It’s Now or Never: Love Your Enemies

It’s Now or Never: Love Your Enemies

I have heard preachers say, the only thing we do on this earth that we won’t do in the age to come, is witness to unbelievers. So be about it. This is your only chance. It’s now or never.

Well, it is now or never. And we should be about it. The point is well made.

But there is another now-or-never.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). He clearly loved his enemies: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). And God loved his: “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).

But in the age to come there will be no enemies to love. They will have all become friends (Luke 16:9), or they will have been cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12). Neither we, nor Christ, nor God the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the angels will love our enemies any more.

To the degree that we are aware of those in hell, the view will not be one of love, but of abhorrence (Isaiah 66:24).

Today is the day God has appointed to love our enemies. Either we will do it in this life, or we will never do it. But Jesus commands it to be done. It is a revelation of his glory in this world. Loving our enemies is one of the good deeds people see and give glory to God (Matthew 5:16). It is an echo of his cross (Ephesians 4:32). This is the only world where this demonstration of God’s glory can happen.

And it will be remembered forever. “Their deeds follow them” (Revelation 14:13). Jesus’ enemy love will be sung forever—the song of the Lamb (Revelation 15:3). And the echo of it, in our love, will resound through eternity in the stories of our sacrifices.

Don’t waste your life. It’s a gift from God. He gave it so that you could join him in displaying his glory. Some of those displays can only happen now. Now or never. Love your enemies.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.