"Love is the Answer"—or so it's said. Does whatever Question, posed first, have relevance? Or is there truth in the hippie mantra? And is the Christian who says likewise being either naïve or overly simplistic?
Perhaps "whatever Question" is less important than how one defines love.
"Love" is a commonplace word in our world. "Love" is seen as humanity's true nature. "Love" conveys warm feelings toward those who do good to us, and those for whom we have natural affection (such as our children). We use "love" in connection with anything or anyone important to us—or simply pleasing to us—from food to someone we find attractive. "Love" is also a synonym for sex, even the most casual or torrid sex, for our world makes little distinction between sex as a marriage bond and sex as a call of nature.
But there is another love, decidedly uncommon, set apart from all natural instinct: God’s holy love.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NCV)
This love is anything but our true nature. Our nature dictates self-gratification and self-preservation. From the moment of birth until the last struggle against death, our nature is not love but avoidance of injury, pain and discomfort to body and soul. The "love" defined by this world is willing to love only if it furthers the goal of self-preservation and self-gratification. Suicide—the willingness to destroy one's own life—is the result of pain avoidance overcoming even the instinct for self-preservation.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
~ John 3:16 (NKJV)
The nature of holy God is to love regardless of Self-preservation or Self-gratification. God's Son Jesus did not commit suicide but rather laid down (John 15:13) His life. Rather than avoid suffering, Jesus embraced horrific pain and death in order to overcome both the self-destruction inherent to sin and humanity's instinct for sin.
"To be holy is to look like God. His beauty—His ultimate beauty—is the beauty of love and goodness."
~ from my last post, "Why Holiness is Beautiful"
Did the last post seem to argue for love and holiness being synonymous? Did it cross the line of biblical integrity?
Yes, love and holiness are distinct. Even so, I maintain that holiness cannot exist apart from the holy and wholly unnatural love of God. God is holy because He is wholly set apart from what humanity is by nature. To be a Christian is to be set apart to God as holy and to love with His wholly unnatural love. To the question of what holiness is, "Love is the answer" if it is the love of God.
"In the last analysis, it is our conception of death which decides our answers to all the questions that life puts to us."
~ Dag Hammarskjold
Whatever the question, the answer is never "love" as the world defines it.
To every question, and especially to the ultimate questions posed by death, God is the Answer, and "God is love" (1 John 4:8).
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Copyright 2013, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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