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A Costly Love

By Toby Crowder

Mitchell CountyToby Crowder Spruce Pine Mt. Carmel Baptist Church

John 15:9 & 13 “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love… Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

This month brings us Valentine’s Day and with it an opportunity to show expressions of our love to our spouses or significant other. Thousands upon thousands of cards, flowers, and gifts will be given while some will spend more than they are comfortably able to at this time of year, searching for that gift that is “just right.” I think that I would be correct in saying that for some folks, February 14th is a costly day! But isn’t that the point of it all…to sacrificially give so that the person receiving it realizes our sincerity and love for them? When we think about tokens of love, and consider the costliness of love, we must not forget the words of our Lord in John 15.

In this chapter, Jesus is discussing relationships with His disciples. He defines Himself as the vine, and the disciples as the branches, and then reminds them that without Him, they can do nothing (v.5). At the core of this conversation is the subject of love. Not a passing fascination, or first-grade “puppy dog” love… but true, real, and lasting love. Love is cheap and misunderstood in today’s world and our culture. People and couples are quick to say “I Love you” as a tagline at the end of a call, or without really understanding what Love is. According to Alan Redpath, we get our English word agony from agape. “It means the actual absorption of our being in one great passion.” 

Jesus uses this word (agape) in verse nine and several other times in this passage. This was and is a CONTINUAL love; a love that knows no beginning and no end because it is of God and originates in Him. Our love is at times fleeting, dependent upon conditions and circumstances. We love others until they no longer serve our needs or fit into our “mold.” I am thankful today that God does not love us with that kind of inconsistent love, but this continuing love is founded in the very nature of God, for God IS love… not just a God OF love. We read in 1 John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.”  and Romans 5:8 declares that “… God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” As believers, we can rejoice in this continual love that we have as the basis of our relationship with God! 

This love is also a COMMANDING love. Commanding in this regard deals with how it affects others, as we display the love of God in our lives. In this one command, is contained so many others… that we love one another, with the Love of God. This type of love should be the standard of every Christian…it is how we are known to belong to Him. Jesus offered this as a command in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” 

While we remember that this is a continual and commanding type of love, let us never forget that God’s love was COSTLY! This love and the salvation that accompanies it is without cost to us, but it costs God His Son! Can we imagine a love so intense that we would lay down our lives, or our child’s life, for someone that we do not know? Many would for family… maybe even some friends… but for a stranger?  We learn in 1 John 4:9-10 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” This is the undeniable proof that God loves a guilty world and that this love was manifest in His Son! This love was costly to God the Father, and it will be costly to us as we love others with the love of God!


Toby Crowder serves as Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. He and his wife Leslie have been married for almost 30 years and have two daughters, Emilee, and Katy. Feel free to contact him at or


Read more from Toby Crowder here.