For many of the questions that we ask of God, there is either a verse, passage or a book within the Holy Book where we can find a satisfactory answer. But for a deeper question, we have to be prepared to look deeper. The title to this article may seem to have many answers. It might actually be argued that there is no one single answer to that question. It seems important that when Jesus was asked, "What is the greatest commandment?" He gave an answer that to some may have its root in the Old Testament and be strongly tied to the ten commandments. He said in the New Testament, that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart and that we should also love our neighbor as ourselves.
It has been proven that our love for God or our love of God does not get us into heaven, and certainly we cannot go to heaven by loving our neighbor. Yet the Lord throughout the scripture has approached the subject of Love in a variety of ways. He tells us to love Him, He tells us to love our brother, He tells us to love our neighbor, Husbands are instructed to love their wives even as they love themselves, He even tells us to love our enemy. Mt. 5:44
You and I know that no one can be told or ordered to love some one else and expect it to happen by command. Something has to happen to make that possible. Loving God, could be summed up by the verse that says, "we love him, because he first loved us."
I do find in my own heart that my Love for Jesus and my Father grows stronger every day. It seems to draw most of its strength as I learn more of His love for me. As I know more of His love for me, I see the possibility and potential of loving my neighbor, my brother, my wife and even my enemy. I am a long way from being able to use my own expertise in this matter. I do believe that the Lord puts more weight on this matter than we may realize. He did call it the greatest commandment in the New Testament.
Before I go any further, I would like to take a second or two to define love. God so loved the world. No one is excluded from the love of God, yet the Bible records that God has sent people to hell, and he is going to eventually send the majority of earths population to the Lake of Fire. Does that say that God doesn't love the world? God has dropped the hammer of judgment on the head of individuals. From being eaten by worms to being swallowed up by the earth itself. Does that fit our description of love? Many use these facts to question God's love. They are wrong!
God is not willing that any perish. He gave his only begotten son that we wouldn't have to perish. He said that all we have to do in order to be saved from judgment is to believe upon Jesus and to accept his death on the Cross in our place.
Now back to us who are commanded to love. It does not happen until we experience the love of God. There is no way to truly understand love until we understand God's love for us. He used a logical thought in stating that it is natural for one who has been forgiven of much to love him more. There is a couple of verses that refer to the fact that it is natural to return love for love. So we are down here on earth, in the midst of deterrents to natural love. Man's animosities, angers, and frustrations with each other has the opposite effect for him to be able to love as God commanded.
I believe the only place we can get true love for others especially is to get it from God himself. I would add here that it cannot be a one time inoculation, but regular dosage. I believe we need to see how much he loves us . (present tense!)
One more point. There is no way that we should confuse our command to love others with the condemnation of sin. We must not compromise and equate love with overlooking sin. We have no permission to ignore the sins of this world under the pretence of loving sinners. John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.