Friday, March 13, 2015

God is love - 1 John 4:7-8

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)
There are many things that God is and isn't, among them: "God is not a man" (Numbers 23:19) "God is a consuming fire" (Deuteronomy 4:24) "God is gracious and compassionate" (2 Chronicles 30:9) "God is righteous" (Daniel 9:14) "God is spirit" (John 4:24) "God is faithful" (1 Corinthians 1:9) and "God is Light." (1 John 1:5) Here, John adds one more, "God is love." John does not say God is loving, though He is, but rather that He is love. His whole existence in both words and deeds expresses the very nature of love. He is the very definition and measure of love. He is the standard by which our love is measured and understood. That which conforms to God conforms to love. To love and to be loving is to be like God, for God is love.

Love is a quality that is unique to God and originated with God. We share in this quality because we are made in His image. The rest of creation is devoid of Love. A rock, a tree, and a bird cannot express love for, though created by God, there weren't created in His image. However, mankind was created in His image and, as such, is capable of feeling and expressing true love. When we express love we are expressing a quality of God that He has placed within us as part of our creation. To be loving is to be Godlike.

While all of mankind is capable of expressing love, not everyone does so in equal measure. Some express little love and others only to those who love them back. Jesus said, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them." (Luke 6:32) Others, while knowing how to love at one time, have let circumstances and events chill the love they once had inside. Jesus warned us that as we approached the latter days, "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." (Matthew 24:12) The truth is that we all have the capability to love but not all of us love, at least not at all times and in all ways. How can we grow in love and become more loving?

If we are to grow in love then we must grow in our knowledge and understanding of God. The more we know God the more we become like Him and, the more we become like Him, the more we will bear His image, and His image is an image of love. Love is not something we can achieve by ourselves. We can never overcome our own self-interests and self-love to actually love others without the transforming influence of God in our lives. We need Him to teach is how to love and how to deny ourselves that we might be available to love others. Growing in God is the only way to grow in love. Those who do not know God cannot and will not love, but those who know God are being transformed into love itself until one day it is said of them that they too are love.

David Robison

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