Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Foundational Truths – God – Love

This attribute of God is virtually universally known or at least proclaimed; yet many who rest in its certainty actually know little about it.  Yes God is love but what exactly does that mean?  Does His being love make Him a benevolent grandfather?  Is His being love allow one to cover all manner of ill with the “warm blanket” of God is love?  Well let’s see.

Webster’s 1828 states of love:

As a verb -  In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification.

This is seen as in the greatest commandment “And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matt 22:37-40).

In this case love is an action or something you do.  I think the confusion comes in because we have weakened the meaning by attributing love to a strong like as in “I really love french fries, or golf, or NASCAR, or … you get the idea.”  In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and this type of love i.e. action, certainly is attributable to God as well in that He demonstrates His love for us Rom 5:8.  But God also loves all mankind in a general sorta way, He sends rain to the just and unjust alike (Matt 5:45).

But the Scriptures declare that God is love (1 Jn 4:16) not that He merely loves.  And this gets to the essence of who God is.  The theme of the entire Bible is the self-revelation of the God of love. In the garden of Eden, God commanded that they must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, if you do you will die (Gen 2:17). Yet when they disobey Him God seeks Adam and Eve, not to kill them but to reestablish a relationship, now broken, with Him. The God who loves seeks to bridges the gap.

That seeking and bridging reaches its pinnacle when God sends his Son into the world to rescue sinners and to provide them with eternal life (John 3:16; Ro 5:7, 8; Eph 2:1-5). John declares, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us" (1 John 3:16).   

However, God’s love is tempered by His wrath so that those who refuse Him will be judged and condemned, for God will not excuse sin.  And those who view God ultimately as a benevolent grandfather make a serious mistake

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