness as sin (1Jn 3:4). Very often I have read bumper stickers which say “My Life – My Rules”, this is nothing but indicative that people in general, who naturally estranged from God, being in Adam… wise in their own eyes (Gen 3:5-6) and a law to themselves (Is 5:21). The natural man therefore pictures God as a love which is hippie fashioned, where you can live as you please… do drugs, fornicate, steal etc. and God will just keep loving you just like the hands of a clock, which keep turning. Yes, the Bible does say that it was while we were still sinners that Jesus died for our sins (Rom 5:8), and yes, Jesus did come to call sinners, not the self-righteous (Luke 5:32/2Cor 7:10), and yes, saving grace is unmerited favour (Eph 2:8-10), it is not earned; but if you claim to know Jesus and without any obedience to show for it (Jn 14:15), then you are only fooling yourself if you think you are saved because though we are not saved by obedience but by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is the obedience that makes the saving grace we have received in Jesus evident in our lives (James 2:18).
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Rom 7:22 to 8:2
22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in [p]the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from [r]the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
It is said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and this is true in the case of the hyper-grace antinomian who believes that law has to do only with sinners/punishment, and has nothing to do with those who are under grace. We ought to understand that what attributes are true of God are true of His Moral Law because the Law is the very nature and character of God. So, if we look at the above two passages of scripture, we notice that those who are a law to themselves, living in direct opposition to God and His Law (nature & character), these die by the law (Rom 2:12/Prov 8:36), because if we are to live in this world, we are to live by his terms but for those who are a new creation in Christ, these are by nature the doers of the law (Rom 2:13) because this is their new nature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). The law is written on their hearts (Jer 31:33), and these believers are truly born-again, the image/nature/character of God that was broken in Adam is restored to them in Christ (Rom 5:17).
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
Now from the above verse we know what Biblically is love. So, let’s go verse by verse to show how this is the very nature of God and His Law. Looking at 1Cor 13:4-5 you will notice it is saying the same thing as Eph 4:32, which teaches us to “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” This is strikingly similar to John 13:34 where Jesus says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Still, we know from 1 John 2:7-8 that this is not a new commandment but an old one, because it contextually speaks of not breaking Gods commandment as Cain did, as mentioned in 1 John 3:11-12. So, we see that 1 Cor 13:4 is a teaching that is coming straight out of the Law/commandment of God, which is love in itself because God is love and His Law which is His very nature, is also love. Now coming to 1Cor 13:6, we know from Exo 9:27 & Deut 32:4 that God is righteous and truth, just as we know from Ps 19:9 & Ps 119: 142, 151 that the Law of God is righteous and truth. Hence the definition of love which is in 1Cor 13:6 is describing the very nature of God, which is His Law. Coming to 1Cor 13:7, in the light of Job 4:6 we understand that these things talk about waiting on the Lord, and concerning waiting on the Lord, the Bible says in Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Now take a look at Isaiah 42:4, which says “He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” It’s almost as though Isaiah 42:4 rephrases Isaiah 40:31 but this is because the Law is the very nature of God who is love. Hence the Law is also love. Now, from 1Cor 13:8 we understand that Love is pure, perfect and eternal, which is just as how the Bible describes God in 1Jn 3:3, Deut 32:4 and Gen 21:33 as being pure, perfect and eternal respectively, and this same way, the Bible also describes God’s Law in Ps 19:8, Ps 19:7 & Ps 119:7-8 as being pure perfect and eternal.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
To conclude, the only love the world knows, is a love for sin viz. idolatry, fornication, avarice, covetousness, drunkenness and substances abuse. It’s no wonder that the Bible says in Jer 17:9 that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” The love of God on the other hand is not one of lawlessness, but it is the very nature of God, presented to us in His Law. The fallen man from Adam however, hates discipline (Hebrews 12:8) and therefore fails to see God’s Law as love because it doesn’t serve his own wicked interests. Nevertheless, if you were to look at the Ten Commandments from Exo 20:2-17 in the light of Mat 22:36-40, you will see that these are instructions teaching us how we are to love God first with all our strength and second how we are to love our neighbour as ourselves, but this cannot just happen, because this is not within the nature of the fallen man. This is only possible in Jesus Christ (Jn 1:12-13), who paid the wages of our sin in full (Rom 6:23) while imbuing his nature in us through God-the-Holy Spirit (John 14:26).