Thursday, January 11, 2007

Love for All the Saints (Colossians 1:4)

Jesus said His disciples could be recognized because they would love each other (John 13:35). This love is not an option or a fleeting emotion it is a command (John 13:34). John strongly emphasizes the importance of love for our fellow believers in his first epistle.

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (2:9-11)

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. (3:10)

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (3:14-15)

If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (4:20)
1 Corinthians 13 is well known as the love chapter. To some degree it has been romanticized and applied more often to the marriage relationship. The actual context of the passage is how Christians should act toward other people as they use their spiritual gifts. It is a description of how we should love the saints, our fellow Christians. This love does not come from within ourselves but is produced in us by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is manifest in self sacrificing service to others whether they are deserving or not.

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