The Greatest of These Is Love
Over and over again, the New Testament exhorts us to grow in faith, hope, and love. God desires these three graces to mark us and distinguish His children from those who do not know Him. But how does this actually happen? What causes our faith, hope and love to increase?
“Make up your mind, pray, fast, go to church, pay your tithe, confess your sins, read your Bible, and witness every day.” That’s the typical religious answer. And a recipe for producing either modern day Pharisees, or a whole lot of miserable Christians! Just look around. Evidence abound.
Instead of listening to religion, let’s look for the Bible answer.
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him…We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:16, 19 NKJV
Here is the Scriptural answer. Our ability to love God is based completely on knowing His love for us. Doing all the things religion prescribes apart from a growing focus on and revelation of God’s love for you will only result in dead works. Dead works cannot increase faith, hope or love.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. I John 4:10 NKJV
Christianity does not begin with our love for God. No, it begins and ends with His love for us. In fact, and this may shock you, you do not need to love God to be saved. It is right to love God and hopefully your love for God and for others will keep growing and growing. But the good news is that it is not your love of God that saves you. It is, instead, His love for you and your willingness to believe “the love God has for us.”
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14, 17-19 NKJV
Notice, it is only by being rooted and grounded in God’s love and knowing the love of Christ which passes knowledge that you can be filled with all the fullness of God.
Child of God, only the love of God can generate love for God. And faith in God. And hope in God. So, instead of focusing on trying to love God, which is religion’s answer, focus on getting to know the love God has for you, which is the Bible answer. Listen to His words of love every day, talk to Him of His love every day, enjoy His unconditional love every day, and without condemnation, your faith, hope and love will grow effortlessly.
The greatest of these is love because God Is Love!