God is Love
The word “love” has been misused and over-used to the point that it has lost nearly all its meaning.
In today’s modern church culture there is a tendency to exalt and idolize God’s love to the exclusion of all His other attributes and characteristics. The biblical understanding of love, though, is not that of a sentimental, self-centered, romantic love. God’s love is a perfecting love.
God’s love is founded in God’s truth, law, justice, holiness, and righteousness. In Romans 13:10, love is said to be the “fulfilling of the law.” When Jesus was asked by a lawyer “which is the great commandment in the law?”, Jesus responded by proclaiming, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:35-38). Jesus further declared what love means when He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15).
The typical “God is love” cliché is twisted out of context from 1 John 4:8. Consider the verse in its proper context:
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [1 John 4.8-10]
God’s love is manifest (it is put on display for us) in the sending of His Son to die for the sins of all people. The love of God was shed abroad to all mankind on the cross when He made the way of salvation possible through Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice (He suffered the punishment you deserve). You receive God’s love when you repent of your sins and surrender to Christ as your Lord and Savior. Have you repented of your sins and surrendered your life to Him?
In 1 John 5:3, it is stated, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:” As you can see, God’s love is inextricably linked to His law and commandments. Love does not abide in anything evil or sinful, rather love rejoices in truth (1 Corinthians 13:5-6). If you love Jesus and you believe that God is love, you will show that love by keeping Jesus’ words and abiding in truth (John 14:23).
Do you love Christ? Or do you love an idol (a false god) you have created in your mind-–a god who makes no demands of you and just “loves you for who you are”?
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. [1John 2.3-5]