There is no Salvation without Love
By David Cox
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1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
John declares that, according to God, every true Christian will love. He that loves “is born of God”, and the person that does not love does not know God as his Savior. It is interesting to think that love is a requirement for salvation, but in actually it is. We need to understand what is love, and how it is integral to our salvation. We have to identify the means that God has put in our lives to create, grow, deepen, form, and boast our love.
Without Love, you are not Saved
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Salvation, in its essence, is an expression of the love of God for us. It should not be strange that one cannot be saved without understanding this divine love. You are saved because of God’s love (God is love, and this is an integral part of his essential being). So our salvation is an expression of God’s essence, of his moral character. God does not want us just to be saved, but also to understand this divine salvation, and how it operates within God.
2Thess 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
While the character of Satan takes the form of hating, robbing, damaging, and killing, but the character of God is rooted in love. The battle for us revolves around the truth (God loves us) and the lie (Satan says God hates us, a false “truth”). Salvation then is to receive the truth of the love of God, in such a way as to make it a vital part of our character.
What is love? “My sacrifice for your benefit”
Love is simply a voluntary decision in that you love a person sacrificing your own life, resources, interests, desires, etc. so that through those, you benefit somebody else in their life. “My loss for your gain.”
The verb love occurs 9 times in the imperative form (Psa. 31:23; Amos 5:15; Zec. 8:19; Mat 5:44; Luk. 6:27, 35; Eph 5:25; Col. 3:19; 1Pet. 2:17), so this is not just a passive emotion (something takes hold of us without our control or participation), but something definitely under our control. Love is a spiritual activity of the soul and of the will. Some complain that they cannot love their mate, but God commands us to love even our enemies (Mat 5:44; Luk 6:27, 35). This is a decision of the will, not just “how you feel”. Your mind and will tell your heart what to love, not visa versa.
Love is not just an emotion, but it is a positive action of the will, soul, and spirit. John qualifies this love (1Jn 4:10), not in us loving God in order to be saved (for our own benefit), but that God, WITHOUT NEED ON HIS PART, has loved us, and even sacrificed his own Son to save us. Eph 5:2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. (Phil 3:7-8; 1Jn 3:16-18). This interest and activity in favor of another is the precise definition God gives, “God is love” (1Jn 4:8), and “love is of God” (1Jn 4:7).
Love is what pleases God. Salvation depends on recognizing and understanding this love as God defines it, and afterwards, accepting God’s magnificent work of love, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. “Accept” means to incorporate this same moral quality in our lives, practicing it daily.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 defines what is love. Love suffers long (has infinite patience), it is good (useful, benevolent, is actively helpful towards another or beneficial). Love is not envious (it is satisfied, without strife or ill-feelings). It is not boastful (it does not boast of itself, but concentrates on the object of its love). It isn’t puffed up (not a hypocrite, saying that one desires well for the other when in reality it desires ill for the other or is indifferent). It does not seek its own (love gives, like in Acts 20:35, it is better to give than to receive). It doesn’t irritate (it controls its emotions, not angering easily). It does not delight when calamity befalls the other, but only when justice and righteousness is done for all. Love is not false, but earnestly and sincerely desires good towards the other.
Salvation in a Nutshell
Deut 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Matt 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
God gives salvation in a single concept, love. When a person accepts this concept (true love), then he understands and embraces salvation. Love is the sacrifice of one’s self for the benefit of another, and this is without reference to how that other person first treats you. What good have we done to deserve the love of God? The list of what we have done wrong is extensive, and no good thing is in us that can explain why God HAS ANY OBLIGATION to love us. God has saved us because of what God is, not because of what we are. There is an understanding that Jesus died on the cross for you, and this love is the essence of the pure moral character of God, in that it is something that one cannot receive and enjoy in any way without first making that very same thing part of you, saturating your life with it to the most profound parts of the soul and life.
Love is to lose the “Me”
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Perhaps the reason that God values love so highly, is because it is to lose one’s own self and life investing it in the lives of others. This is another basic moral character trait of God, who has created the universe and provides for all of his creatures. The Bible presents Satan with the opposite character, ego-centric, where his own pleasure and benefit is all that is important to him. This breeds and harbors arrogance, haughtiness, lust, greed and many other sins, which all concentrate on one’s exaltation of themselves.
The distinction of a great and noble person is the absence of arrogance, showing noble benevolence towards all others. Nobility is distinguished by not needing exaltation of self (realizing one is great, and showing that greatness through service to others). The arrogant is a small person spiritually speaking, because he doesn’t greatly help others, except to seek recognition of himself by his works.
The mark of a great person is the absence of arrogance, and the showing of nobility in benevolence towards others, i.e. service. The arrogant are people unworthy of praise, because they do not natively like to do good works, nor are they sensible towards others, but only when they can use that to seek praise for themselves.
Sacrifice is the Evidence of True Love
1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
Salvation comes by directly receiving the love of God. This is the sacrifice of Jesus in the cross for you. Also, one cannot be saved without making love an integral part of your life. Love is nothing if it does not offer evidences of its presence and intensity. God sacrificed his Son for you, but, What have you sacrificed for God? As God does not need any thing, then it is difficult to show our love to God by providing some need God needs. But Jesus put forth a teaching…
Matt 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Because of the fact that we cannot really give anything to God (because everything we have, we have from God, and is what he has given us in the first place), God has made a way, and this way is to show our love towards God by how we treat our neighbor, and especially in our love for our brethren in Christ (acting as if they were Christ himself).
1John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Love in the Family
Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
God wants us to understand love, so he puts us in situations where we can practice this love thing. Above all, first is the couple. The reproduction of the human race is by couples (a man and a woman) where love is the principal basis (even among the unsaved couples). We saw before that love is not just or principally an emotion, but a spiritual activity of the will, related to obeying God (Eph 5:25 husbands, love your wives, Titus 2:3-4 wives a their husbands).
We also saw that for the majority of these couples God has given them children, where the natural thing is that the parents love their children (Titus 2:4). The family is a divine structure which is a spiritual workshop for practicing love. When a husband or wife cannot love their partner or children, or a brother a sister or visa versa, then the work of God is not being done in them. They have failed greatly to imitate God in their own soul and moral character.
|Date:||November 21, 2015|
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I really like the tract. It presents salvation in a way that explains love. Good work.
Another key aspect of this issue is that Christ calls to self-denial. Self denial forces us into the opposite of selfishness, which is selfless service of others. Only when you understand this part of salvation will you truly change your attitude and life into the image of Christ.
A highlight of this tract is the point that loving somebody is a spiritual action of the soul. It has to be viewed in that light. Just as God does not let love come and leave us as the flu bug might, we love or we don’t love because we will to do it or not to do it. Many couples find “loving their partner is impossible.” That is not true. Love is not determined by how good a person is towards you, love is defined by whether you will to love the other person.
That love has to come from WHAT WE ARE, not what the other person is. Being “loveable” is not what makes a person be loved. Love is because you are what you are (period). You can love, and moreover YOU MUST LOVE! Salvation is a change of character from selfishness to selflessness. You cannot enter into heaven if you don’t understand and fully embrace this concept. This is what God is, and only those who are like God in this point will get to heaven.
This is what distinguishes and explains why out of a hundred people that accept Christ, a good number are transformed into something else, and the rest are not. Those who are not any different afterwards is because they have not understood and embraced what God is, and received Him into their souls to change them into what He is.