Clothed in Love
September 1, 2011 § 2 Comments
Romans 13:8-14 leads us to the heart of Christian vocation. It can be summarized by a four letter word: love. The problem is that this four letter word took on so many different meanings and associations far removed from a Biblical understanding of love. In Biblical faith, love as the fulfillment of the law (13:8-10) and the embodiment of a particular lifestyle (13:11-13) took on a very specific meaning related to Jesus Christ (13:14). To love means to “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (13:14). Jesus Christ determines the definition of love. In that sense, Christian love has nothing to do with something sentimental or romantic. It is defined by God’s costly love of an only Son being sacrificed for the sins of others. What distinguishes sentimental and romantic understandings of love (as often portrayed in the popular culture of a secular world) from a Biblical understanding of love is its self-sacrificial nature. This is one of the biggest challenges for individual Christians and Christian churches, namely to illustrate and embody a self-sacrificial love that cost something for the sake of others who do not deserve it. Our faith is not a self-centered tool for the sake of gratifying our own natural desires, but an invitation out of our comfort zones into self-giving relationships with others.