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Don Stewart :: Is God Love?

Don Stewart

The Bible makes it clear that one of the characteristics of God's nature is that He is love.

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).

Love may be defined as, "seeking the highest good of another". It is the opposite of selfishness. It is not merely some emotion. God is perfect love.

He Is Not The Same As Love

While one of God's most obvious attributes is love, it must be understood that He is not equivalent to love. Love is an attribute of God. The statement, "God is love" is not reversible. We can rightly say that God is love but we cannot say that love is God for that would make God impersonal.

His Love Is Perfect And Continual

God can give of Himself perfectly and continually. He will never exhaust His supply of love. The Bible quotes God say to Israel.

The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness" (Jeremiah 31:3).

He Gave Us The Gift Of His Son

It is impossible to love with giving. God has clearly demonstrated His love for humankind by giving the gift of His Son.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:8-12).

Paul wrote.

But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Jesus said.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

He Has A Special Love To Believers

There is a special love that God shows toward those who have trusted Him. Jesus said.

For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came forth from the Father (John 16:27).

Moses wrote.

It was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deuteronomy 7:8).

Paul declared.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us (Ephesians 2:4).

In Zephaniah we read.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, he will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy (Zephaniah 3:17).

Isaiah the prophet said.

Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have mercy on his afflicted (Isaiah 49:13).

Because God Loved The World He Sent Jesus

In the most famous verse in the Bible, we are told that God loved the entire world.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

His Love Is Shown By His Grace

God's love for sinful people is shown by His grace.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7).

There Is Love Between The Members Of The Trinity

God wants the same type of love among His people as is demonstrated between the three members of the Trinity

I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them (John 17:26).

Believers Are To Imitate Jesus

God has shown His love for the world when He sent Christ to die for our sins. In like manner we are to imitate Christ by selflessly giving ourselves to the needs of others. Jesus said:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another (John 13:34).

The Apostle Paul echoed this thought.

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).

God Shows His Love Through Discipline

When a believer falls into sin God shows His love by disciplining them.

For the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts (Hebrews 12:6).

There Is Judgment For Sin

Although God is love the Bible says that He will judge those who reject Him.. Some people wrongfully assume that God will not judge unbelievers because He is a God of love. However God is also holy. His love cannot overrule His holiness and justice. There will be a final judgment of the wicked for those who reject Christ. This is consistent with the God of the Bible who is a God of love but also a God of justice and holiness. Jesus has told us what God will say on Judgment Day to unbelievers.

Then he [God] will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matthew 25:41).

Summary

The Bible says that love is one of God's attributes. God is not only a God of love; Scripture speaks of the love of God. However God is not the same thing as love. Love is an attribute of God. He exercises his love perfectly and continually. Love cannot be demonstrated without giving. God showed his love by sending of Jesus Christ to the earth to die for the sins of the world. Believers are to imitate the love that God has shown.

The Bible says that God has a special love for believers. God demonstrates his love for them by disciplining them when they sin. Although God is a God of love his love cannot overrule his holiness. He must judge sin.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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