Monday, July 13, 2015

Love Wins

Love Wins

I don't think that there can be a truer statement than “Love Wins.” In what ways does love win?

Clearly, it is because of God's love for us that we all have a chance to be winners. We all have the opportunity to look to God and live. We all have the privilege of keeping His commandments and following His Son through covenants and ordinances in order to return to Him in heaven. In the name of Jesus Christ and through the power of His Atonement, Love has won forever. Christ Himself, through the commandment and grace of God, has overcome death and sin.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

So here we are in a battle defining what love is. While Christ's love is freeing and liberating in that we are offered the forgiveness of sins and eternal life; and while relationships designed by God are a part of His plan to bring us freedom, liberty, and happiness; counterfeits of God's love and His plan do not bring freedom, nor do they place us on an equal footing on the pathway home to God.

It makes many Christians feel uneasy to see the phrase “Love Wins” so blatantly displayed in reference to judges making those things legal which can never be lawful. But it must not give Christians license to forget what we already know, and that is that indeed “Love Wins.” Even when we disagree in theory and in practice, there remains in us the responsibility to love our neighbors as ourselves (See John 13:34).

Jesus indeed told us that the first great commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” He told us also that the second great commandment after that first one is “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-38) Jesus also has told us that “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen” (1 John 4:20)?

Are we are so caught up in what the laws of the land say, that we are forgetting the laws of God? The Pharisees did that. And Jesus made it clear that they were falling short according to the Law of Moses, which He had delivered, and according to the higher law which He brought to them at that time. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).

In our love for our neighbor, we cannot abandon our love for our God and our responsibility to honor Him and keep His commandments. Some people get that mixed up, and they try keeping the second commandment in favor of the first. That will never work well. As the family of God, for we are all His children, we can only love and serve each other best, when we love and serve Him first. His commandments are the same for all of His children, and His desired outcome is the same for all of us. But because He has given us agency, or free will, through the Gift of His Son, He will never force us to be righteous; and He will never reward us with Eternal Life with Him if we choose to forsake Him.

We cannot ever think though that salvation is granted us because of our own good works. How arrogant and ungrateful is that, for Jesus bought us with a heavy price! The very blessing of His forgiveness felt by repentant sinners, should cause our Christian hearts to desire the same blessing for all of His other children.

Why does Love Win? Moroni, delivering the words of his father Mormon, tells us that Love Wins because “charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever, and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him” (Moroni 7:47).

How important is this charity, the pure love of Christ? Just in case we feel justified in keeping some outward, obvious commandments, but we are neglecting those first two great commandments, the Apostle Paul reminds us just how important this love is in 1 Corinthians 13:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in inquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

If we believe in the prophets, the scriptures, and the commandments; if we believe and trust in Jesus Christ and in His word, we must certainly acknowledge that Love Wins. God's work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (See Moses 1:39). While we desire salvation for ourselves, we should never be a stumbling block to our brothers and sisters, because we feel that we are better than they are (See Romans 3:9). Love Wins when we develop a Christian heart and extend God's kindness and mercy to one another.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which He hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of His Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as He is pure. Amen” (Moroni 7:48).

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