|by Robert Dodson
A favorite song of mine since childhood has been "Jesus Loves Me." In at least two places the Bible explicitly speaks of the love of Jesus for mankind and for each individual (1 John 3:16; Gal. 2:20). Unfortunately, many have not understood and abused Christ's love to justify every false way.
The love of Jesus does not justify those in the wrong, even if they are sincere. If one is sincerely wrong, he is still wrong. Take for example Saul of Tarsus. Though sincere in his persecution of the church (Acts 23:1), he was tragically wrong in this action. Without coming to Christ in obedience to the gospel he was still lost in his sins (Acts 22:16). Sincerity alone is not good enough when it comes to one's physician. A doctor may in all sincerity misdiagnose a patient, but as a result the patient may get worse or even die. Why do so many think sincerity alone is good enough in religion, but nowhere else?
The love of Jesus will not justify unrepentant sinners. Too many say, "we are all sinners" and go on in their sin assuming Jesus' love will automatically take care of everything. It is true that we all have sin (Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:8), but Jesus demands repentance! "Unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3; cf. Acts 2:38; 2 Cor. 7:10). Christians cannot continue to live as they once did, but must live for Christ (Rom. 6; Eph. 4:17ff; Col. 3:1ff).
The love of Jesus cannot allow one to bypass obedience. Those who do not submit to the Lord often refer to those who call for obedience as legalist or holier than thou. However, it is not wrong nor hypocritical to tell people what they need to be told (Acts 20:20, 27). It is right to warn the disobedient (2 Pet. 2; Jude). Jesus is "the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Heb. 5:9). Read Jesus' own warnings (Mat. 7:21; Luke 6:46) and remember Paul's words (2 The. 1:7-9).
The love of Jesus does not permit unauthorized worship. Many want to turn the worship of God into entertainment for the masses. They do not mind altering God's way and introducing man's innovations into worship. The worship of the church never included the mechanical instrument of worship (check your New Testament). Yet, one preacher who sought to justify its use said, "Jesus didn't die for instrumental music." Hebrews 10:29 reminds us that Jesus' blood confirmed His covenant. He died to bring into effect the New Testament. When men violate or go beyond what is written there they trample under foot the Son of God (Hebrews 9:16-18, 23; 10:19-31; 1 Cor. 4:6; 2 John 9-10). God still seeks "true worshippers" who "will worship the Father in spirit and truth" (John 4:23-24).
The love of Jesus does not do away with hell. Those who think Jesus would never send anyone to an eternal fire need to read their Bibles again (Mat. 25:31-46). The same Bible that speaks of heaven, speaks of hell and Jesus speaks of it more than anyone else (Mat. 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; Jam. 3:6).
Jesus' love demands a proper response from everyone (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Hear His invitation to come, learn of Him and submit to His easy yoke and you shall find rest for your souls (Mat. 11:28-30).
© 1999 Robert Dodson.
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