That is Good News: Understanding the nature of Holy love

Published 11:46 am Saturday, November 16, 2019

Brad McKenzie

There is a nuance in the English language that creates a vagueness that other languages avoid.  The distinction comes when a single word is used to describe and define multiple layers and multiple degrees of meaning.

Love is a word in English that can express the deepest of emotional attachment or the most temporal enjoyment of an event or even food.

Many other languages offer different words to express loves in the manner and degree of which it is meant.  When it comes to love between people, especially romantic love, the words Holy and Hollywood are necessary qualifiers.

Hollywood love is centered on self, what self can get, what self can receive, what self can gain.  Hollywood love also loves as long as the person being loved is meeting the other’s particular needs at an existence that is worth the effort.

Holy love, however, comes to us from The Lord, our creator.  It is a love that is centered on the object of love, and is concerned more about the other than receiving love in return.  Holy love continues for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health and loves until death separates.  Understanding the nature of Holy love is necessary to understanding the Seventh Commandment.

Exodus 20: 14 (NRSV), “You shall not commit adultery.”

This to say that married people are not to have any kind of sexual intercourse or any form of fornication that would implicate sexual intimacy with someone who is not their spouse.

This is obviously a commandment to protect and define the family unit just like the fifth commandment did in children honoring their parents.  God gives to us a definite understanding of how he views the family unit, especially the sanctity of marriage.

Marriage was created by God to be a picture of both creation and the relationship that exists within the Trinity and the bond that is intended to form with two flesh become one.  The divine design of marriage is not simply a legal contract that has a way out when the contract is no longer pleasing to someone.

Marital intimacy was created by God to be achieved in the act of Holy love.

Holy love would not want to hurt, harm or damage the heart, soul and body of the other, so therefore would not sexuality with negligence.  Adultery is that negligence.

It has never been more important for God’s people to honor and hold the marriage covenant in the highest of sanctity and in the vein of Holy love.

Sexual brokenness in our culture has derogated God’s design of both marriage and the family.  Jesus cited in Matthew 5 that adultery is the only reason that would justify a divorce and end to a marriage covenant.

One thing to note however is that divorce is not the command for adultery in a marriage, for reconciliation is always possible in God’s grace.

Brokenness in a marriage, even sexual brokenness due to adultery and even divorce, is not beyond God’s healing scope.

God’s Holy love is not only the arc type of the love we are to have, His Holy love is also the transforming restoration when love may be broken.  That is Good News!


Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange