“God is Love” is a fundamental statement about the nature of God.
AB Simpson on God is love, “God is not justice. God is not wisdom. God is not power. God has all these attributes but none of them is great enough to constitute His essence. But love is His very nature and in love all other attributes find their completeness.”
Satan will constantly attempt to twist the world’s understanding of the nature of God. The Bible says “God is love,” the world says, “love is love.” The world defines love as something that we possess and usually this is a selfish desire and sexual in nature. The world ignores the pure and essential nature of God as being the source of love.
This does not mean that only Christians are capable of love. We must remember that we are created in the image of God and have His nature of love within us. However, Satan has perverted it and twisted it into something selfish.
See what Jesus said in John 15:12-13. Love is a commandment, it is a commitment, it is not an optional extra driven by feelings.
1 John 4:7 reads, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
Real, authentic love has its source in God and gives evidence that we have been born again. This is not only loving people who love us in return, but also the ability to love those who are hurting us and annoying us, loving our enemies. This is the supernatural love of God that He displays on our behalf.
Verse 8 is a verse that should make us very uncomfortable, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” The verse doesn’t say, “anyone who does not love his friends…does not know God.” No, anyone who doesn’t love, including those not displaying love to those who are unlovely, those who are oppressing us, those who might reject us and hurt us, does not know God.
The great news of the Gospel is that God made the first move simply because we are not capable of loving this way. Verse 9 says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”
This is something we need to be reminded of. Do you know how much you are loved?
God loves you so much that He sent His only son to free us from the bondage and penalty of separation from God. We don’t even begin to understand the magnitude of the phrase, “God sent His son.”
1 John 4:10 reads, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Jesus, the eternally existing, creator God, was sent to the earth by the Father. The Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit have always existed in perfect eternal communion and love. God doesn’t need us, but He loves us and made a way for us to be reconciled with Him. The only possible way to accomplish this was the spotless Lamb of God had to be sacrificed to atone for our sins. We were not looking for God, He reached out towards us. God took the initiative. God sent His son to die (Romans 5:8).
This was God’s plan from the beginning of time, and it was not a martyr dying in some horrible, cosmic mistake. Jesus willingly laid down his life, taking our place, and bearing the punishment that we deserved.
The word “propitiation” is a rich word that means, “An offering that turns away the wrath of God.”
The holiness of God required that for us to be reconciled with Him, there needed to be a sacrifice for the penalty of our sins. We deserved punishment, but Jesus took the punishment that we deserved so that we can be saved.
Christian love is based on this. It is not simply excusing sin or allowing someone to do whatever they want. Christian love is standing in the gap, and it is in the shape of a cross.
Considering this great truth, we have been forgiven and set free, so how are we to respond?
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11.
Sadly, Christians are not known for their love of others. Many people outside the church only know the church for what we condemn, and not for our love for them. These may be people who oppose our message and even try to harm us and the church. What did Jesus say about these people? (See Matthew 5:44-45).
God does not show partiality in His love for people, and as children of God, neither can we.
Loving others is not simply an obligation that we have to perform out of duty. Rather, as we grow in our walk with the Lord and the Holy Spirit transforms us, we naturally begin to display the love of God for those around us.
Why does God call us to love others? 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”
By living out the love of God, we display the nature of God for others to see. This becomes a practical display of the Gospel. This will always cost us something, but this is the normal Christian life (see Romans 5:5).
Everyone faces crisis and loss in their lives, and pain has a way of cutting through the fluff of life and the image we want to portray. When the crisis comes, how do we love?
Will we love sacrificially and with endurance? It is usually in times of crisis that community is born and strengthened.
We need to remember that as we display the love of God, we display the nature of God. There are few things in life that can possibly be more rewarding or more important.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God…”