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Love means to obey

Gary Klatt, pastor, St. John Lutheran Church

We hear a lot of talk about love. But do we really know what love is? The apostle John writes, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He then adds, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Therefore love is defined by God, its Creator, and revealed in Jesus as He lived and died in obedience to His Father to accomplish the salvation of sinful mankind.
True love must be connected with the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a gift given to those who believe in the God of Holy Scripture. It can only be known and then shared by those who confess saving faith in Jesus. This love is illustrated in John 15 to be like a vine and branches. The vine is Jesus and the branches are believers. The branches can only bring forth fruit while being connected to the vine. If the branch becomes disconnected for any reason, it cannot produce fruit because it no longer has access to the nourishment that it takes to live and produce.
St. John elaborates further in his first epistle, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” (1 John 5:3). This doesn’t simply mean the Ten Commandments but all that He teaches in the whole of Scripture (Matt. 28:20). No one who believes in Jesus as Savior and Lord has the right to change what the Lord has said. Christians cannot redefine marriage from one man and one woman; or family as a father, mother, and children; or sexuality as male and female determined by God at birth; or many of the other changes that our sinful world is trying to pass as truth. God’s truth is unchanging just as He is. Anyone who tries to change this truth is not of God (1 John 2:15-17).
Again, man cannot love apart from God; therefore live the repentant life and let God remove from you the desire to live on your own terms. True love and happiness are gifts that God abundantly gives to His beloved followers for the sake of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
During this Lenten season visit God’s house for worship and have your hearts and minds cleansed with the forgiveness of sins earned for you by Jesus. Then as renewed people of God you will be equipped to do every good thing in love that is real and powerful and true.
God bless you and keep you in His abiding love forever.

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