Love ( 1 John 4:8). “Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4: 7-8).
We’ve looked at many names, titles, and attributes of God, but if there is one word that describes His essence, it is love. Scripture deosn’t tell us simply that God is loving or that He loves us (although Scripture does say these things), but it goes beyond this. We are told God is love.
The word translated “love” is “agape”, and it means “love, affection, good will, benevolence”.
1 Corinthians 13, often called the “love chapter:, explain the characteristics of this “agape” love: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hope all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
We often look to these verses as an ecample of what our human love should be – as we should. But the only One Who perfectly shows this kind of love is God, and God alone.
1 John 3:1 says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God.” 1 John 4: 16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
The whole story of Scripture is a sweeping love story a divine romance: God’s creation of us for relationship with Him- our rejection of His love- His stradfast, gentle, and persitrent wooing – our dividend hearts – His faithfulness despite our faithlessness – our determination to run away from Him and chase other lovers that promise to satisfy us but leave us empty and longing for a pure and everlasting love – His crashing into out world and throwing Himself in the face of our sin to take the punishment we deserve.
And yet, even then, He still doen’t demand our love in return, Instead, he simply “stands at the door and knocks” (Rev 3:20), desiring more than anything that we, the ones He loves, will open the door of our hearts to Him.
So often today, reference to the “love” of God is used to argue against our need for repentance, against our need for a Savior, and against the truth of Scripture. “Love is used as the catchall excuse for continuing in our sin. “Well, God loves everyone so He would never send anyone to hell.”
But the truth is, our eternal destiny is our choice. Our sin has already separated us form God and earned us a death sentence. But Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God shows His love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Various religious systems embrace the idea of love in terms of being kind to everyone and living in harmony. But Christianity is the only faith whose core is the Person Who is love-Jesus Christ. I can be a Mormon without ever knowing Joseph Smith. I can embrace Islam and never know Mohammad. I can call myself a Buddhist without ever knowing Siddhartha Gautama. I can be a Sikh without ever interacting with Guru Nanak.
But I cannot be a Christian apart from knowing Jesus Christ, Who loved me and gave Himself for me (Ephesians 5: 2).
This ia very God Who is Love, and Who is the only One Who can rescue us, save us, and fill our deepest longings with Himself.
Act 4: 11-12 “Three is salvation in no one else [but Jesus ], for there is no other name under heaven given Aming menbby which we must be saved.”