In John 13:34-35 Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

This unconditional love is the core aspect of the culture of the Kingdom and one of two core elements of God’s character (see 1 John 4:8,16). The other core element of God’s character is holiness—“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

The culture of the world would have us believe that love and holiness are two concepts in direct opposition to one another.

In the world, love is associated with tolerance, and holiness with intolerance, which is belief in any kind of absolute truth is overly religious, narrow-minded, and dangerously radical. But if love and holiness are essential attributes of God’s character, then how are Christian men and women supposed to reconcile these two attributes?

How can we express unconditional love while maintaining uncompromising holiness?

The best example of a life in which love and holiness were perfectly aligned is found in Jesus Christ. For thirty-three years He walked this earth, loving unconditionally while never compromising his holiness, so that when the time came for him to be crucified for love’s sake, he was found perfect, without spot or blemish.

This is the challenge of living as a Christian—to love unconditionally like Jesus (John 13:34-35) while pursuing uncompromising holiness toward God, which is separation from the world. (see 1 John 2:15-17).      

A question to consider:

  • How can the two aspects of unconditional love and uncompromising holiness be applied to the life of a contemporary Christian?

Angela Overton is a lover of words, nature, and coffee. She is an ordained minister with the UPCI, has a Masters Degree in Theology, and loves to teach Bible studies. She and her amazing husband, Michael, pastor in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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