“The One Who Remains in Love” (1 John 4:16, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Real love, genuine agape love is unconditional, period. If you doubt this truth, re-read Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth. He boldly tells the church – a church battling crippling sins – that “love is kind” and “keeps no record of wrongs.”

And in his first letter, John writes:

And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.

John doesn’t write, “The one who remains in God remains in love.” Rather, he turns it on its heels and states emphatically that “the one who remains in love remains in God.” You cannot hate people who you are able to see and touch while you claim to love God. You can not refuse to forgive others while expecting God to forgive you. Frankly love and hate are like oil and water – incompatible in the mix.

You can not be a Christian and hate people.

“Give Thanks For One Another” ( 2 Thessalonians 1: 3, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Our thanks are always due to God for you, brothers. It is right that we should thank Him, because your faith increases mightily, and the love you have, each for all and all for each, grows ever greater.”

 

Notice the attitude of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy towards their brothers in Christ as exhibited here in the beginning of their letter “to the congregation of Thessalonians who belong to God” (2 Thessalonians 1:1). They express gratitude to God for increasing faith and for love shared — “each for all and all for each.” They commend the Thessalonians “because [their] faith remains so steadfast under all [their] persecutions, and all troubles [they] endure.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4)

 

Paul, Silvanus and Timothy exhort this congregation to “never tire of doing right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13) And they write that “if anyone disobeys our instructions given by letter, mark him well, and have no dealings with him until he is ashamed of himself.” Then Paul clarifies, “I do not mean to treat him as an enemy, but give him friendly advice, as one of the family.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15)

 

We are not to treat one another as if we are enemies. For we are not enemies; we are members of the one family — the family of God. Instead, we are to be grateful to God for one another, for our mutual faith and our growing love for each other.