Some of the key points from Kingdom Ethics: Love.
Love is at the heart of the life of Christ, his teaching, and his death on the Cross and for Christians, love is the heart of living. Even on the cross, Jesus reflected his compassion through his actions. It is important for Christians to understand what we mean by love and what the true shape of love is. It is important to compare and discern which form of love fits best for Christian ethics.
Sacrificial love is the agape love which is purely unselfish, spontaneous and unmotivated by any value or benefit the other might have for us. It is not created by any value it sees in others but instead creates value in them. This love is regardless of the attractiveness of the one we love and is not something we do but God initiates it as a pure gift and we reflect the love that shines from God through us towards others. The sacrificial love throws its pure white light on our usual way of loving and reveals our selfish rationalizing and calculating but it has some very damaging liabilities. People sometimes see it as ideal and impossible and they either write it off as impractical or experience its lack with a guilty conscience. It also seems to sewer the connection between love and justice. It has also been used to keep oppressed people at their place. It also seems to understand the significance of Jesus’ death. Jesus did not die on the Cross for the sake of self-sacrifice but to deliver us from our bondage to sin.
Mutual love is the love which is two-way and not one-way. The New Testament doctrine of love is based first on the mutual love between God, the Father and the son. Another type of love is the love with equal regard. This love means that we value all persons equally regardless of their special traits, actions, merits of what they can do for us. This fits well with the struggle for justice. Equal regard also seems to assume that the problem we have is to get a correct philosophical definition of our ethical norm. Another kind of love is the delivering love which is not a single principle but a complex drama which is with dramatic actions. Christian love points centrally to the drama of Jesus Christ.
God in Christ loves us even to point of becoming vulnerable to our rejection of him at the Cross. The delivering love offered in the cross has continuity with the works of God and the deeds of deliverance. Jesus did not merely die for the sake of sacrifice but to deliver us. Delivering love does not divorce the Cross from the greedy injustice and the legalistic hate that continue to cause Jesus to be crucified again. We need to understand that love includes confrontation, and God’s love confronts those who are far away from him. As Christians we need to evaluate our own life and see what kind of love we should have towards others as it concerns how we behave and how we deals with people.
Stassen, Glen H. and David P. Gushee. Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2003.