Love for all the saints

So what is the big deal about love for the saints?

What is all the fuss about?

The apostle Paul considered it worthy enough to give thanks to God the father for it always when praying for the Colossian Christians. (Colossians 1:2)

Note, the three things that the apostle Paul gave thanks for as detailed in this passage were no petty matters but huge pillars of the Christian faith – faith, hope and love.
In the previous post we saw how our faith in Christ for which he gives thanks alongside love for the saints is more precious than gold and worth our daily and calculated investment to nourish and sustain it ensuring that we do not end up abdicating it to the devil.

But what is the big deal about “love for all the saints”? Where does love for all the saints fit into our Christian life?  Why is this love for all the saints so important?

Firstly, keeping in mind that saints are all those who professed a saving faith and committed their lives to Christ no matter what previous lives and backgrounds they came from, love for all the saints is speaking about loving all believers of every race, culture, ethnicity, background and persuasion as referred to by him in 1 Corinthians 1:2 as “…all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”

This love is not based on anything we have in common but singularly on our faith in Christ Jesus and the position it affords us. It is, as the apostle further qualifies in Colossians 1:8 “love in the Spirit”, i.e. not in the natural, doesn’t come naturally but is Spirit initiated and generated and therefore cannot be shaped or restricted by our natural likes and dislikes.So, why is this love so important and worthy of giving thanks to God always?

  1. Love is the very essence of God – John 4:16  “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  Love is God’s very essence without which He ceases to be.
  2. To love our fellow brothers and sisters is a direct command of Christ – John 13:34  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” 
  3. Christlike love for the brethren is the hallmark of genuine discipleship  – John 13:35  “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  4. It is is the visible manifestation of God in our midst  1 John 4:12  “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”      
  5. Love is what gives value and meaning to all our works and service without which they amount to nothing 1 Corinthians 13:2  “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
    Galatians 5:6  “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” 
  6. It is unfailing – 1 Corinthians 13:8
    “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”
  7. It is the greatest out of the the three abiding qualities of faith, hope and love -1 Corinthians 13:13   “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
The type and quality of this love which we are commanded to have for the saints has been defined by Christ in His life and works while here on earth. Here is how He qualifies the love we are to have for one another in his command to us in John 13:34 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

We are to love one another as Christ loved us – unconditionally and sacrificially.

This is how we too are to love one another – without condition and ready to go out of our way for each other. It is the Holy  Spirit who pours God’s love into our hearts with which are then to love our brothers and sisters. You see the love that we are meant to express is an overflow of that which we have received in our hearts, it is the love of God that we have experienced for ourselves we are able to share.

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.         Romans 5:5

It is as we grow in our understanding and experience of God’s love for ourselves that our love for our brethren grows.  And order for this love to further grow and manifest, sharing our lives with one another (not only church services!) and actively maintaining community  is also absolutely vital- which is what the 1st century disciples did:  “… continuing steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles, and the fellowship, and the breaking of the bread, and the prayers.”  Acts 2:42.

It is in the community of the saints that our very understanding of God’s love in all its fullness and dimension is deepened and expanded – Ephesians 3:17 – 19:

I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

We too are to follow the example of the first century Christians in sharing our lives and actively seeking to foster togetherness in everything we have and do if we are to love as Christ loved us and commanded us to love one another.

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.      Hebrews 10:24 — 25
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