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From the Pastor’s Pen:
“God is Love...” (I John 4:8)

Zachery Byrd

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“God is love.”
(1 John 4:8)

One of the late classics would sing, “What is love?” We ought not to assume to know the answer. Prior generations defined love as a feeling; current generations define love as acceptance. Do you see the problem? It is not that the goal posts are always changing. The problem is that we are doing the defining. (And doing a poor job!) If the infinite, incomprehensible God is love, we must allow Him to define love on His terms. With that said, let’s establish some parameters.

First, love is rooted in God’s person. God is unchangeable; therefore, God did not become loving. God is love. From eternity past, the love of God feasted on the most loveable object - God’s glory. This amazing love within the triune God can be seen in John’s beautiful words: “The Father loves the Son.” (John 3:35) But also, God is free; therefore, God is free to love whoever He wants. God is not forced nor pressured to love anyone. Furthermore, God’s love is infinite; therefore, God’s love never runs out. God’s love is righteous and just; therefore, God cannot love evil and wickedness. God’s love cannot be severed from the totality of God’s person.

Second, God loved us because He is loving, not because we are loveable. “This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us.” Love is not a quid-pro-quo agreement. We cannot earn God’s love. This is not an emotional high, for our God is not subjected to fleeting passions. He is perfectly consistent, eternally unchanging. Love is not acceptance, for God is perfectly righteous and will not tolerate sin. Instead, what we see is God’s love makes a way. “In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons.” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

“He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10). We were adopted in love because we were rebellious, unloving sons. The Father sent His Son, His only Son, the Son whom He loved to die for our sins because He loved us too. Herein we see the two arms of God’s love active in the life of a Christian - His love of benevolence which loves us apart from what we deserve and His love of complacency which delights in us. Sin removed, righteousness restored, delight abounding - all flowing from the infinite, eternal, unchangeable love of God.

Third, God’s love transforms us. As God loves us and we love God, we become more and more like Him. Hence Paul says, “By looking at Christ, we are transformed from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Cor. 3:18) When we get to heaven, when we love God with an “unsinning heart,” it should not shock us that we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. God loves us as we are, but God’s love does not keep us that way.

How then do we define “love”? Love is a free, voluntary act of grace motivated by God’s love towards us which flows onto and delights in one another apart from their own worth. The question we should be asking ourselves is simple. The question isn’t, “What does he do to be worth my love?” The question is: “What has my love for them cost me?” So friends, love one another.

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