GIFT, NOT ACHIEVEMENT
“You give up your old self-seeking self for somebody you love and thereby become yourself at last. You must die with Christ so that you can rise with him, Paul says. It is what baptism is all about.
You do not love God so that, tit for tat, he will then save you. To love God is to be saved. To love anybody is a significant step along the way.
You do not love God and live for him so you will go to heaven. Whichever side of the grave you happen to be talking about, to love God and live for him is heaven. It is a gift, not an achievement.
You can make yourself moral. You can make yourself religious. But you can’t make yourself love.
“We love,” John says, “because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Frederick Buechner
Love is the Lord’s commandment because it is a choice: to love back the way we have been loved. Love can only work by choice.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus