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What Does the Bible Mean by “Love Does Not Delight in Evil but Rejoices with the Truth?”

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-6, Paul gives a list of what love is and what it is not. The last point in verse 6 says that love “does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” In the KJV, it is translated as love “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” This last statement does not just say what love is not but follows with what love should be; that love is not just about avoiding sin but ultimately about being happy in living and loving according to the truth that comes from God. Unconditional love is not about having a relationship without rules. God made the ten commandments not merely for legalistic compliance but to protect the sanctity of our relationship with Him and our neighbor. The truth that comes from the Word of God is what creates healthy boundaries in any relationship.

The first to the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:2-8) sets the boundaries to protect and maintain our most important relationship, our relationship with God. The truth of God prevents us from the evil of idolatry and restlessness. The fifth to the tenth commandment (Exodus 20:12-17) protects our relationships with man. The Bible teaches us to honor our parents, stay away from any form of adultery as it tears down homes, and treat our neighbors with pure deeds and motives. God’s infallible truth is the guideline that leads to beautiful and successful relationships. We protect our relationships when we uphold the truth of God in them.

Every day, we encounter evil manifesting in different forms—in how we relate with our spouse, other people of the opposite sex, our immediate family members, our other relatives, and other kinds of relationships. The epistle of 1 Corinthians was written by Paul to address the problems among the believers in Corinth involving pagan idol worship, sexual immorality, and divisive factions. The love of God brings us freedom, and if we fail, He is merciful enough to forgive all our sins. But that freedom should never be abused with a life of licentiousness. The grace of God may be freely given, but its priceless value should never be cheapened with a self-centered and hedonistic lifestyle. That would be ingratitude to the greatest sacrifice done for mankind by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Godly love does not allow sin to creep into our relationships, but it is always happy to stand up for God’s truth despite the challenge it may pose. One must love the truth of God more than the urge of sinful desires.

“[1] Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. [2] But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

(Psalm 1:1-2 KJV)

Loving God by upholding His truth and loving others as well are very foundational in a believer’s life. Jesus teaches us that the world will know by our love that we are His disciples (John 13:35). In fact, we can love according to His truth only because He first loved us, and He exemplified that love by His sacrifice on the cross (1 John 4:19). Despite our constant rebellion against God and His truth, He still chose to redeem us by becoming the ultimate atoning sacrifice for all mankind. 

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

(2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”

(Galatians 3:13 KJV)

Due to our sinful nature, we are unable to love according to His truth. Instead, we always find ourselves heavily compelled to give in to our worldly desires and choose what is evil. Our only hope of winning against the flesh is the enabling power of the unconditional and sacrificial love of God.

“[14] For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 KJV)

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