The Loveless Gospel
Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? How can the gospel be loveless?
If you removed love from the gospel you wouldn’t have a gospel
Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? How can the gospel be loveless? If you removed love from the gospel you wouldn’t have a gospel.
I was scrolling through some FaceBook posts the other evening, and I saw an evangelist who posted:
“Jesus never said to preach love. He said to preach repentance and remission of sins.”
As I read through the comments, I noticed very few people disagreed with his post but the vast majority agreed. I have to say it was fascinating to read so many people’s opinions of the gospel.
It dawned on me as I was reading their views that many of these people including the evangelist who made the original post believed in a loveless gospel.
Of course, what the evangelist said was patently false.
The fact that he and so many of his FaceBook friends believed it to be true showed me they were clueless about what the gospel is all about.
Let’s examine the evangelist’s original premise that Jesus didn’t tell people to preach love and He said to preach repentance and remission of sins. The first part of his statement is utterly false and the second part is partially true. In fact, to ignore the love component in the gospel makes it virtually impossible to do two things:
1. Bring people to repentance
2. Help them understand why God forgave them of their sins
I can’t tell you how many people have asked me, “Why would God forgive me?” when I declared God had forgiven them of all their sins. There is only one answer to that question — He loves you! Jesus, in John 3:16 revealed the motive behind the cross was God’s great love for people.
Before the Gospels were written, they were called “oral traditions.” They were preached and taught publicly. So it would only make sense that a passage like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son” would have been proclaimed to unbelievers since it lies at the heart of the gospel message.
The Apostle of love
The apostle John was nicknamed among Bible scholars and theologians the “apostle of love” because his Gospel and Epistles are filled with references and insights into God’s love –how and why God loves us.
In 1 John 3:11, John writes,
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (KJV).
How did they hear this if it wasn’t preached to them?
In fact, what John is reminding them of is what Jesus instructed them to preach and teach as part of the gospel when He gave them the Great Commission.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19–20).
In verse 20, Jesus told His disciples to teach all nations those things He had “commanded” them. He gave them a number of commandments to keep and remember. One was about the communion that most churches still practice today. However, one of the most important commands of Jesus was what He called a “New Commandment.”
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34–35, KJV).
So we can clearly see that the disciples were not only commanded to preach and teach God’s love, they were equipped to live it out as a reality. They could say the same thing to unbelievers as Jesus said to them,
“As the Father has loved me so have I loved you” (John 15:9, ESV).
Clearly, the idea that Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to preach love is false. In no way can you remove love from the gospel and still have a gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not loveless. Rather, it overflows with God’s abundant love. Besides, God is love. Therefore, how can you not preach a message that resonates with His character throughout? How do you tell people about Jesus when He said when you see me you see the Father who is LOVE? (John 14:9, KJV)
Showing people Jesus is introducing them to real love.
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