Marc writing about the importance of letting our identity in the gospel shape our actions.
Let’s redefine what love is. There are so many opposing and shallow loves we see, hear about and even experience.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1st Corinthians 13:1-8
“By this we know love, that Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 1 John 3:16
That is quite different to loving pizza.
Good works without the true love of Christ is meaningless.
If you let action overtake your identity, you will live a life that is works based. You will strive to earn salvation and attempt to cover up sin with good works; that’s not how the gospel works. It is centered around what Christ has done and the love that was poured out in all of its fullness.
We could do all the good works in the world, give away all our money and all our possessions, pray for 1,000 people today, but without love, Paul says it’s meaningless. When doing the dishes for your mom, without love, there is no meaning in your service. When reading your bible, without the love rooted in the gospel, you are not truly understanding the weight of love. When going to a Wednesday Night, you should go because you are loved and so you can love Christ and others. When speaking the gospel to an unbeliever, you must know that love is the foundation of salvation. When praying for someone in need, love must your intention.
Following Christ is not about our perfection, but his. It is a cycle of love that motivates us in good works. His love for us is greater, deeper, wider, stronger, more powerful than anything else, therefore we have the ability to love him in return.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25
We are not alone in this. We must remember the gospel (which is the confession of our hope) and then we are called to push each other towards LOVE first, then good works. Once we recognize how loved we are, the good works will just happen. Let the grace of Christ transform you.
It was the perfection of Jesus’ love that spurred him to the cross, and we are free to do good because of this love.