The affection of Christ Jesus
The power of the gospel is shown in the supernatural affection that it produces not only for Jesus Christ himself, but also for those who belong to Jesus Christ. This affection is deepened as believers experience fellowship in the gospel.
People who have little or nothing in common on an economic, social, political, or ethnic basis are brought together by the Holy Spirit in unified devotion to Christ and the advance of his gospel. Racism and sexism are offensive to God because they divide the body of Christ. Whether Christians live in Lampasas, Mexico City, Moscow, Bagdad, Beijing, or Mogadishu; they are all children of God. We are all made in the image of God.
The divisiveness in our society goes beyond racists. The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs approved of someone posting a flyer on the school’s campus that says veterans should be “banned” from four-year colleges and universities. The pamphlets claim that “many veterans openly mock the ideas of diversity and safe spaces for vulnerable members of society.”
Socialists, the alt right, conspiracy theorists, fascists, communists, Black Panthers, gang members, drug addicts, illegal immigrants, environmentalists, vegans, lawyers, Yankees, feminists, Hell's Angels, Wall Street Bankers, the homeless, disorderly teenagers, alcoholics, skinheads, fundamentalists, anarchists, racists, sexists, dictators, politicians, lobbyists, Muslims, atheists, millennials, North Koreans, Russians, Syrians, prisoners, the poor, the wealthy, jerks; God calls us to sacrificially love everyone. Whether we love people as family, friends, neighbors, or enemies. In other words, we love everyone.
What Paul solemnly affirms is how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. The verb translated yearn means “to have a strong desire for something, with implication of need.” Paul regularly uses this verb to describe an intense desire for fellow believers (Rom 1:11; 2 Cor 9:14; 1 Thess 3:6; 2 Tim 1:4), and will do so later in the letter to describe Epaphroditus’s longing for the Philippians while he was with Paul (Phil 2:26). In the Psalms it expresses a longing for God (42:1]), his courts (84:2), his word (119:20, 131) and his salvation (119:174).