We all know that love continues to be the central theme of so many novels, films, songs, theater plays, and poems, they are practically innumerable. Greek dramatist Sophocles (496-406 BC) in his Oedipus Trilogy made this statement: “Have ye to bear your long, long ministry; a heavy load, I know, and yet one word wipes out all score of tribulations – love.”1 Perhaps by Paul’s day, this was a common proverb since it is repeated by James (5:20) and Peter (1Peter 4:8).
Methodist founder John Wesley preached and taught about entire sanctification which is described as follows: “Entire sanctification is a state of perfect love. It is righteousness and true holiness which every regenerate believer may obtain by being delivered from the power of sin, by loving God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength, and by loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. Through faith in Jesus Christ, this gracious gift may be received in this life both gradually and instantaneously and should be sought earnestly by every child of God.”2
However, to understand love as Paul uses it, we must look to the Scriptures. A search will reveal that nowhere do we find the phrase “God is joy” or “God is peace” or “God is patience;” and on those occasions where the characteristics of God include kindness, goodness, or faithfulness, these are either adjectives or verbs. In order for the Holy Spirit to channel these elements into fruition in our personality, He does so by planting the same essence the Bible reveals as the primary attribute of God – Love.
This love is deposited in our hearts at the moment we are born again; when our salvation from certain damnation is justified because we accepted Christ’s work on the cross. As that love matures in our hearts and minds, we exhibit the results of that growing love as evidence of our sanctification – called the Fruit of the Spirit.3 Maybe we should all begin to pray for sanctification instead of all the things of this world that we want. – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 Sophocles’, Oedipus at Colonus, brought by the Messenger
2 Evangelical United Brethren Church. Article XI of the EUB Confession of Faith, now part of the United Methodist Book of Discipline (para. 62),
3 See Galatians 5:22-24