What does it mean that God is love?

Question: "What does it mean that God is love?"

What does it mean that God is love? First we will look at how God's Word, the Bible, describes "love," and then we will see a few ways that it applies to God. "Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people's wrongs. Love is not happy with evil; but it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).

This is God's description of love. This is what He is like, and Christians are to make this their goal, (although always in the process). The greatest expression of God's love is communicated to us in John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him (Jesus Christ), will not perish but have everlasting life." "God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." We can see from these verses that it is God's greatest desire that we join Him in His everlasting home, heaven. He has made the way possible by paying the price for our sins. He loves us because He chose to as an act of His will. "My heart is stirred inside me. It is filled with pity for you" (Hosea 11:8b). Love forgives. "If we admit we have sinned (specifics), He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure" (1 John 1:9).

Love (God) does not force Himself on anyone. Those who come to Him do so in response to His love. Love (God) shows kindness to all. Love (Jesus) went about doing good to everyone without partiality. Love (Jesus) did not covet what others had, living a humble life without complaining. Love (Jesus) did not brag about who He was in the flesh, although He could have overpowered anyone He ever came in contact with. Love (God) does not demand obedience. God did not demand obedience from His Son, but rather, Jesus willingly obeyed His Father in heaven. "They must learn that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me to do" (John 14:31). Love (Jesus) was/is always looking out for the interests of others.

This short description of love reveals a selfless life, in contrast with the selfish life of the natural man. Amazingly, God has given those who receive His Son Jesus as their personal Savior from sin the ability to love as He does, through the power of the Holy Spirit (see John 1:12; 1 John 3:1, 23, 24). What a challenge and privilege!

Recommended Resource: The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D.A. Carson.

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What does it mean that God is love?