Feb 10, 2011 A New Heart for Love
Originally posted on June 12, 2007
The most basic command in the Bible is to love. And yet, the most basic human failure is to not love well. For example, Romans 12:9 tells us to love genuinely. The following verses give us twenty-five commands that express love. We have violated every one of these commands by either omission or commission. What a pitiful record of love we have. What are we going to do? Where will we find the love we are commanded to express to others?
The answer is in the gospel. This is how the prophet Ezekiel described the gospel, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27) The gospel is the message that God makes our hearts new and from the heart we obey His command to love.
Here’s the way this same gospel message is put by the Apostle Paul. “The goal of our instruction (the gospel) is love, from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (I Timothy 1:5) Again we are told that love comes from a new heart.
If we are to love as Christ loves us and as He has commanded us to love others, we must have hearts made new in three ways.
First, to love we must have a sincere faith. Our faith must be in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Our sins are forgiven and we are made right with God by faith in Christ. When we trust Christ in this way, He makes us new people. He changes our hearts. Love flows from this new heart.
Second, to love we must have a good conscience. Christ cleanses our conscience when He forgives our sins. Through active faith in Christ and obedience to Him we maintain a clear conscience before others. The clean heart is free to love.
Third, to love we must have a pure heart. Purity means a single focus on one love. This one love is Christ. When the heart is pure toward Christ, it takes on the character of Christ, which is love for others.
If we want to love well, we must tend to our hearts. Faith, forgiveness, and focus on Christ alone fills our hearts with love and produces a fountain of love for others.