What is “love” in a specifically and uniquely Christian understanding?
Topic 12 discusses this question at great length. The discussion in Topic 12 opens with the following paragraph:
During his life on earth, Jesus revealed that God is Father: his own Father, the Father of Christians and the Father of all people (cf. John 5:18; 20:17; Matthew 6:9 and parallels). It is the will of this Father-God that all people should understand themselves as his children. By expressing the relationship between God and the human race in terms of father and son, Jesus chooses a powerful image to express Gods love: the love of a father for his children. For the Christian, however, this does not imply fatherhood in a physical sense on the part of God towards his creation.
In light of the above, it could be said that the specifically Christian understanding of love is the mutual love that exists between God and human beings, who are God’s children. Jesus came to reveal the kind of love that God the Father has for us and to show us how to live our lives in the knowledge that we are loved by God. Jesus expressed his own loving relationship with God through his teaching and through the example of his life. Most of the parables of Jesus are about God’s forgiveness and loving embrace of all people as His own beloved children. During his life on earth, Jesus invited his disciples to enter into the same loving relationship that Jesus himself enjoyed with God, his Father. In their turn, Christians are called to invite others into this intimate relationship with God. Christians make this invitation by manifesting the fruits of their own loving relationship with God in practical ways, that is, through their loving service of others. This is the specifically Christian understanding of “love”.