Love one another as I have loved you
Christ is the source of love among Christians.
Jesus told His followers: A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love
one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you
have love for one another (John 13:34, 35).
This command was new because it tapped a source of love far
superior to any love the world had known before. In this the love
of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him (1
Love among Christians is exceptional because it is the very
love of Christ Himself. How can I not love a brother for whom Christ
died, as He also died for me? Together we are engulfed by the love
of Christ. Our hearts are knit together in love (Colossians 2:2).
This bond of love exists only among faithful followers of Christ.
The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy
Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5). At baptism we receive
the gift of the Spirit: Repent, and let every one of you be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). This depth of love is
found only among those who have been born again, born by water
and the Spirit (John 3:5, 7).
Gods love is in our hearts by the power of the Spirit. This
enables us to love others in a way that would be impossible
otherwise. Christians are able to love even their enemies! (Luke
We must cultivate this love to bring it to fruition. But whoever
keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected
[τετελείωται] in him (1 John 2:5).
The banner of Gods
love must be unfurled in our hearts by obedience.
Christians learn to love by following Christ.
Only by following Him can we love one another as He loved us.
We follow Christ by obeying Him and abiding in His love. These
things I command you, that you love one another (John 15:17).
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If
you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I
have kept My Fathers commandments and abide in His love (John
His commands define love and teach us how to love: By this
we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and
keep His commandments (1 John 5:2).
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all things
into Him who is the head - Christ - from whom the whole body,
joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to
the effective working by which every part does its share, causes
growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on
tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has
a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you
also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the
bond of perfection (Colossians 3:12-14).
Christians radiate the love of Christ.
When we love one another as Christ loves us, others can see
His love in us and recognize its Source. When we extend His love to
others, they can feel the love of Christ. His love spreads forth
through us to them.
Jesus tells His followers: You are the light of the world
(Matthew 5:14). He who loves his brother abides in the light (1
One purpose of the assembly is to stir up love (Hebrews
10:24). In the church of Christ there is a chain reaction of love.
Activated by Christ, Christians love each other and radiate His love
to all the world.
Christian love is self-sacrificing.
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I
have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down
ones life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I
command you (John 15:12-14).
Of Himself Jesus said: I am the good shepherd. The good
shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11).
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.
And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John
Christian love is abundant.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is
fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every
one of you all abounds toward each other (2 Thessalonians 1:3).
But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should
write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one
another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in
all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more
and more (1 Thessalonians 4:9, 10).
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to
one another and to all (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
Learning to love as Christ loves us is a life-long assignment.
His love is so immense that our love for one another never
measures up to His love for us. Thus we are admonished to
increase our love, to become more like Christ.
Christian love is genuine and benevolent.
But whoever has this worlds goods, and sees his brother in
need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God
abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue,
but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:17, 18).
Christian love is fervent and pure.
And above all things have fervent love for one another (1
Peter 4:8). Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth
through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another
fervently with a pure heart (1 Peter 1:22).
Christian love is humble and affectionate.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to
what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly
love, in honor giving preference to one another (Romans 12:9,
Christian love is patient and compassionate.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk
worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness
and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in
love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one
another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous (1 Peter
Love is the greatest good on earth.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest
of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Paul gives an overview of loves greatness by listing various
attributes: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love
does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely,
does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not
rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never
fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
The love of Christ has transforming power.
The love of Christ transformed James and John.
James and John were called sons of thunder when they first
came to Jesus (Mark 3:17). They wanted to call fire down from
heaven to destroy a Samaritan village that refused to provide
lodging for Jesus (Luke 9:54). Jesus chided them: You do not
know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not
come to destroy mens lives but to save them (Luke 9:55, 56).
James and John wanted to be exalted above the other
apostles: Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the
other on Your left, in Your glory (Mark 10:37). And when the ten
heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John
But James and John learned to love their fellow disciples as
Jesus loved them.
James was the first of the twelve to give his life for Christ.
Herod killed James the brother of John with the sword (Acts
When John wrote his Gospel he referred to himself as the
disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20). He had
learned that Christs love for us is the example to be followed.
In his letters he emphasizes love among Christians. For this is
the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should
love one another (1 John 3:11). By this we know love, because
He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives
for the brethren (1 John 3:16).
The love of Christ transformed Peter.
Before Peter learned the lesson of love, he thought he was
more faithful than anyone else: Even if all are made to stumble,
yet I will not be (Mark 14:29). Before morning light, he denied
Jesus three times.
After the resurrection, however, when Jesus asked Peter: Do
you love Me more than these? he no longer exalted himself, but
said simply: Yes, Lord; You know that I love You (John 21:15).
Peter emphasizes love among Christians in his letters. Love
one another fervently with a pure heart (1 Peter 1:22). Love the
brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17). Love as brothers (1 Peter 3:8).
Above all things have fervent love for one another (1 Peter 4:8).
Add to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness
love (2 Peter 1:7).
Through the centuries countless people have been transformed
by the love of Christ.
The love of Christ transformed Murray and Joe.
In Toronto, Canada, two boys were skipping stones through
the front door and down the aisle of the meeting place of a church
of Christ during services. The door was open because of the
summer heat. An older brother went out the back, circled around
behind the boys and gave them a choice: Do you want to come in
and sit quietly beside me for the rest of the service, or do you want
me to call the police? They decided to go in and sit beside him!
After services he told them they were always welcome.
On a subsequent Sunday, before services, one of the boys was
standing shyly up the street. The same brother motioned for him to
come and he came. The two boys started attending Sunday school.
Although they were unruly and disruptive because of their
background, Christians patiently showed them the love of Christ.
They also attended Omagh Bible Camp (and almost burned the
main building down).
Touched by the love of Christ, both became gospel preachers
and dedicated their lives to sharing Gods love with others. Murray
Hammond preached in Ontario. Joe Cannon became a missionary to
Japan and Papua New Guinea, and in later years (before his passing
in 2012) to Ukraine.
Let us cherish and nourish this blessing of love we share in Christ.
Christ is the source of love among Christians. We learn to love
by following His example and obeying His commands. He enables
us to radiate His love. Christian love is self-sacrificing, abundant,
genuine, benevolent, fervent, pure, humble, affectionate, patient
Let us obey the words of Christ: Love one another as I have
loved you. Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive