Chapter 1 - The Key to Love

Key to Love


Knowing God is the key to human love because God is love.1

Knowing God is the key to eternal life because knowing God is eternal life.2 Therefore, knowing God is the key to eternal (spiritual) life and love. Knowing God is the key to continuing and powerful, real, actual, experiential, passionate human love.

But simply being aware of these truths is insufficient. They must be experienced to be known and they are best experienced when we understand them. The Bible explains them and tells how we can acquire them. Therefore the first step is scripture.

The scripture that tells of life and love is powerful and dynamic. That is, it changes us. The Truth of scripture never changes,3 but its effect on us changes whenever we make a decision to obey it or disobey it. Like the pieces on a chessboard, everything changes as soon as we make a move. We move a piece on the scriptural chessboard each time we make a moral decision. Each moral decision-and we cannot avoid them-has a spiritual and ultimately a material effect because each move is either in harmony with Truth or it is not.

Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s Truth;4 He is the light that shines in the darkness of an immoral world.5 We come to the light when we “practice the Truth”6 and we practice the Truth when we yield to scripture and obey because God’s word (scripture) is Truth.7 This is not dead theology or theory or even belief. It is something that we experience. We experience the actual presence of God through surrender and God, the life-giver, comes trailing behind Him a wake of golden love.

The words of scripture are like a flashlight in a dark night showing us pitfalls and rocks on the path.8 Scripture lights up the chessboard and illumines the other pieces so that we can move wisely. The goal of this book is to show how graphically true this is and how obedience to scripture can heal relationships, make them new and keep them new.

When we disobey scripture, we commit sin because scripture teaches of righteousness. Sin is the opposite of spiritual life because sin causes spiritual death. Sin kills us spiritually.9 The entire Bible is a warning that sin kills.10

Obedience to God’s word brings spiritual life11 because it is righteousness and righteousness is life. Disobedience to His word brings spiritual death.12 We have only to sincerely yield to scripture to discover this for outselves.

Like chess, if we are going to do well, we have to know what will happen before we make the move. We have to know what the pieces do and how they interact beforehand so we can predict what the board will look like after the move is made.

Knowing the scriptural effect in advance and moving accordingly permits us to live a life filled with love (excellent relationships), and it enables us to escape sin and spiritual death that is caused by sin. Scripture tells how to know God13 and the immense internal peace14† and freedom that His presence brings.15 These are not theological constructs; they are experiential. Knowing God is to experience eternal life.

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.16

Knowing Christ

Knowing Christ is neither a ritual nor a study. Knowing Christ is an experience that is dependent upon our obedience. We can know Christ by sincerely obeying His commandments.17 This is not just a belief. It is a statement made by Jesus Christ telling us how we can know Him. Jesus makes Himself known to us when we yield to Him from the heart:

He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My
Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him [make Myself known to him].18

Jesus makes Himself known to the one who has His commandments and keeps them because that is the person who loves Him. The person who loves Jesus expresses this love by obedience.

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.19

We find the same concept in another verse. This verse speaks not of only knowing Him, but of God living with us, and again we see that Jesus strikes at the essence of all relationships: love:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.20

Kknowing Jesus Christ is all about love. It is not a religion. It is a relationship and relationships are all about love.

Knowing Him is to have the experience of having Him disclose Himself to us and make His “abode” with us. This is how we know that we are in Him: we experience the presence of His Spirit.

By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.21

So we can see that the Bible is all about knowing God. This is what being a Christian is. It is neither doctrine nor religion. It is knowing Jesus Christ. Christianity is not church-work, praying, kneeling, genuflecting, ecstatic speech, unknown languages, swooning, shaking or fainting or believing hard enough until you can’t believe any longer. Christianity is one thing and one thing alone. Christianity is knowing God through obedience to scripture. And scripture tells us that this occurs through sincere obedience and not anything else.

Paul tells us to test ourselves to see if we are really “of the faith” by looking inside ourselves to see if Jesus Christ is in us.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?22

What scripture is describing in these verses is a spiritual love affair. It is saying that if you know God, you know it. There is no mistaking His presence and His peace.

But there is a cause and effect here. As we yield to His commands, Christ, who is love incarnate, makes Himself known to us. To know Christ is to love him. Wherever He goes He brings love. We receive that love and we return it with willing yieldedness and obedience He discloses Himself to us.23 Jesus Christ requires of us exactly the same thing that we require of those we are close to: heart.

Thus, decisions to keep His word result in the experiential presence of God. With sincere obedience from the heart, one may live an entire lifetime filled with peace.

Knowing Christ brings the peace of God and the peace of God is a peace that surpasses all comprehension.24 One does not have to experience this peace for very long to understand the immense value of scripture because scripture tells us how to acquire that peace and keep it.25

The peace of God embodied in love and called by obedience. It is a peace that must be experienced to be believed because, exactly as the scripture says, it is beyond our understanding or comprehension.26

His presence means the end of emptiness, the end of confusion, then end of unending questions, the end of guilt, the end of self-doubt, the end of wandering and the end of searching. It is literally God.

The Problem

But there is a problem and the problem is sin. Sin inhibits the presence and peace of God, because sin causes spiritual death.27 Those who do not know Christ are already spiritually dead.28 And those Christians who sin lose their relationship with Christ and eventually experience life without Christ, which is the functional equivalent of spiritual death.29

Everyone is spiritually dead without Christ.30 People who are spiritually dead know it because spiritual death is experiential, just like spiritual life. Spiritual life is knowing God; spiritual death is being physically alive but not knowing His presence.

Spiritual death has various symptoms. Most people who are spiritually dead feel a void inside of them. They have no real peace. The void is the absence of Christ. People who are spiritually dead believe that everyone is the way they are because they have never experienced anything else. Many do not believe that there is a spiritual anything or even that there is an absolute right and wrong. When an evangelist speaks to them about Christ, they think he is talking about a belief system. They cannot conceive of the reality of a spiritual relationship with God because they have never experienced it. Many believe that there is nothing more in life than what they have experienced, and they resign themselves to their fate and their silent scream. But they are mistaken. They can become spiritually alive by trusting in Jesus Christ and by yielding to His Word.

Human love is far far more than the metaphysical eroticism preached by godless counselors. And love is the key.

Becoming spiritually alive after being spiritually dead is like being born a second time. It is like one has never been alive before. That is the reason that the Bible refers to salvation as being “born again.”31

The way to become spiritually alive is first to trust in Jesus Christ and then, after trusting in Him, to surrender to Him, to obey Him.32 People who come to Christ get all of their sins forgiven because Christ has already paid the penalty for their sin and all they have to do is to trust in Him to have it. It is a gift.

Jesus died in their place on the cross. That is the reason why Jesus Christ is so important. If He had not died for us, we would be paying our own penalty for sin and that penalty is death.33

In order to pay our penalty, Jesus became sin for us.34 He died in our place and was later resurrected making us right in the eyes of God in spite of our sins.35 Jesus Christ paid our debt for us. He did this because God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to die in our place so that our sins would be forgiven and he could therefore give eternal life to us.36 The benefit of His death is a free gift and we can obtain the benefit of it simply by trusting entirely in Him.37 This is salvation. It is easy and it costs us nothing because the price for it-the entire price-was paid by Christ.38

But actually knowing Him is different. To know Him we must yield to Him. Christ requires sincere surrender to Him before He will make Himself known.

If you have trusted in Christ and do not know Him it is because you are not yielded to Him.

If you are spiritually dead and not interested in becoming spiritually alive, or if you are not interested in yielding to the commands of scripture, this book will be of little benefit to you because this book is all about love and love is all about knowing God.

But, of course, one does not have to know God to love, but without the presence of God the love that we have is human love and human love is limited. One does not have to live long to discover the frailty of humanity and its loves.

Love in Scripture

There are many scriptures that tell us about God by telling us about His attributes or telling us what He does and how He relates to us. But there are few that tell us directly who He is. There is only one scripture that tells us who He is:

God is love.39

When we view this scripture with others, such as John 14:21 (we can know God),40 or John 14:23 (God lives within us when we obey from the heart), and John 17:3 (we can experience eternal life through the knowledge of God),41 we find that the experience of knowing God is to experience His love through His presence because He is love. Experiencing eternal life and knowing God are inextricably bound to love. Love stands at the very center of both of them because God is love. It is astounding how many brilliant minds have written volumns about God but never discuss what He actually is.

Scripture places love at the center of practically all other doctrines as well. Love is the center of the doctrine of salvation by grace.42 Love is the core of all of the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament).43 Love is the litmus test of eternal salvation or eternal condemnation.44 And actually knowing Him is the Biblical test for Christianity.45

Knowing Christ is dependent upon love because Christ abides in us when 1) we have trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of all sin and 2) when we love Him and express this love by keeping His word:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.46

He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will disclose Myself [make Myself known] to him.47

This means that Jesus Christ makes Himself known to those who express their love for Him by obeying scripture. And when He makes Himself known to us we experience eternal life:

And this is eternal life that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.48

Knowing Christ is the key to everything pertaining to live and godliness:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to live and godliness through the true knowledge of Him49

Thus, the very core of the New Testament is love. The reason why is because “God is love.”50 One cannot study God without studying love.

How Does this Love Affect a Marriage?

When a man and a woman are married and both of them are committed to scripture, the marriage is strong, very strong, because sin is minimized and the presence of Christ is maximized. When the presence of Christ is maximized, love overflows because God is there and God is love. When love abounds in this way, it becomes the core of the relationship. When love is the core, the relationship is scriptural and strong because love unites the husband and the wife and covers their sins.51

But when either the husband or the wife permits the entrance of the sin into the marriage, love falters because Christ abides with us only when we are keeping His word.52 Herein lies the problem-and the solution. Sin is the problem. The eradication of sin is the solution. But some sins are silent and masked by justification. These are the sins that erode most families and provide the foundation for divorce. These are sins that kill in the dark. This book is about those sins.

But before we can see how this all works in a marrige or in any relationship, we must first look at what love is, and that’s not so easy because there are four of them.

1. First John 4:8 “God is love.”

2. John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” See also John 14:6 “I amthe life”

3. John 17:17 “Your word is truth” Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away.”

4. John 14:6 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”

5. John 1:5 “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

6. John 3:21a “But he that practices the truth comes to the Light

7. John 17:17 “Your word is truth”

8. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

9. Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.” Colossians 2:13 teaches that through the forgiveness earned by Christ on the cross, Christ made us alive when we were dead in our sin (“When you were dead in your transgressionsHe made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions”). Therefore, this passage as well as Romans 6:23 speaks of spiritual death (dead in trespasses and sins) and not physical death. See also Ephesians 2:5 and First Peter 3:18.

10. See Appendix

11. John 6:63 “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

12. See Appendix 1

13. John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’”

14. Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passes all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus .” Only those who are surrendered to Christ and obedient to Him can experience this peace. We must acknowledge God as God before God will relate to us or make Himself known to us (cf. John 14:21).

15. John 8:36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

16. John 17:3 NASV

17. Christ gave commandments relating to righteousness, so He is not speaking only of the Ten Commandments in this verse. These commandments are also referred to as His “words” (John 14:23).

18. John 14:21 In this statement, Jesus requires two things before He will disclose Himself to the Christian; He requires love and He requires obedience. And He requires them in that order because He is describing a relationship with the Christian and love is paramount in all Christian relationships. The relationship between the Christian and Jesus Christ is called “knowing God” (John 17:3) and it is the source of joy and righteousness (Second Peter 1). Knowing God is the core of biblical Christianity. The function of obedience in this relationship is to express love; it is not an end in itself. Obedience is essential because obedience is the avoidance of sin; sin must be avoided because sin kills us spiritually (Romans 6:23). But obedience without love will not result in knowing God because obedience without love is legalism, which is a religious method to obtain something from God and not an effort to relate to Him. Thus, in this verse, Christ touches the core of all honest relationships and asks the same question that we all ask at one time or another. What is the motivation?

19. First John 2:3 Here John the Apostle expresses a general truth: those who know Him will keep His commandments because obedience results in knowing Him (John 14:21); it results in His presence with us (John 14:23). There is no greater experience given to man than a spiritual relationship with Christ. All who know Him are motivated to know Him better and to express that motivation with obedience. To know God is to love Him because He is love (First John 4:8).

20. John 14:23

21. First John 4:13 Some 40 years after Christ spoke the words of John 14:21, John verifies their truth because he was still experiencing the presence of Christ. We know that we abide in Him and He in us. The same concept is found in Second Peter Chapter 1:2,3 and Philippians 3:8,9. There is a divine precision in these scriptures, even though they were written by different authors far removed from each other and decades apart.

22. Second Corinthians 13:5 Many read these verses for years and never see them. The way to understand these verses is to first understand that there is no mystery here. They mean exactly what they say.

23. John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps themI will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

24. Philippians 4:7 “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

25. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”

26. Philippians 4:6,7 “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

27. Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death

28. Ephesians 2:1 “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world

29. Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”

30. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

31. John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” Also see First Peter 1:23 “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” For a modern understanding see the definition of “born again in Wikipedia: “It is an experience when everything they have been taught as Christians becomes real, and they develop a direct and personal relationship with God.” This relationship cannot be described in words.

32. John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” kjv

33. Roman 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”

34. Second Corinthians 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”

35. Romans 4:25 “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

36. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

37. Acts 16:31 “Believe [trust in] on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved

38. If you are not spiritually alive and wish to be, then go someplace where you are alone to pray. In your own words tell Him that you are trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of all of your sin. That is all you have to do to obtain forgiveness. The amount of faith you need to truly come to Christ is the amount of faith necessary to ask Him for salvation. That is all. You don’t have to believe anything else. You don’t even have to be sure that He is really there. All you have to do is ask, but in your asking you must be sincere. Also see Believe in God which may be downloaded from

39. First John 4:8

40. John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

41. John 17:3 “This is eternal life that you may know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.” This scripture equates knowing God with eternal life because to know God is to experience the eternal life that comes from trusting in Jesus Christ. Thus, eternal life is not an extension of mortal life; it is an entirely different life that is overlaid or superimposed upon mortal life. We receive mortal life when we are born the first time and we receive spiritual life when we are born the second time. It is for this reason that scripture analogizes the receipt of spiritual life with being born a second time, because it is the gift of a second life. See First Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” See also John 3:3 “you must be born again.”

42. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world...”

43. Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

44. John 3:19 “He who believes in Him [Jesus Christ] is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:17-21 teaches that eternal salvation turns on what we love. It teaches that the condemnation is that we love darkness rather than light, “but he who practices the truth comes to the Light [Christ], so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (v. 21). Men love darkness rather than light because they deeds are evil; so sin changes what we love. God’s judgment ultimately turns upon what we love because what we love determines whether we will come to the light. The more sin we commit, the greater the darkness will be and the more difficult it will be to come to the light.

45. Second Corinthians 13:5 “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test.”

46. John 14:23 This scripture and others make it clear that Jesus Christ and God the Father are one (John 10:30 “I [Jesus Christ] and the Father are one;” John 14:9 “Anyone who has seen me [Jesus Christ] has seen the Father.”). Hence, they are treated as one in this book (John 14:9).

47. John 14:21

48. John 17:3

49. Second Peter 1:2,3

50. First John 4:8

51. First Peter 4:8 “Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Berean Study Bible

52. John 14:21,23, supra