You Can’t Love God and Not Love People

You Can’t Love God and Not Love People October 19, 2019

Recently, it was said of a celebrity pop preacher that “he loves God, but not people.”

Sorry, but that can’t happen.

Not according to Jesus.

Not according to John.

Read 1 John from beginning to end and ask yourself if someone can love God and not love others, especially members of the body of Christ.

Can’t happen.

If a person doesn’t love others, he/she doesn’t love God.


They may think they love God, but they may love the idea of God instead.

Regrettably, we have people in ministry today with huge followings . . . all because they are people of pop culture . . . yet these same people have little to no love for people. Including God’s people.

This is yet another evidence of the shallow and pathetic state of Christianity today.

One real evidence of love for God is that when you hear Jesus Christ declared with power, anointing, and authority, you begin to love those who know Him, and you also have a deep appreciation for those messengers who proclaim Him in glory.

If you’re new to the podcast, I did my 102nd episode on my unforgettable meeting with A.W. Tozer. I wish every child of God would listen to it.

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  • There are two kinds of life: divine life and fallen human life. There are also two kinds of love – love that comes from the fallen soul and divine love, which is the nature of divine life. Scripture uses different Greek words to depict them in some texts, in fact.

    You’re describing motivations and limitations. I’m talking about something different: Source. Humans are capable of human love that originates from the human soul. This kind of love isn’t the same as Christ’s agape love which is Divine. And it enters into one’s spirit by the new birth (see John 3 where Jesus speaks about this.)

    It’s a completely different dimension. When Jesus talked about denying the self and “hating” one’s family for His sake, He was speaking of the denial of the fallen human life which has the capability of being moral and outwardly “good.” It lives from the knowledge of good and evil, which as you know is forbidden by God from the beginning.

    Before I met Jesus Christ, I had the capacity to love with my human love. So do atheists, as I explained before. But without being “born from above,” God’s life wasn’t inside of me. I couldn’t operate with His love nor walk in divine love because I hadn’t received it.

    What’s little understood today is that God’s original idea is that humans live by the Tree of Life not by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Notice it’s also the knowledge of good.

    Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the Tree of Life, and we can now live by His life. That’s a totally different thing than living by fallen human life and loving others with one’s own life.

    I get into this in detail in “Living by the Life of Christ” and in my book JESUS MANIFESTO. I also recommend Watchman Nee’s classic book THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE.

    These are lessons found in Scripture that are little understood today, unfortunately. But thankfully there’s a generation of 20s and 30s and 40s who are seeing and experiencing them yet again.

    I hope what I’m saying here will create both interest and hunger within you for the deeper things of God on this score.

  • cajaquarius

    I think, in the same way that there are false Christians who
    practice “Cheap Grace” (to take a line from Dietrich Bonhoeffer) there are unbelievers who are actually Christians by merit of their love of others, even if they are indifferent or even hostile to our concepts of God due to past experience with aforementioned Cheap Grace Christianity and the abuses thereof. To further borrow from Bonhoeffer, I would say there is even “Cheap Love” that some tout as selfless love but, upon reflection, is anything but. In the spiritual sense of love, there is no such thing as “human love” or “human selflessness” for that matter. It isn’t merely scripture that I use to base this view of love on either (Galatians 5:17 and Romans 8:5) but personal reflection on how hard actual love as exhibited by Christ really is in my personal life. I struggle a lot with it myself.

    Love that benefits us is cheap. Serving at a soup kitchen, if done to assuage guilt, make friends, or so you don’t look bad in front of your church or social justice mates is cheap. Love of family, your wife, or your own children is cheap. Love of someone about to cut your head off with a machete, forgiveness of someone who robs your house, and those deep sorts of love that we try to emulate in Christ are the more costly love that marks a Christian, at least in my view.

    And you are right, it is a differentiation that we don’t often see today (between human “love” and love). The only place we would differ here, I suspect, is on the importance of the actual knowledge of the individual concerning God and Christ.

  • Greg Carlet

    Simple, yet so profound. And humanly impossible. “Love God, Love People.” “Treat others how you would want to be treated.”

  • Ah, now that depends on what kind of love they are loving people with. For instance, people who don’t have the life of God which is in Christ can love people humanly. But that doesn’t mean they love God. I have atheist friends who despise the God of Scripture and don’t think that such a God exists, but they apply human love and act unselfishly toward others. The love of God, however, is something higher and it’s born of God. And only those who are in Christ and in whom Christ dwells possess that love. Your statement is true when it applies to such people. But without love for God, agape love for others doesn’t occur. Human love, however, can and does. This is an important distinction that’s present in Jesus’ teachings, but it’s little understood today.

  • cajaquarius

    I would take it further and say that a person who gets to a point of truly and selflessly loves people also, by extension, loves God.