In chapter 13 of his book “Two Cities, Two Loves”, the late James Montgomery Boice writes about love:
We understand the preeminence of love if we see it in reference to the other marks
of the church. What happens when you take love away from them? Suppose you
subtract love from joy. What do you have? You have hedonism, an exuberance in
life and its pleasures, but without the sanctifying joy found in relationship to the
Lord Jesus Christ.
Subtract love from holiness. What do you find then? You find self- righteousness,
the kind of sinful self-contentment that characterized the Pharisees of Christ’s day.
By the standards of the day the Pharisees lived very holy lives, but they did not
love others and thus were quite ready to kill Jesus when he challenged their
Take love from truth and you have a bitter orthodoxy. The teaching may be right,
but it does not win anyone to Christ or to godliness. Take love from mission and
you have imperialism. It is colonialism in ecclesiastical garb.
Take love from unity and you soon have tyranny. Tyranny develops in a
hierarchical church where there is no compassion for people or desire to involve
them in the decision-making process, only determination to force everyone into
the same denomination or to get them to back the “program.”
Now express love and what do you find? All the other marks of the church follow.
What does love for God the Father lead to? Joy. We rejoice in God and in what he
has done for us. What does love for the Lord Jesus Christ lead to? Holiness. We
know that we will see him one day and will be like him. “Everyone who has this
hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (I Jn 3:3). What does love for the
Word of God lead to? Truth. If we love the Word, we will study and therefore
inevitably grow into a fuller appreciation of God’s truth. What does love for the
world lead to? Mission. We have a message to take to the world. Where does love
for our Christian brothers and sisters lead? To unity. By love we discern that we
are bound together in the bundle of life that God has created within the Christian
In what ways can you show Christian love? Please post it on the comments.