Matt Smethurst tweeted not too long ago,
“Saying ‘I love Jesus but not the church” is saying ‘I love Jesus but not what Jesus loves.’”
I agree. If you love Jesus, you’ll love what Jesus loves. If you don’t love what Jesus loves, then you don’t love Jesus. Which means, you can’t say that you love Jesus but not his wife. You can’t say “I love God” but not love his kids. If you love Jesus, the Head and Husband of his bride, the church, then you’ll love what he loves.
John put it this way,
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another . . . And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.”
1 John 4:7-8, 11, 21; 5:1-2
Proof that you have been born again is that you love Jesus and his Father who sent him, and you also love everyone who also loves Jesus, or, you love everyone that Jesus loves. If any part of this is absent, you are not saved. But this is good news: though you know your own proclivity to sin, you still love Jesus and the church. You are not deceived: you sin your sin and confess it (1 John 1:9) and keep on loving what Jesus loves. This is possible only because God the Father birthed you into his family and then you believed (1 John 2:29; 5:1a). The ground of your salvation is that God chose to love you before you loved him (1 John 4:19). The proof of God’s love is that you love what he loves – otherwise, you would still love what the world, flesh and the devil does (1 John 2:15-17).
Is there any evidence at all in the past two weeks that you love what Jesus loves – his church? If there is – then rejoice that God’s grace is upon you. If not, then believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to destroy the works of the devil that are evidently still at work inside you (1 John 3:8-10). You don’t have to live in fear – believe that Jesus is your only hope and love what he loves (1 John 4:17-18).