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God Is Love

QUESTION: People say, "God is love." What does that mean?


God is Love. Those are words said by John in 1 John 4:8. I believe that what John was saying is that God’s character is the very personification of love, that in His actions we see His love poured out for us. 1 John 4 goes on to say: “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.”

The amazing thing about the kind of love that God shows for us is that it is not dependent on anything we did, are doing, or will ever do. He loved us without our ever knowing one thing about Him. It was enough that God knew about us. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

The disciple John wrote more about love than any other biblical author. In his letters (1, 2, and 3 John), he wrote much about it being a word of action. He admonished us to love one another because God is love.

John repeatedly stated that in one action, God absolutely demonstrated His love: He maintained that we could find God’s love in the life and death of Jesus, His son. Jesus left the comfort and beauty of Heaven to become man -- in every way. He was tempted; He suffered pain, thirst, hunger, sleep deprivation, grief, and loneliness -- all the things we might encounter. He experienced life and then He died the death of a criminal on a cross after being nearly being beaten to death. He did nothing to deserve death. He was totally without sin. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

In perhaps John’s most famous words of all, he said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God allowed all men to have eternal life and become joint heirs with His son just by believing that His son paid this price or ransom for their sins. “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” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

“The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). In the Old Testament, the blood of animals was used to cover up the sin. It never got rid of the sin. Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own son in the likeness of sinful man, to be a sin offering.” “By that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

Jesus said, “The Father Himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God” (John 16:27). And so we know and can rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him” (1 John 4:16).

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