Love Defined

‘Love never ends.’ (1 Corinthians 13:8a, ESV)

Nadine Shaabana S0uqghl2dtg Unsplash

The Pocket Oxford Dictionary gives a list of alternative definitions for love, the first being ‘deep affection or fondness for a person or thing’. So I can speak about loving my wife but also about loving a cat, autumn colours and Ordnance survey maps; I can even purchase a sweet chilli wrap with fries and agree with the sentiments of the supplier by saying ‘i’m lovin’ it’.

I propose, however, that love for a person is on a different level from love for food. Even so, if the ‘love is . . .’ cartoons designed by Kim Grove in the 1960s are to be taken literally, love between persons can be defined in a variety of ways. For example, love is simply ‘feeling lightheaded’ or ‘sharing the housework’. Is there more to love than this? To suggest that there isn’t would be doing Kim Grove an injustice.

God has given us a pretty comprehensive picture of what love looks like in 1 Corinthians 13, a passage often read at weddings. Read it and you might well ask who could ever reach such a standard. Without doubt, only one person could. Jesus Christ, the holy Son of God, perfectly displayed all those characteristics in His life here on earth. All that love is, He was; all that love does, He did.

Take this one characteristic: ‘love never ends’. However strong our love for someone may be, it has limits. Christ’s love was limitless. All the hatred shown towards Him by His own nation as they condemned Him to a criminal’s death could not extinguish it. As He hung on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive them, but also made that forgiveness possible. How? He satisfied the righteous demands of a holy God against sin. That was limitless love.

As a result of His death and resurrection, forgiveness is available to all who trust their lives to Him.