“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.” Luke 7:47.
Love changes things. The absence of love corrupts things. Love is the more excellent way. Love is the way of salvation. It is by love, that we are saved. That love comes by God, and only through God are we truly able to love.
God is love. In 1 John 4:8 it states that “he who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Did you catch that? God is love. Not God is a lot like love, or love is a lot like God. No. God is love. God is the very substance of love. Without God, we wouldn’t even know what love is. Now, I am not talking about temporal love, or erotic romantic love. I am talking about everlasting, always enduring, perfect love. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 kind of love. Love that is patient beyond measure.
Have you ever felt that kind of gracious love?
I ask, because that kind of love changes things. That kind of love changes the world. That kind of love is and always will change me. That kind of love moves people to have compassion, and mercy when it can seem down right impossible to give.
Occasionally I catch glimpses of this love in people, and when I do, I know it is from God, because of God. No matter where their relationship with God is, I know that kind of love only comes through God, because God is love.
When I look at the ministry of Jesus, I see it completely and totally marked by one thing. Love. Jesus Christ embodied love. He demonstrated love. He was and still is love.
Maybe this word love, eludes you like it eludes me, because culture has poisoned our minds with the love of things, romance, and chocolate. Recently, I have been studying sign language and one of the most amazing, eye opening things I realized is that grace and love embody the same sign in ASL. There is no difference. They are the same thing. And when you look at the ministry of Jesus, that is exactly what He did. He offered grace. Grace that changes everything.
Make no mistake, Jesus-kind of love is marked by grace. A grace that is patient, when there is a legitimate right to demand ones own way. A grace that is kind when there is a legitimate cause to be rude or selfish. A grace that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Grace never fails.
To love someone, truly love them, means to offer them grace, and love, which brings with it salvation. Those things only happen because of Jesus Christ. Those things only happen because God is love, and He is working in and through us. To be loved, is to experience this grace. I know in part, this kind of grace. I have experienced this kind of Jesus-like grace and it is changing me. Not just the love of Christ, but the love which only comes from Christ, working through other people. Sometimes unexpected people. So, it is by this kind of grace filled love that I am changed and am being changed into the image of God more and more each day. It is because God is love and Jesus demonstrated this love that I have experienced a measure of grace.
My sins, which are too many to name, are forgiven. I know this because I have experienced the gracious love of Christ and I am being transformed by it each and everyday.
And I will say this to you as well. Your sins, which might be many too, are forgiven as well. I pray that we might experience the fullness of this grace and then extend it to others. This is how we love. Love is how we change the world. Love is the more excellent way. Love, the God who is love, is the One and only true salvation in this world. Let us be saved by the kind of love that extends grace to others. Love God and love others.
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” Proverbs 10:12