“I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” – the words of Jesus from Revelation 2:4-5
The church in Ephesus started out well enough, but over time it fell out of love. With whom or what, Jesus does not say, but we might suspect it is the Lord himself. Christ is, after all, the groom and his Church, the bride. Perhaps he sensed those in Ephesus had lost that loving feeling.
In chapter four of his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes: “Live a life worthy of the calling you received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is but one body and one Spirit. Speak the truth in love.“
Paul went on to say: “So I tell you, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do. In the futility of their thinking they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more. Therefore, put off falsehood and speak truthfully, for we are all members of one body. Speak only what is helpful for building others up. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Be imitators of God and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.”
“Among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity or greed. These are improper for God’s holy people. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.”
Later Paul wrote these words to his spiritual son Timothy. “The goal of [my] command is love. Love comes from a pure heart. Love comes from a good conscience. Love comes from a sincere faith. We know the law is good if one uses it properly.” What Paul did not say, but which he may have hinted at with his command to love is this: “The law is good if one uses it properly in LOVE.”
“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Timothy 15:15
Our calling is to proclaim the Gospel of God and the core of God’s good news is redemption. Christ saves us from sin, error, and evil. This is why he came and died.
Love first, love second, love last. Knowing about sin, reciting a list of sins, never saved anyone. Only the love of God as shown through the sacrifice of his Son saves.
Avoid sin, yes, but never avoid loving others. Be perfect as Christ is perfect and as much as it depends on you, live a life worthy of the calling you received.