1 Thessalonians 3:13
There are various titles for holiness, that experience between man and God.
We sometimes call it “entire sanctification,” “filled with the Spirit,” “full salvation.” The description that I like is “perfect love.”
Love is a tremendously important ingredient in the living of life. Psychiatrists and psychologists tell us that until we know how to rightly love one another, and to rightly be loved, we’re warped, bent out of shape. You listen to today’s song lyrics and you’ll often find the word “love” mentioned. I agree sometimes it’s distorted, sullied love, but it’s echoing the cry of the human heart for that which God would plant within every one of us.
It’s very evident that human love isn’t meeting the need today. We often hear of “man’s inhumanity to man.” You don’t have to go to some far-flung battlefield to find the inhumaneness of man. It’s all around us. Pick up your newspaper; listen to the news.
Only the perfect love of God will meet every need and longing of the human heart. The perfect love of God is the absolute solution to interpersonal problems of every kind—husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, in the fellowship in the church, in the neighborhood where you live, in the place where you work, where you go to school.
Our Lord says, “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). How do you achieve that? Don’t you earn it? Don’t you merit it? Ah, we must remember that our love could never do that, never. It’s His love that we must have; that will enable us to do it. So what He is commanding is that we be filled with His perfect love. And then we too will love one another, regardless of how we’re treated. For we read,
“God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5).
God’s Word tells us something strange about this perfect love. Paul, in writing to the Christians in Thessalonica, lets them know that this perfect love can be increased: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). Now, if something is perfect, and it has filled your soul, how can it increase? And yet that’s what the Scripture is saying. For the Lord has a miraculous way of increasing the capacity of the soul to be more and more filled with His love.
As we walk with the Lord, and as we grow in grace, and as He develops our spiritual capacities, He keeps filling us with His perfect love.
Clifton Sipley, The Salvationist Pulpit