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“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the Law. For the Commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the Law.” Romans 13:8-10
Is it Unloving to be Pro-Life?
The moment you start doing any kind of serious ministry, whether it is for standing up for the right to life for the preborn; opposing the pornography industry; standing up for Biblical marriage between one man and one woman for life; or opposing the GayGB agenda you are accused of being “unloving”. It is extraordinary how much of the world continually berates Christians with “not being loving enough”, or “not understanding what love is.” Who defines what love is?
Is Love Passive Toleration of Evil?
According to Hollywood, love is sentimentality, emotion, feeling, tolerance of evil, not saying anything that could offend anyone else, etc. You should say nothing and do nothing to protect your children from the pornography industry, from the gay agenda and from radical Islamic Jihadists.
The Biblical Definition of Love
What does the Bible say? “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the Law.” Romans 13:10
Love is Seen in Action to Protect the Innocent
One of the commandments of God is ‘You shall not murder.’ The positive implication of that command is: you shall preserve innocent life against murder. The churchman in Texas who got up and shot the assailant, 29 December 2019, saved lives and received the Texas Governor’s highest award for courage, for swift and effective action, which saved many lives. It is not unloving to protect your neighbour. It is not unloving to risk your life to save and serve others.
Passivity in the Face of Evil is Not Love
Yet, so twisted, has this word “love” become, that today it can be used to mean anything from lust, to tolerance of evil, to cowardice, passivity, inactivity in the face of evil, even aiding and abetting evil. But, if you stand up for the right to life of pre-born babies; if you seek to rescue those being led away to death, those staggering towards slaughter; if you seek to be faithful to the Word of God; if you try to share the Gospel with a neighbour; you may be accused of being “unloving”, because you are being “intolerant!”
To Fail to Evangelise is Unloving
Is not withholding the Gospel, the Word of God, from people who need His Word, the most unloving thing we could be guilty of?
Love is the Fulfilment of the Law of God
When we look at the Word of God, we can see Biblically, what love is: “…love is the fulfilment of the Law.” Romans 13:10
How do You Love God?
By obeying the first tablet of the Law: Do not worship other gods. Do not bow before any idols. Do not take God's Name in vain. Honour the Lord’s Day.
How do You Love Your Neighbour?
By not stealing your neighbour’s life, by not stealing your neighbour’s wife, by not stealing your neighbour’s property, by not stealing his good name (not slandering his reputation and gossiping) and by not being jealous or envious of your neighbour.
Love is Not a Feeling – It is an Act of Your Will
Love is not soft sentimentality, nor a mushy emotion. Love is not a feeling, it is an act of your will. This is Biblical Love.
Love in Action
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21
Love is Measured by Sacrifice
To love is to overcome evil. Love hates evil. Love obeys God's Law. Love is the fulfilment of the Law. Be humble and gracious and serve one another. Think of others better than yourself. Love is diligence in our work, fervency in spirit. True love is seen in service and measured by sacrifice. Love is steadfast, patient, rejoicing and hopeful. Love is seen in hospitality, in giving to the needs of others. Love is not responding to an offense offensively. If someone curses, respond with blessings. Do not fight over an insult, or trivialities. Those who love God hate evil. Love is the opposite of tolerance of evil.
The Greatest Commandment
God's Ten Commandments sums up all the Laws of God. Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments in the greatest Commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength and you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Therefore, love is the fulfilment of the Law.
The Golden Rule
You obey the Law by loving one another and doing unto others as you want others to do to you. Obey the Commandments. Do not murder. Do not even vote for those who commit murder through legalised abortion. Do not commit adultery. Do not even look with lust by supporting the pornography industry. Nor support political parties that legalise pornography, which leads to prostitution, as they are two sides of the same coin. Pornography is a manual for rape.
God Resists the Proud – He Gives Grace to the Humble
But, the mentality of much of today’s generation is that it is “loving” to tolerate all these things and say nothing against it. No! Love is the fulfilment of the Law. “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. Romans 12:15-17. To love is to think less of yourself and more of others.
What About Self-Defence?
How can it be loving to shoot at someone? There are six words for kill in the Bible. Do not commit murder means do not take an innocent life. Murderers are to be executed. Executing a criminal who has gone through due process of law and has been sentenced by the courts is not murder. Nor is killing someone in self-defence forbidden. In Exodus 22:2, we read: if the thief is found breaking in and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. With a thief at night time, you cannot see whether he has a weapon or not. It is dark and you do not know what his intentions are. So you may strike out in the dark and when it is light, you may see that it was just a thief. What a great difference it is in the case of a terrorist coming into a church wanting to murder people? There is another different Hebrew word for killing in battle. King David was not considered a blood-thirsty man for having killed Goliath and a whole lot of other Philistines in war, but the moment he sent a letter which placed Uriah the Hittite in the frontline and then abandoning him, having him killed by others, this was condemned. God said David now had blood on his hands and was no longer qualified to build God's Temple. The Bible distinguishes between murder, execution, self-defence, killing in war, manslaughter (accidental death) and killing an animal for sacrifice, or for food.
Four Different Hebrew Words for Love
Also, there are four different words for love in the Bible: Phileo, Brotherly love; Storge, Family love; Eros sexual love and Agape – God's Love – a sacrificial, self-giving love. We are commanded to Agape, to love as God loves. To hate evil, love good and be hospitable, to be patient, diligent, steadfast, giving, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep, not associating with the proud, associating with the humble and not being wise in your own eyes.
It Is Impossible to be at Peace With All Men
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18. It is understood that there are some people that you cannot live peaceably with. By definition, one cannot live peaceably with all people, but in as far as it is in your power, if it be possible, you should live at peace with all men. But it also cannot be all men, for example, Islamic Jihadists and aggressive atheists, like Richard Dawkins.
Overcome Evil with Good
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’.” Romans 12:19.
Who Are We to Love?
Here, we can see Biblical love. We are commanded to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are commanded to love our parents. We are commanded to love our brothers and sisters. We are commanded to love our neighbours and we are even commanded to love our enemies. In the above order, preferably.
Love Your Enemy
Loving your enemy needs to be logical. Do what you can to stop the threat. Once the threat is neutralised, show compassion and mercy to the defeated enemy who is now a prisoner of war, or convicted criminal. Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilment of the Law. Jesus made clear that to love God is to hate evil. When I mentioned the Biblical definition of love, you may have thought I would turn to 1 Corinthians 13, but instead I turned to Romans 13. We should now read 1 Corinthians 13, the most famous passage on love.
What is Love?
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. This is light years away from the Hollywood definition of love, which is more akin to lust, or soppy sentimentality. The only person’s opinion that really matters is God’s opinion. God defines love as: “the fulfilment of the Law.”
Resist UnBiblical Distortions and Hijacking of the Word: Love
What the world’s media has tried to do is to redefine love and many Christians have been seduced into accepting this new definition. To disarm Christians, this attitude is promoted: to think that you cannot speak out against evil, you cannot protest against abortion, you cannot make a stand for truth in a public square, because it may hurt someone’s feelings and then you will be accused of being “unloving.”
Love Rejoices in the Truth
Truth does not fear investigation. If something can be destroyed by truth, it deserves to be destroyed. Truth is truth even if no one believes it. A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. Truth is not determined by majority vote, truth is determined by God. Truth is defined in His Word and we as Christians must stand for truth. There is no such thing as “a harmless lie.” Lies bind, they bring bondage. Lies destroy. Love stands up for God. Love stands against evil.
Biblical Love is Built on Truth
The Biblical definition of love is so different from what is taught today. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12. “Let brotherly love continue.” Hebrews 13:1. “If you really fulfill the royal Law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ you do well.” James 2:8. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” 1 Peter 1:22. Love comes from studying the Truth of God's Word, obeying the Truth and it needs to come from a pure heart with fervency. This is not compatible with apathy, passivity, neutrality, or tolerance of evil.
God is Love and Light
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7. God is love, but love is not God. God is light. God is just. He is a God of wrath, a God who hates evil. Today people play a word game, saying: God is love, therefore love is God. “It cannot be bad if it feels so good.” Many justify anything that their emotions feel good about, in that moment, because they want to be “true to their hearts.”
Much of the world media twists and distorts “love”, to embrace homosexuals who want to get “married.” Apostate ministers are saying: how can you deny them marriage equality, saying, love is of God and those who oppose homosexual marriage are unloving. It is not love, it is lust and defiling and disobedient to Scripture. It is against God, that is why there is a lot of hostility towards Christianity. They are not after marriage equality, they are after marriage destruction and the destruction of the family. The family is the basic building block of the family and many are trying to break it down.
True Love is Measured by Sacrifice
Jesus gave us the definition of true love. True love is measured by sacrifice. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13, is on many a war memorial and tombstone. To give your life for someone is the greatest act of love. Jesus is our ultimate Example of the supreme Sacrifice.
What Can Separate us From the Love of Christ?
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loved us. We are called to be conquerors, not to be passive, inactive, neutral, silent and tolerant of evil. Greater is He who is in us than him who is in the world. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
The Love of Christ Compels Us to Evangelise
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14. When we recognise that all those that Christ died for, are worthy of our energy and effort to reach, evangelise and disciple.
We Belong to God
“…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. We belong to God because He created us. We belong to Christ because He gave His life for us. He bought us with a price. God made us and He redeemed us. We are twice bought over.
Christ Suffered for Us
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2. The love of Christ is especially seen in His willingness to suffer injustice, abuse, rejection, illegal trial, flogging, scourging, crucifixion and death, becoming sin for us and suffering the punishment we deserved. That is love in action. True love is measured by sacrifice. That is our example.
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16. A life of sacrificial service to others and to God is love in action. Love is seen in service. Love is seen in action. Love is seen in sacrifice.
“Hold fast the pattern of sound Words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13. Love is holding fast to the Word of God, against any opinions and assertions of men. God demonstrates his own love towards us and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). We can see it, it was demonstrated in action, by sacrifice.
To Love God is to Obey His Commandments
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5. “…what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12. Love is linked with obedience and service. If you love Me, Jesus says, you will obey My Commandments.
The Degradation of Love Today
How far has the concept of love fallen in the minds of many Christians and the church in general, to now equate tolerating what God calls an abomination and accepting that which God says He hates?
God Hates Evil
“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood...” Proverbs 6:16-17. People have criticised us for marching in our pro-life march to parliament, with a banner which says: “God hates the hands that shed innocent blood.” Proverbs 6:16 They say God does not hate anything. But there is a vast amount of Scripture in the Bible that tell us that God hates evil. God hates pride. Love must be completely sincere.
To Love God is to Hate Evil
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Proverbs 8:13. To love the Lord is to hate evil. How much clearer can that be? Some people have said, “I do not care what the Bible says, God does not hate evil!” What do they know about God that they can say a thing like that? They are idolaters. They have formed an unworthy idea of God and associated something to God that he is not. The only reliable source of information on God is Special Revelation in Scripture. We would not know anything about the nature of God without the Scripture. Some people have said: ‘My God would never condemn anyone to hell.’ My answer is, “Of course not, because your god does not exist. The God of the Bible does condemn evil.” So many people today have a distorted view of God and of love. It is not Biblical love if it tolerates evil.
Do You Hate Evil?
The Law is summarised in Psalm 119. Psalms is the prayer book of the Bible and the Hymnbook of the Bible, also the biggest and most quoted part of the Bible in the Gospels by our Lord Jesus. David is called, “A man after God's own heart.” David said: when I see the wicked, I am filled with anger. “Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:104. “…cursed, who stray from Your commandments.” Psalm 119:21. “Indignation has taken hold of me because of the wicked, who forsake Your Law.” Psalm 119:53. “I hate the double-minded, but I love Your Law.” Psalm 119:113. Those who do not hate evil demonstrate that they do not love God that much, nor do they love truth, nor their neighbour. If they did, they would hate that which blasphemes God, which murders the innocent and which is harming their neighbours. That is why we are told: “Who will rise up for Me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for Me against the workers of iniquity?” Psalm 94:16. Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength.” We are continually told in the Scriptures to love God and to hate evil. “Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful and fully repays the proud person.” Psalm 31:23
The Blessings of Obedience and the Curses of Disobedience
This is the theme of the Bible. God’s blessings are on those who are faithful to Him and God's curses are on those who rebel against Him. This is part of the Gospel. We need to teach that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.” It is a balance. You cannot appreciate the Good News, if you do not understand the bad news. You cannot appreciate the Love the God until you understand the Light and the Justice of God. Until people understand the severity of God's Judgement on the wicked, they are not going to accept grace and mercy. They do not even think they need it, because they think that they are “a good person.”
It is vital for us, as Christians, to get back to emphasising what Biblical love is. Love is not a feeling; it is an act of our will. Love is attitude and action; it is seen in sacrificial service. It is not soppy and soft sentimentality. Love has its feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel. In Romans, we read about putting on the breastplate of faith and love. A breastplate, or shield, is something strong, metal and able to withstand the assaults of the enemy, the fiery darts of the wicked one, arrows and spears and swords. Faith and love are a solid shield, a weapon in our warfare.
Love is Obedience to the Law of God
As Christians, let us not tolerate those perverting love and trying to get us to accept tolerance of evil, compromise of the Scriptures and lust as love. The only definition of love that counts is the Biblical definition and it is clear that God's love is never willing to tolerate evil, but rejoices in truth. True love is seen in the fulfilment of the Law (Romans 13:10).
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa