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Everyone talks about love. Just about everywhere we turn, someone is talking about love. In fact, it may very well be the most popular thing in our culture—we just love to talk about love, yet never before has love been more exploited, nor has it ever been more distorted. Love has become a meaningless word. And instead of standing firm in love, many Christians have been duped by the world’s definition of love, which proclaims self rather than sacrifice.
According to the world, we love in order to be loved. According to the Word, we love because God first loved us. Whereas the world falls in love, God’s people are established in love. The love that we possess, however, is not a fleeting whim that comes and goes with every mood and circumstance; rather, it is a love that is beyond ourselves. Our love, true love, has meaning, meaning that cannot be stripped away by any thing, any one, or any feeling. Our love cannot be shaken because it is grounded not in self but in sacrifice.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). In His once-for-all sacrifice, Jesus Christ demonstrated true love, the true love of God. By this great demonstration of love, love has been defined, and no worldly deception can seduce it.
Nevertheless, many people have misunderstood God’s love. Whereas some believe that God loves everyone unconditionally, the Word of God teaches that God’s love has been poured out in the hearts of His people for whom Christ died, demonstrating His love. It is not that God’s love is limited. Indeed, His general love of benevolence is shown to all creation. His special love, however, is demonstrated to those He saves. His saving love is directly applied to His children, the sons and daughters of His kingdom.
For many, this subject is a difficult one, and we, the editors of Tabletalk, hope that this issue will encourage God’s people to know His love in all its splendor. In Himself, God is love; through Him, love is manifested, and by Him, love is defined. Therefore, as we seek to live coram Deo, before the face of God, we are confronted by the brilliance of God’s love for us, and we realize that God’s command to love Him with our entire being is not an option. On the contrary, we love Him precisely because He loves us. For this reason we sing, “Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.”