Summary: To help us to understand a little more the greatness of God's love and how we are to love.
By Dewayne Bolton
I Corinthians 13: 1-13
Love is the greatest thing in the world; this is so because it comes from the greatest person in the world. When God created man and breathed into him the breath of life He also breathed into him the capacity to love, as well as the desire to be loved. Love is a two Way Street where one gives love and receives love. Therefore, love is never selfish, but always desiring to share itself with someone else. In I Corinthians chapter 13 Paul gives perhaps the greatest description of love. I don’t have time to go through an analysis of Paul’s description of love so will go directly to the subject: RADICAL LOVE.
In developing this subject I want to pause and give a concise definition of the two words that form the title of this message. First, the word radical is going beyond moderation, going beyond the norm, and going to the root or origin of a matter. Second, love is a deep and enduring emotional regard for another person.
GOD’S LOVE IS A RADICAL LOVE
God is long-suffering because He is unwilling to let one soul go to hell without doing everything He can to keep that soul out of hell. He is not only slow to anger, but will not keep His anger forever. His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, that is eternities without end. He is willing to fully and freely forgive every sin. This is illustrated in the parable of Jesus that is recorded in Luke 7: 40-43. There Jesus tells of a creditor which had two debtors, and when they could not pay, the creditor frankly (that is freely and fully forgave them). Jesus tells this parable to illustrate to us that God the Father forgives us our sin. The Psalmist tells us He casts our confessed sins into the sea of His forgetfulness never to be remembered against us anymore.
God shows us how radical His love is when He tells He is going to take the heart of stone out of us and replace it with a new heart of flesh, and then put His Holy Spirit in the new heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26-27). However, this heart transplant Jesus wants to do can only be done by the consent of our will. No medical doctor, no matter how great a surgeon he is, or how renowned he is, can operate on you without the consent of your will. Jesus asks us for the consent of our will. He asked the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda if he wanted to be made whole. When the man said yes, Jesus made him whole (John 5: 6).
Jesus illustrated radical love in that he was willing to come to this world and suffer untold agony and shed every drop of his blood to fill the fountain with his own precious blood that we may plunge in and be made free from sin. Jesus’ radical love is seen in the fact that He could have called ten thousand angels to pull the nails from his hands and set Him free, but He died alone for you and me.
Jesus illustrated radical love when He said to the woman taken in adultery, neither do I condemn thee go and sin no more. Radical love is futher illustrated by both, the Father and the Son, when they sent the Holy Spirit into this world, and to our life to convict us of sin. Not only to convict of righteousness and judgment to come, but to witness to our heart that God had heard our prayer for forgiveness and sent the Holy Spirit to witness to the fact. Romans 8:16 tells us that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God and that we have been adopted into the great, big, wonderful family of God. Then the Holy Spirit is to comfort our heart when in sorrow because of the many things we have to go through. To teach us the things of God so we can better and more fully exemplify Him better.
Radical love is love that forgives offenses as many times as they are committed. It is a love that exceeds reasonable boundaries. In fact radical love has no boundaries. It will wrap its arms around the wicked, vile, and the most contemptible just as quickly as it will the most cultured and refined person. With radical love abiding in the heart everyone is on the same level for there is no such thing as a low down or cast out people. Jesus shows this when He reaches out to the lepers and healed them.
There are two parables Jesus used to illustrate radical love best. The first is the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. In this story we learn radical love doesn’t concern itself with where its love has been neither what it has been doing. The primary interest is the return of its love. The father of the prodigal never once asked the son where he had been nor what he had been doing. Notice the fathers’ first reaction when he saw his son a great way off, he ran to him, threw his arms around him, and began to kiss him. Even while the son was trying to make his confession of his sin the father was barking orders to different servants. To one he said bring the best robe and put it on him, to another put a ring on his finger, to another put sandals on his feet, still to another go kill the fatted calf and let us eat and be merry for this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found. I don’t think the father ever heard the words of confession of his son. Radical love, demonstrated here, was too busy rejoicing in the fact that his son had come home. Jesus also said in like manner the angels of heaven rejoice over the fact that one sinner has been saved.