Normally this time of year the inclination of pastors demand that we write about God’s love as a contrast to the season of worldly love that our society celebrates with Valentine’s Day. This year though perhaps as in no other year that I have experienced I feel convicted that we should focus on the bankruptcy of worldly love.The world has a dual sensation of what it means to love someone.
The first sense of loving someone requires that we never confront a person with their sins, mistakes, and failures. This sense of love is called tolerance by our world. The problem with this type of love is that it denies the possibility that someone could really be wrong, or make a mistake that has a consequence. Our financial crisis, the aversion to celebrating true success so as to not offend those who fail, the demand to accept anyone’s lifestyle as “good for them”; worldly tolerance demands that we uncritically accept everything as true. Even so, opposing truth claims cannot all be true! Things cannot be both right and wrong at the same time. Think with me to the story of the rich young ruler in the gospels. Mark 10:21 gives us a picture of biblical love. Jesus tells the ruler what he lacks, or where his sin is. Only by realizing that he was a sinner would the ruler be saved.
The world’s second sense of love demands that those who love enter into a physical relationship. What the world calls love the Bible calls lust. Matthew 5:27-28 tells us that lust is adultery of the heart. Adultery in the OT is a crime worthy of death! Our culture has not only rejected that truth but in fact celebrates the lust. When teenagers receive contraceptives and “the pill” the world celebrates their premarital promiscuity. When men and women divorce with no fault the world celebrates the lust they pursue after others. When homosexuals have laws past to allow their lust to be legal the world celebrates. When heterosexuals cohabitate instead of marry the world celebrates. When babies never enter this world, the world celebrates the lust of promiscuity.
Christians cannot celebrate toleration and sexual lust as true expressions of love. Even so, Christian love does promote longsuffering and a physical expression of love. 2 Peter 3:9 says that the Lord patiently endures our sin for a long time wishing that all should come to repentance. Punishment will not delay forever (Heb. 9:27). But there is good news for our world. God loves us so much that his son physically took our punishment for us! Isaiah 53:10 tells us that it was God’s will to crush Messiah as a just punishment for our sin. God’s true love is available to us, we must repent of our sins and trust in Him.