“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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 him.”(1 John 4:8 NIV)
LOVE ‑ one of God’s attributes. (attribute: to assign to [i.e. love originates in God]; a quality or characteristic of a person). LOVEis also an essential part of God’s nature (unlike other gods that display a demanding/restricting love, God is essentially LOVE).
Since love has been so distorted by the human element, in order to determine or measure what love is we need some reference or criterion. The only such reference is the Word of God. God’s word teaches that: 1. in contrast to human love God’s love is unconditional: <see Jn.3:16; Rom.5:8; 1 Jn.4:10>. God loved and gave; He loved and sought; He loved and suffered; and in His love He wills nothing but good for all His creatures. He loves us regardless of who or what we are <see Gen.1:31; Psa.145:9; Mark 10:18>. 2. in contrast to human love God’s love is everlasting: <Jer.31:3>, neither distance nor time can limit God’s love to us. 3. in contrast to human love God’s love is unchanging: <see Psa.78:36-39; Isaiah 48:9; Lam 3:22; Mal 3:6>. Our love for each other changes with circumstances and situations. God cannot change, therefore His love remains the same. 4. in contrast to human love God’s love is free: < Hos.14:4>; the cost of God’s love is the gift to us of His Son, and is borne by God alone. Even though we are such vile sinners and should be charged for our sins against God, we will never be able to repay God for His love to us. 5. in contrast to human love God’s love is enduring to the end <see Jn.13:1; 2 Pet.1:11; Rom.8:39>.
GOD IS LOVE……..SO WHAT ?… God’s love requires a positive response. Our response to God’s love is determined by our relationship to Him. That is, whether or not we are a child of God. One of the “deadly myths” that most people will choose to believe today is that “We are ALL children of God”; and yet another is that “God is a loving God and will never send us to hell”. Yes it is true that God is a loving God, and that is why we are still alive today. God’s wrath hovers over all mankind because of our sinful rebellion to Him, and if it were not for His grace extended to us, the sentence of His law would have been executed long ago; that is, all mankind would have been destroyed and removed from His presence because of our sin <Rom.6:23>. Yes, it is only because of His grace that we are not consumed by His anger <see Psa.78:61-62; Lam.3:22; 2 Pet.3:9>. Our response to God’s love will thus determine whether or not we are His child. God has given us the choice to accept or reject His offer of salvation. However, rejection of God’s offer will one day bring disastrous consequences <see Heb.10:26-29>.
God’s true children must also respond to His love on a continual basis. Our initial response should only be the beginning.
God’s love requires obedience to His word: <see Jn.14:15, 21, 23-24>; How do you respond to God’s word?
God’s love requires unbroken communion with Him: <Jn.21:15-17; 2 Pet.1:12‑15>.To be an effective servant of Jesus Christ we need to be continually reminded of God’s love for us. Peter understood this, and in his letter he purposed to remind his readers of this important fact – the more we dwell on God’s love the closer will be our fellowship with Him. God, in His love, never lets go of us; even though we may fail Him miserably.
God’s love requires that we love one another: <see Jn.13:34-35; 1 Jn.3:11‑24; 4:7-19>.
Such love requires that we are: accountable to each other. [however, do not mould one-another]: mutually helpful and provide assistance for each others’ needs. [i.e. sharing as much as is possible with each other]: sensitive to the hurts and concerns of others : always providing evidence of our discipleship .
GOD IS LOVE…….THEREFORE.. We must: respond to His love‑gift (or suffer the consequences): be obedient to His word (or lose His blessings): maintain our fellowship with Him (or be ineffective in His service): demonstrate our love for Him in our love and service to others (the evidence of discipleship).