19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen
1 Corinthians 16:19-23 ESV
Here is a classic case of Paul the Apostle, being…well Paul the Apostle.
My man begins by sending a nice greeting to his brothers and sisters in Christ, before ending his first letter to the Corinthians. Declaring to the people how he wrote this letter with his own hands and exhorting them through the love of Christ!
Than all of a sudden…
In the middle of this beautiful greeting, He decides to drop a bomb.
If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!
People who do not love God are cursed <— that’s essentially what Paul is saying here.
All in all, no one (at least I assume so) wants to be accursed by God, in this life and the life to come.
Otherwise we would never be justified before Him as mentioned in Galatians 3:10-14
So let’s look at the condition: If anyone has no love for the Lord….
What does it mean to love God exactly?
When many of us hear this question we often jump to scriptures like:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments
John 14:15 ESV
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him
John 14:21 ESV
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
John 14:23 ESV
All these scriptures are truthful and hold incredible merit.
However many at times we read these scriptures and automatically jump to conclusions like…
“Ok, I really need to get good at this loving God thing. Let me make an effort and try my hardest to obey God today. This way, by the end of the day I’ll be more assured of my love for Him.”
The problem of this mindset is that we are chasing the proof of our love, rather than love itself.
What do I mean by this?
One afternoon, a young man named Jeff decides to propose to his long time girlfriend Mary.
He goes above and beyond to make the most elaborate of elaborate proposals ever known to man.
We’re talking flowers, chocolate, FRIED CHICKEN, the whole nine yards.
As Jeff gets on one knee, his soon to be fiance, overwhelmed with emotions, bursts into tears, cuts him off mid sentence and declares
“I will marry you!”
Mary, now looking at her a beautiful ring, smiles uncontrollably and asks Jeff
“This is the greatest day of my life! You put so much thought into this, why did you make it so special?”
Jeff then utters these piercing words in a monotonic tone:
“I’ve been dating you for 8 years.
I’m a man.
Men are supposed to propose beautifully to their girlfriends after an appropriate period.
Men are supposed to propose get married and reside in the same home as their spouse.
This is what I’m supposed to do.
As a man, this was my obligation, hence why I proposed.”
I think it’s safe to assume you guys know what’s wrong with Jeff’s response.
No want, no desire no passion for Mary.
Just a man fulfilling his “mandatory” obligations…
Now before yall begin to hate on my boy Jeff, we have to understand this.
Many of us who declare to be Christians face this same dilemma in regards to God.
Fam I would love to…but the way my faith works I can’t get drunk, my bad.
Bro you know I got church in the morning, otherwise I’d be at that strip joint with you all night.
I need to read my Bible and pray tonight, it’s my obligation as a Christian
Notice the first statement read “I would LOVE to…but…”
God is concerned about the “LOVE” aspect. In other words whether or not you truly desire Him.
The problem is, many us chase the validation of our salvation, rather than salvation itself.
Consider this passage:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
John 3:18-19 ESV
The judgement that Jesus speaks of is not so much the actions of the unrighteous.
The judgement was rather that the people LOVED darkness over the light (which is Jesus –> John 8:12)
Evil works/ disobedience to God is simply a RESULT of a heart that loves darkness over Christ.
Question to think about….are God’s commandments delightful to you?
Or are they simply a tangible means to test your current faith level?
Scripture also says..
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:2-3 ESV
Loving God is beyond robotically obeying His commands.
Loving God is desiring Him and trusting His word above your own, and obeying His commands as a result of your heart for Him
Here’s another one:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 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. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV
Speaking in tongues…(1 Corinthians 14:1-5)
The prophetic…(1 Corinthians 14:1-5)
Having all faith…(Hebrews 11:1-6)
Giving away all that you have…(2 Corinthians 8)
Being burnt as a martyr for Christ…(Matthew 5:10)
All these things bring glory to God, however without love they amount to nothing.
The question to answer is then, how do we attain a heart that desires God?
26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules
Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV
This is a promise, prophesied in the Old Testament to all those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Only He can transform our hearts to love God, totally and authentically, leading to a life of obedience.
This doesn’t mean obedience will always be easy…but it will surely begin to flourish in the lives of those who genuinely have faith in Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria