God’s love has been mistaken for a lot of things. We have mistaken human love for God’s love. So many people believe that God loves us just like people love us. Because people have deemed us unlovable or have abandoned us, we also inaccurately believe we are unlovable to God. Because people have failed to love us well. We believe God cannot be able to love us well either.
But God’s love is nothing like human love and that’s what I want us to look at. What is God’s love and how does it look like?
What is God’s love?
God is love.
This is the heart of who God is- love. Love is not something He does, or something He feels, it is who He is. We say that God is holy, God is righteous, or God is mercy. And all these are attributes of who He is. But when we say that He is love, we are saying that everything else that He does or He is, flows from the center of love. Even in His holiness, He is love, in His judgment He is still love.
This is who He is. If there is a description that we need to fully grasp about who God is it is that God is love.
How does His love look like?
God‘s love is pure.
The dictionary defines purity as being free from contamination. And this is what God’s love is, it cannot be influenced by anything. It is uncontaminated. We cannot influence His love for us. We cannot do or not do something to make his love for us inferior or superior. It stays the same.
This makes His love different from our love because our love is easily influenced. A person can do something to make me love them or a person can fail to do something and it makes me not love them.
God’s love is sacrificial.
Often, human love fails because we refuse to sacrifice when love demands we do. God doesn’t tell us He has fuzzy warm feelings for us and then walks away when love requires Him to give of Himself to prove His love for us. He has proven His love for us.
He demonstrates His love for us.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8
We often hear that Jesus died for us but I love how Paul paints it. It’s not a casual thing for one to die on another’s behalf. In fact, it is very hard for us to die for the people we say we love the most. Or even die for the person who has done us the most good.
Yet, God’s great love is shown by His willingness to die for us sinners. Even when we were of no benefit to Him because of our fallen, sinful nature He Chose to die for us.
This is the highest expression of love. He sacrificed His Son so we may live.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
John 3:16 puts it so clearly for God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God loved, and so He gave. He didn’t just give what He could afford. He gave us what He couldn’t afford to give and this is sacrificial love.
Romans 8:32 says He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will he not also along with Him, freely give us all things?
In our wondering if God will give us the things we ask of Him. We are reminded He didn’t even spare the Son he loved the most. He freely gave him up for our sake won’t He give us all things too?
God’s love is everlasting.
We can also say that because His love is everlasting; it’s also loyal, it’s devoted; it’s unfailing; it’s faithful and it’s steadfast. All these can be used to define everlasting love.
People’s love isn’t everlasting, it isn’t even long-lasting, to say the least. But God describes His love for us as everlasting and faithful.
The Lord appeared to me( Israel ) from ages past saying, “ I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you and continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3 AMP
We are included in Israel in Christ Jesus.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His covenant of loving devotion for a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9
He keeps His love for us even to a thousand generations after us. This means that those whom God has loved, He also loves their children, generation after generation.
His love isn’t just everlasting it’s devoted. It takes devotion to love continually and this is what God does.
God’s love is intentional.
People can accidentally love us. They can love us because of convenient circumstances but not God. His love for us is not accidental it’s so intentional.
Just as [ in His love] he chose us in Christ[ actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world so that we would be holy [ that is consecrated, set apart for Him] and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [ His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will. Ephesians 1:4-5
In love, He specifically selected us. Before He formed the world, He knew you would exist and knew that you would be the object of His love. He doesn’t show up one day and say, “Well, she is here I might as well love her.” Before we showed up on the earth, He was there waiting to love us.
In Him we were also chosen as God’s own, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything by the counsel of His will. Ephesians 1:11
God’s love is perfect.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:8
Another word for perfect here is complete. So John is saying God’s love for us is complete, and it’s only complete love that is able to cast out the fear of punishment.
John is correcting the idea of the world that God is a judge and a punisher. But when we enter into His love the fear of God’s judgment is expelled from our hearts. We are able to fully enjoy and live in His love for us.
NLT says such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love for us.
We have to fully experience his love for us to be able to live without fear.
Amplified says…so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].
I love Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus and for us.
I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:18-19
We are only able to be filled with the fullness of God when we understand His love for us. Outside of knowing His love for us, we cannot be able to know Him or experience Him as we ought to.
Amplified puts it this way… and that you may come to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up[ throughout your being] to all the fullness of God[ so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself]. Ephesians 3:19
The love of God has to be practically experienced. It has to be more than mere knowledge for it to be beneficial to us. There are so many Christians who do not have a personal experience of God’s love. They have heard about His love but have not gotten to the place of experiencing that love for themselves. When we know His love through mere knowledge (without experiencing it for ourselves) we will be a horrible example of God to a world that desperately needs His love.
So go and know the love of God for yourselves so you can share Him with the world!
You are intentionally chosen, greatly, faithfully, and perfectly loved by God. Go and live out this truth!