2 CORINTHIANS 2:8 – So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.
THEME OF THE DAY. PUT FEET ON IT. Sometimes in reading our Bibles we may quickly rush over verses which don’t really seem to say much on the surface, but if pondered, say a lot. Today’s scripture is one of them. The setting is the Apostle Paul pleading to the Corinthians to grant forgiveness to a man in their church guilty of serious sin. He is afraid these believers are being too harsh on the repenting man; a harshness that might show itself in a reluctance to forgive. By the way, that is a good lesson to learn. Where true love exists, Christ’s love in His people, forgiveness is not only possible, but will occur. No forgiveness means no love. Remember that when someone sins against us, hurts us, and in our pain we might be tempted not to forgive. I cannot stress this enough. If we are Christians, we are Christians who forgive – all offenses against us, all the time. But that isn’t the lesson today.
As Paul displays his concern to these believers, he uses strong language to remind them of what it truly means to be a Christian, and what it truly means to be a Christian is to love people; all people and especially God’s people (John 13:34-35). In doing so, the apostle is not making a suggestion. He is pleading. He is begging. He is passionate that the Corinthian church would understand and apply the chief mark of being a Christian – loving people, and especially wounded, hurting people, like this repentant man, who desperately needed to be loved.
Friends, our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and churches are full of suffering and hurting people. These suffering and hurting people are both unbelievers and believers. And the only “cure” for the suffering and hurt is for the love of God to grab them, change them, and heal them. Nothing else will do. Why? Because God has determined from creation that the only thing to satisfy the human heart is Himself and His love. He has also determined that the way He is revealed, and His love, is by His Son through His church. We are responsible and privileged to proclaim to the suffering and hurting masses all around us the love of God. The question is “Are we being God’s instruments to bring the healing power of His love in His Son to them?” One of my favorite preachers is Alistair Begg. He said recently, “Love takes the initiative” or we might say, “Love has feet on it” and that is a great truth for us to ponder. The Apostle John writes, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Our profession of loving people is only a confession of hypocrisy if we are not loving people by action. The Bible knows nothing of a love that doesn’t display itself in acts of personal sacrifice in meeting the needs of people, especially God’s people. And this is not something forced, but is a natural outflow of being a person changed by the Gospel.
This change by the Gospel of Jesus Christ is called the “power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:17) and this power is displayed in what it accomplishes in a person. When an individual hears the Gospel, is granted and exercises repentance and saving faith, the Bible says that individual is “born again.” And the power of the new birth is that it changes a person from being selfish and consumed with self to being selfless consumed with loving Christ and people. This is always the chief mark in the newly born person – a love for God and people that begins to take control and directs a person away from a life of sinful occupation with self-interests, self-pursuits, self-exaltation, self-satisfaction and self-fulfillment. Basically, the power of the Gospel is the power to deliver a person from his or her greatest spiritual foe – the person greeted each morning in the mirror.
So, as we go about our day, let’s be sensitive to all the suffering and hurting people around us. And may that sensitivity lead us to “put feet” on our love to them in showing them Him who is love.
PRAYER: “Father, help me display the highest evidence that I am Your child – loving Your people in word and deed.”
QUOTE: “The Gospel changes a person from being consumed with self to be consumed with loving others”