What if we lived as though we truly believed people who didn't know Jesus were going to hell?
Romans 13:8 hit me right between the eyes recently. It says, "Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law."
My friends over at the Los Angeles Dream Center have a phrase for this, "Love people until they ask, why?"
I believe that Christ-like love is boldly evident and completely sacrificial.
We love people best, when we are exploring the overwhelming depths of Christ’s love for us, both personally and consistently.
I love that this verse contradicts itself right from the jump, "Do not owe anyone anything, EXCEPT..."
Often times, we stop before we get to those key mandate words, (but, except, however...)
It said, "Your salvation [Pedro] does not exclude you from being a sinner, it includes you in God's redemptive story of grace."
The moment we forget that Christ died for us is the moment we remove ourselves from the story of grace. I am not trying to imply pre-destination or any sort of theological meaning to this...I am merely touching on the fact that we are sinners who have fallen short.
We have been mandated to love one another; therefore we can't remove ourselves from needing and relying on Christ's love for us.
Sometimes, I try to love people my own way. It always ends ugly. I try to love my wife in my own way; it ends up being poison to our marriage. But when I daily recount God's love for me and remind myself that grace forces me into God's redemptive story, then and only then can I love well.
My pastor recently said, "You bring nothing to your relationship with Christ except the sin that makes it necessary."
This statement shouldn't discourage us. If anything it should help us lean on the fact that the gospel is the power of God, for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
This causes me to point people to Christ and love people in light of my own personal reliance on Him.
The law was given to convict us of sin and remind us that we will never measure up. It's from this place we see God's love and can't help but love others in the same way.
Are we allowing the implications of our sin to keep our hearts fixed on Christ in such a way that we can't help but give the world what we owe them: Christ-like love?