August 15, 2009

Only Love



--Love Is Blind, by Garden of Gloom














"To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy..." --Jude, verse 24


For I am finding out that love will kill and save me
Taking the dreams that made me up
And tearing them away.
But the same love will take this heart that's barely beating
And fill it with hope beyond the stars.
Only love.
---The Beauty and The Tragedy, Trading Places

I sometimes wonder if those of us with more conservative theological beliefs (original sin, the atonement on the cross, blood redemption, belief in a literal heaven and hell, bodily resurrection, inspiration of Scripture) forget about love.

In the passage from Jude, the writer says we will be presented in God's presence without fault, but also with great joy! God loves us so much that there will be great joy when we are finally in His uninterrupted presence and made perfect. It hasn't happened, but it will, and the anticipation of it should warm our hearts and our spirits.

Jesus said "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." --Mark 8:35

I don't know what the writers of Trading Yesterday's "The Beauty and Tragedy" had in mind when they wrote the lyrics of this song, but the line "love will kill and save me" jumped out at me as a picture of the gospel. We really have to give up many of the dreams we have and let Christ remake us. Isn't that really the message of the gospel... being reborn and remade? The freedom to begin again, no matter where we've been, what we've done, who we've been, is the gospel message.

So, for all our of talk about justification, sanctification, redemption, salvation, holiness, repentance, and all of the other big words, it really boils down to this: only love. God's love brings all of the offerings of eternal life--beginning now, not after we die--and His love in our hearts responds with joy.

Only love.

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