We thank God because of your faith and love for the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
– Colossians 1:3-15
The basis of the supernatural love that defines Christ’s disciples is the future hope of the Gospel, not the inherent loveliness of Christians.
This is significant: we love the person Christ is making our fellow believers into, not the fallen saved sinner they are today. We see the person as Christ sees them, not as the world sees them. Because of this, we can forgive them because their present sinful self doesn’t yet reflect who they are in Christ. The Spirit is making them who God designed them to be… but they’re not there yet, just as we aren’t.
Our confidence in Christ’s redemptive, transforming, indwelling presence – our hope in the His glorious future – defines our present reality, instead of the opposite.
Of course, the opposite is also true. When we fail to love our brothers and sisters, to forgive them and look for who God is making them, we show how little we believe God’s promises. Do we trust the Spirit at work in others?
Also see John 13:35; 1 John 2:9-11