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Pure love

March 2017 | by Luther Chaplin

Christian, your body is for the Lord! It is the temple of the Holy Spirit, whom you have from God; and you are not your own (1Corinthians 6:19). And that mind of yours is not for just anything; it is for loving the Lord your God (Mathew 22:37). Uncleanness is not for you.

You are like my friend who had to go gluten-free, due to coeliac disease. He loved the smell of a bakery and knew that almost everyone else was enjoying gluten products without any problem. But the appetite in him and the prevailing behaviour around him, did not mean gluten was suddenly OK for him.

It was out of bounds and would do him no good. And nothing changes the fact that sexual immorality and all uncleanness are simply out of bounds for a Christian. They will only harm us.

Extravagant love

But love: now that isn’t out of bounds. Extravagant love? That’s OK. Love which will stop at nothing, and which pervades every hour of our lives? Actually, the more love, the better. Paul says in Ephesians 5, ‘Walk in love’. Let it be your way of life, as long as it is the truest and best kind of love.

The kind of love for us is not the kind that can be an excuse for sexual impurity. That is why there is a ‘but’ in Ephesians 5: ‘But fornication, and all uncleanness and covetousness, let it not even be named among you’.

So, what is it to walk in love? It doesn’t mean follow your heart whenever it feels ‘love’. Anna and Charlie are spending time together. They feel that they love each other and want to kiss. Kissing makes them feel even more in love; and now they want to go to the next level to express it. Tragically, while there are so many like them, there are so few who will give them good advice.

‘How well do you really know this person?’; ‘you must realize that true love is patient, selfless and careful’; ‘God gave marriage for very good reasons!’ But Anna and Charlie must remember that there are different kinds of love and our hearts can deceive us in this matter.

‘Walk in love’ does not mean ‘love everybody with the same kind of love’. Biblical love is thoughtful, and remembers who the other person is. The voice of true love sometimes has to say, ‘You are not my spouse. Your body and heart do not belong to me! I must remember that’.

The terrible thing about lust is that, instead of recognising another person for what they are — a human being made by God and for God, just as I am — it says, ‘You are my toy! You are an object for my pleasure’. How sick that is! May God deliver us from every trace of lust.

Sacrificial love

But ‘walk in love’ does mean ‘follow Christ and his love’. Jesus’ short life here on earth was the most love-filled life in history. The high point of love in his incarnate life was not to see his grandchildren grow up, much less experience the physical intimacy of marriage. These are blessings given to some, but not all — and not Jesus of Nazareth.

But the climax of love in that most love-filled life was when ‘he gave himself for us’. We can learn so much from this! ‘We also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren’ (1 John 3:16).

May the Lord fill ourlives with pure love. And as for uncleanness, may we also remember that there is always abundant cleansing and forgiveness for unclean people like us, when we come back to the never-failing love of Christ.

Luther Chaplin

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