Following my message of “Contending for An Unpopular King,” I offered a few thoughts regarding a challenging truth; namely, Jesus said the world will hate you because of your love for Him. Here’s a couple more.

A trendy message among some Christians these days is “theology is good, but loving like Jesus is better.” The problem here is that the two are not mutually exclusive. Not only are they not mutually exclusive but rather, they are dependent on each other.

Consider the etymology of the word theology; theo- God, logy-study: the study of God. The more we know Jesus, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we want to know Him and so the cycle continues. Our desire to know him (theology) should be an implication for our love for Him. The more this continues, the more we will desire to live like Him and thus love His people AS HE loves them.

You wouldn’t show your love for a spouse simply by how you talk about them, you’d show your love by knowing them, spending time with them, and serving them. But when theology is neglected, the ramifications are made known in the way we treat others. Even with a Christian label we only love on them with a wishy-washy love that promotes no agenda for change and restoration.

For example, when theology is neglected some Christians succumb to weak cultural ideas and defective scriptural interpretation such as “Jesus just said to love people, so why should we be opposed to gay marriage?” and “the Bible says not to judge, so don’t tell me that I shouldn’t be sleeping with my boyfriend!” when the Bible actually does tell Christians to judge each other, that is, believers claiming the name of Jesus. Matt. 7:24; I Cor. 5:9-13.

A good theology will inform the individual that not only are they wrong in their sin, but that Jesus wants so much MORE for them; more joy, purity and intimacy with Him. If you identify as Christian then you fall within the God-appointed jurisdiction of judgement. To be clear, judgement should be read as corrective counsel in attempts to hold one accountable and thus point towards restoration.

Accountability is not only biblical, but it is wonderful. Repentance is a means of turning from darkness and receiving the gift of restoration that is found in Jesus. It’s easy to read repentance as a scary thing. But Hebrews 4:16 paints a wonderful, gospel-reflecting image of it: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace, to help in time of need.”  There is nothing scary about that.

If anything, it’s overwhelmingly comforting that WE, sinners made pure through Jesus, are not only allowed to but are ENCOURAGED to enter the highest of throne rooms to receive mercy and grace from the Almighty, the one who we have grievously sinned against.

God sees you and me as His child, beautiful and righteous through His son, Jesus. Let us all remember the love that has been lavished on us and make sure that we go and love likely, in truth and in grace.