We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him, and he in God. We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. (1 John 4:14-16)
The most important thing to understand about God’s love is this simple phrase:
God is love.
Love is not merely something that God does or feels. Rather, God is love, and true love is God. The two are not only inseparable, they are one and the same. Love is Who God is.
This is a powerful, incredible concept that I do not fully understand myself. Those three simple words communicate an immense concept that I could discuss for pages and pages, so I won’t even try to do justice to the subject. Here are some things that I do see, however:
- In God’s view, the only real love is His love. We could talk about “true love”, but in reality, if it’s not real love, then it’s not love at all. There is real gold, and then there is fake gold jewelry that sparkles as much as the real thing. But no jeweler places signs in the windows advertising their “real gold rings”. As far as God is concerned, the same thing applies to love.
- Since God is love, there can be no true love without Him, and where He dwells, there will be love. Where there is a lack of genuine love, there is a lack of God’s presence and blessing.
- Love is not something that we can drum up on our own. We can do things that are loving and kind without God’s love, but without God, we cannot actually dwell in love. We cannot create love on our own strength any more than we can create God on our own strength.
- Jesus said the world will know we are His disciples if we love one another, because where He is, there is love. Where He is not, there is not love. Period. Because God is love.
- The only sort of love that we can create on our own is a poor imitation of the real thing. If we try to love others by doing loving deeds, we may be operating out of guilt, shame, or pity instead of love. 1 Corinthians 13:3 tells us that though we give our goods to the poor and our bodies to be burned, it is absolutely worthless to us if it does not come from love.
- When we find that we lack love for God and/or others, we need to ask God if there is something that is preventing His love from working within us.
- This passage explains the importance of knowing, experiencing and understanding God’s love. We see here that our belief in God and our relationship with God comes, in part, from knowing God’s love.
- Since God is love, it is very important not to ignore the subject of love, even though some have misused God’s love to come to some very wrong conclusions. The real solution is to understand what God’s love is really like. If we react to the false teaching and minimize God’s love, we will cause ourselves and others to have a false view of God.
- Everything that God does comes out of love. This means that 1) everything that God has ever done is loving; 2) “Love” does not mean letting people do whatever feels good; 3) Loving actions will not always be perceived as loving.
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