Sometimes love drives faith and hope – our church has had “Love” as the first word in our mission statement. This is not wrong. But there are plenty of times in life when we should not assume we have the requisite love for some action. Often there is something upstream from love that we currently do not have, that creates love.
One such case is in 2 Corinthians 5:14:
For the love of Christ controls us [us being Paul and coworkers], because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died . . .
Paul and his coworkers are controlled, or compelled forward, in their ministry of the gospel by love. But that love did not just appear. It was not baked in to their minds and hearts – the love necessary to sacrificially share the gospel. It had to be created within them.
By what means? By a conclusion that they only could have gotten by the revealed word of God: that Jesus has died for all. I think we get that much, as Christians.
But then look at the next phrase: therefore, Paul concludes, that means that everyone has already died. We can rephrase Paul’s logic this way: Christ only came to save those who are in need of life – that is, those who are dead – spiritual carcasses.
And Christ died for all. God so loved the world that he gave His only Son. Therefore – here’s the kicker – ALL are dead. So then, when Paul walks around his world now, he doesn’t see Sikhs and Hindus and black and white and, and . . . He sees dead man walking, dead man walking, dead man walking, dead man walking . . . And he remembers, “So once was I . . .”
So then, seeing this way, with the eyes of informed faith – faith informed by revealed word of God – the Bible, Paul finds within himself a love, a compassion for the lost, that compels him. It’s the same love that drove God in pity to send His only Son. It’s a love that only comes on the other side of having one’s mind and eyes trained by the Bible, by the Spirit.
Too often Christians assume they have the love they need for what God asks of us, (i.e., the Great Commission). But we don’t, actually. We need first to labor to be people who think about and see our world in a way that’s controlled by the mind and eyes of God. This means not thinking too highly of ourselves, and humbly listening to His Word.