Love, or charity, has rightly been called the “Queen of Christian graces.” Paul states, “the end of the commandment is charity” [l Timothy 1:5]. It is a grace essential to true godliness. Many believers could not discourse upon the deeper points of Christian doctrines, but all know something of love. It is the chief virtue.
A person may be great in faith, or be a notable philanthropist, or have outstanding wisdom and knowledge. He may be a gifted orator and expounder of God’s Word, but the absence of love negates the effectiveness of all these gifts.
Love is important, being the sum total of the law. The great commandment directs our love first to God and then to our neighbour. On these, said Jesus, hang all the law and the prophets [Matthew 22:40].
There are many mistaken views as to what love is. It does not involve just giving to the poor, as in the modem meaning of the word charity. It does not mean that one can never disapprove of another’s conduct or religious views. Sometimes the greatest expression of love is to point out the error and attempt to turn thein away from sin and towards the Lord.
There is also a strange love in some pulpits today that commends the wicked and condemns the righteous, that protects the guilty and exposes the innocent, that thrives on empty ritual but has lost touch with reality, which says “It is well” when the soul is in fact on the broad road to destruction. The Lord pronounces His woe upon such “love.”
The first expression of the Christian’s true love should be to the One who first loved us, Jesus Christ. Then it should extend to our family members, those of the household of faith, and the ungodly whom we hope to reach with the Gospel message. Love is the root of all true Christian service. “The love of Christ constraineth us” [ll Corinthians 5:14].