The wonderful truth that God is love is the foundation of everything (1John 4:8, 16). God, in His holiness, abhors sin. His attribute of love motivated His sending of His Son and His purposes of glory for Him. As well, that love has secured the wealth of blessings that we as believers enjoy.. That God is love is the bedrock, the foundation for all His grace and goodness to us. We exult in it and worship Him for it.
But when we affirm the great truth that God is love, we are not saying that love is God. That paradigm shift is the not-so-subtle error and deception which has now become the societal standard for judging the morality of any action. We are told by the modern ethicists of the day that love justifies everything. As long as love is the basis for a relationship, then it matters little whether it is according to the Scriptural pattern. Love has become the “god” which justifies relationships and actions.
Euthanasia, abortion, and a host of other societal ills are justified on the basis that they are the loving thing to do. Emotive ethics, deciding right and wrong on the basis of how it makes you feel, is the cancer which is rapidly destroying the fabric of western society. Individuals have risen to the bait of Satan and “become as God,” deciding for themselves what is good or evil.
Very often in human relationships, love is a misspelling for lust. The cheap, superficial soap-opera relationship which the media and the tabloids tout is far removed from Biblical love. Yet the masses eagerly and avidly follow and feed upon it. The new “norm” has been established.
Love is ultimately rooted in the character of God. It is a love which loves righteousness and hates lawlessness (Psa 45:6-7). It is a love which is sacrificial and selfless, not sensual or selfish. It is a love which always, unreservedly, seeks the very best for its object. It gives, and never demands anything in return. Paul’s eloquent ode to love in 1 Corinthians 13, while relating primarily to the assembly at Corinth and its problems, is a reminder of the true nature of love as seen in the character of God, and as reproduced in His people (Rom 5:5).
Love needs righteous principles to guide it; righteous principles, in turn, need love to motivate them. We must never become cold and Pharisaical in our preaching or practice of righteousness. Love for righteousness and righteous love must ever be wed.
We must always ground our ethics on the revelation of God, as known through His Word. We must never descend to any other basis for deciding right and wrong. As those who have put on the armor of light and have put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:12, 14), we are called to two great responsibilities: to reflect righteousness, and to represent Christ. The one cannot be divorced from the other. The armor of light is a holy life which protects us from the encroaching darkness; putting on Christ is living as He lived in this world.