The Bible tells us that God is love.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. GOD IS LOVE, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because GOD IS LOVE. 1 John 4:8
So just what does this mean? What is God’s love like?
Does God love us when we mess up? Does God love us when we can’t feel or sense his love? Does his love change?
You may wonder if God loves you. What evidence do we have that God loves us?
Scripture has a lot to say about the love of God.
First of all, God‘s love for us is not based on anything in us.
God does not love us because we are lovable, or because of anything we do. God‘s love for us is not based upon our obedience or even our love for him. The theological term many use to describe God‘s love is “unconditional.“ In other words, God’s love is not based on any conditions, such as our obedience, or our love for him. In fact the Bible says that God loves us despite the fact that we rebelled against him, broke his laws, spit in his face and rejected him.
Perhaps the best Scripture to see God‘s unconditional love is Romans 5:8:
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
And 1 John 4:9-10 tells us:
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 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.
Isn’t this incredible? God did not wait for us fallen humans to begin to love him before he sent poured out his love on us and his son to die for us. If God had waited until we loved him he would never have sent Jesus because we would never have loved God on our own. We were dead in our sins. We had no desire for God. In fact we hated God. Yet God so loved us he sent his Son who took all of our sins upon himself as if he had personally committed them and took our punishment on the cross.
God could not have done anything more to demonstrate his love for us than to have his one and only Son bear the wrath that we should have received.
If for no other reason than this we should believe that God loves us.
God‘s love is steadfast, unceasing, unchanging, unfailing.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end…Lamentations 3:22
God never ceases to love his children. Even when we can’t sense it. Even when we sin and fail to love him God does not cease to love us. We must believe that God‘s love is steadfast, especially when we are going through hard times and afflictions and cannot feel his love. But no matter what we are going through God will never stop loving us who have believed in Jesus.
In Deuteronomy 31:6 God told his people:
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
And in Isaiah 43:2 God tells us:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
God‘s love is sacrificial and self-emptying
God’s love is giving. Talk about sacrificial giving – God sacrificed his one and only son for us. He gave the most precious thing in the universe for us because he loves us. Jesus emptied himself because he loved us. Paul describes Jesus’ self-sacrificing love for us in Philippians 2:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (5-8)
God‘s love is perfect.
Because God’s love is holy love. Righteous love. There is no conflict among God‘s attributes. Because God is infinitely holy and pure his love is infinitely holy and pure. Because God is perfectly righteous, he will never do anything wrong or unjust to us. Even if he should discipline us or allow us to go through suffering he is completely righteous and it does not mean he has failed to love us.
God’s love is infinite and incomprehensible
His love is infinite. He tells us in Psalm 103:
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him (11)
God’s love is greater than we can even imagine. How high are the starry heavens above the earth? We will be amazed at his love forever and ever. For all eternity we will see and experience new aspects of his love.
God‘s love is eternal
He says in Jeremiah 31:3:
…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
God set his love on us before he created the world:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6
Before he created the world “in love” he predestined us that he would make us holy and blameless and adopt us as his very own children. God has loved us from eternity past and will love us for all eternity.
God‘s love is the love of a father for his children
When we believe in Jesus, he adopts us into his family. He is not a distant, unknowable, fearful being but he is our Father and by the Spirit of God call him “Abba,” father. GotQuestions.org says, “The word Abba is an Aramaic word that means ‘Father.’ It was a common term that expressed affection and confidence and trust. Abba signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father and his child, as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his ‘daddy.’”
God’s love is patient and forbearing
In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul tells us what God’s love is like and how we should seek to love others:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (4-7)
When God appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai, he described himself this way:
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…Exodus 34:6
In Romans 2:4 Paul says:
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
It is God’s will that we know and experience his love.
God is rich in kindness and forbearance and patience. What a loving God we serve! I’m so grateful God is forbearing and patient with me, because I am so slow to change.
It’s not just theoretical. Not just a doctrine we learn and believe, but we experience God’s love now in this life and we will experience it forever in heaven.
And finally, because God loves us so much we are to love others as God loves us.
Since God has forgiven us, how can we not forgive others? Since God is so patient and forbearing with us, how can we not be patient and forbearing with others? Since Jesus laid down his life for us, how can we not seek to lay down our lives for others?