Now we know what kind of love Paul & God is calling us to as believers, let’s think for a few moments about why we should love.
I have two simple points:
1. It’s a fruit of the Spirit
A healthy apple tree will produce apples. In the same way a healthy believer will produce the fruit of the Spirit.
“We know we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”1 John 3:14
According to 1 John, our love for the “brothers” proves that we have passed from death to life. If we are not showing any signs of growing in agape (no matter how small these signs may be) we need to question whether we are truly “alive” in Christ, or if we are still, as John says, “abiding in death.”
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ AND love one another, just as he has commanded us.”1 John 3:23
Believing in Jesus and loving others go hand in hand—they are one commandment that cannot be separated. There are so many other verses in 1 John I could point us to"
- “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:6)
- “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3:16)
- “whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)
I could keep going. . . Basically, just crack open 1 John and give it a read. But essentially, why should we love? Well, the point is if we are in the Spirit, if we are born again, if we have a regenerated heart and claim to know God—we will and have to love.
2. It’s a witness to others
“No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12)
As believers, we are living proof to the world of a living God. No one can see God, but they can see us. When we love one another, it is the love of God they see. Love is an outward sign of our inward faith. How does the world know we are Jesus’ disciples? Well, John 13:35 tells us very clearly—it is by loving one another.
As Miller says; “Authentic love is the most powerful argument for our faith”.
On the flip side of this, if we don’t love others, we are essentially keeping God’s love invisible. We are hiding God from a world in need of the gospel. And worse than that, if we say we love God and yet don’t love others, we are living as liars and hypocrites.
1 John 4:20 says, “If anyone says, “I love God” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God who he has not seen.”
What a toxic witness it is not to love. So, why should we love?
- It’s a fruit of the Spirit
- It’s a witness to the world; evidence of our faith to the world around us.
We have looked at what love really is, and why we should love. Next week we will look at how we can persevere in love when we don’t feel like it.
Editor’s note: This is part two in a series on love. You can read part one here.