Love Isn't All You Need

It's just a good start.

Posted by David Wyatt on August 18, 2021 · 5 mins read
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:21-25

“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” - John Lennon

Lennon was quoted as saying this in an article that appeared in the London Evening Standard on March 4, 1966. Then in 1969, The Beatles released the Magical Mystery Tour. That album contained the song “All You Need Is Love”, in which Lennon, Paul McCartney, Paul James, and John Winston wrote, ‘All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”

I’m sorry to burst the bubble of all the Beatles fans out there, but Mr. Lennon was wrong on all counts. Christianity hasn’t vanished and love isn’t all you need. Unfortunately, it seems many churches across the world have latched onto the “love is all you need” mantra Lennon et al proclaimed.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

For all you folks having a fit over the title of this post … just breathe. Yes, God’s love is amazing. The Bible, from beginning to end, is the greatest love story ever told. But even though God loves each of us personally with an unquestioned and unimaginable love, we’ll each die and spend eternity in hell if that’s all we’re counting on. Because God’s love isn’t all that’s required for our salvation.

The inspired writings of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament can often be difficult to fully understand, as the Apostle Peter pointed out in 2 Peter 3:15-16. But in 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul distills the entirety of the Gospel down to two words … “Christ crucified”. This is what we preach, or bear witness to, to bring salvation to those who will believe. And while we rejoice and proclaim the ultimate expression of God’s love the crucifixion signifies, we often ignore our depravity that made it necessary.

The love of God cannot be shared without pointing out personal, individual sin. Romans 5:6-8 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ crucified.

And that’s it. God loved us, He sent His only Son to die for us, and we’ll all dance into Heaven singing, “Hallelujah!” Right? Not quite.

The fact that God loves each of us beyond measure is true. But that love alone doesn’t save us. Belief in God alone doesn’t save us, either. Listen to what James says. “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” James 2:19

For us to receive the salvation that God’s love, shown on the cross, makes a way for, our belief in Jesus has to be accompanied by:

  • Recognition that we are a sinner by birth and by choice
  • Recognition that, because of our individual sin, we are currently destined for and deserving of an eternity in hell
  • True repentance of (turning away from) our sin, not just saying, “I’m sorry.”
  • The belief that the death, burial, and resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ provides the complete atonement for our sin
  • A verbal confession and inner commitment that Jesus is our Lord

The Scriptures say:

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…” Romans 3:23

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1:14-15

“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:8-10

Let’s Tell the Whole Story

Christ crucified - because we’re sinners.

Christ crucified - because God demands payment for the penalty of our sin.

Christ crucified - because there’s nothing we could ever do to pay that penalty ourselves.

Christ crucified - because God loves each of us.

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