“Love wins,” I’ve seen on the bumper of a number of cars in recent years. And of course there’s Rob Bell’s controversial book, Love Wins. There is no doubt that love is an essential aspect of life, which seems all but missing in some of the places it ought to be prominent. Churches at times can be so steeped in a judgmental, us against the world mentality, that love is but all forgotten.
What kind of love wins? That is a good question anytime, but especially is appropriate this Lenten season, as we who follow the church calendar, especially focus on what God in Christ did for us. Yes, the love that wins is God’s love in Jesus, especially marked in the cross, in his blood shed on that cross. It is a love which forgives and breaks down the walls between humanity and God, and between humans. It is a love which transforms the ones loved.
But it is a love which is born from justice. When Jesus died on that cross all that is actually against love was arrayed against him. And all of that came pouring in upon him. But since this was no ordinary death, but the death, the death of God’s Son, the death of the chosen one, who not only was a victim, but a victor even through taking it on himself- these hosts of evil, in theological terms: the world, the flesh and the devil lost out completely on that day. What was evident in that cross was love, a love that wins in the end, against all that is not love, and in opposition to love. And so a love that is just, dealing with all that which is unjust and opposed to love.
Love in creation has its place as in the love of a mother for her infant. That can win on a certain level, the bonding that goes with that to help a child grow into an adult who is loved. But what we face in the world requires more than that, as desirable as that is. We need a love that can overcome all that is not love, all that is in opposition to love. And the only love that overcomes all is the love of God in Christ, seen in perfection on the cross. A love we’re to receive by faith, and live in, as well as live out in and through Jesus together with others in Jesus for the world.