God’s Love

A large part of my recent sabbatical was spent reading, praying and thinking. Much of that thought was about God’s love. Having found its way into my head and my heart, some of that love and those thoughts are beginning to turn into words.

The fourth chapter of John’s first letter tells us, starkly, that God is love. In this context, English lets us down a bit, because it only really has one word for love. In our modern, overly-sexualised society, we have a tendency to think of erotic, sexual, love when we see the word. And that’s not what it means in this context. The love to which that short sentence is referring is the sacrificial, unconditional, love of God, which the Ancient Greeks called αγάπη (agapé). At this point, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it might be worth looking at this earlier post of mine.

God is love means far more than that God is loving (though He is!). It means that His essential nature is love; it is what He is; it is who He is; it is how He is; it is ‘in His DNA’ if you like. If God was a stick of Blackpool rock, the word running right through the stick would be ‘LOVE’. He loves because it is in His nature to love, rather than because He finds objects worthy of His love. So His love for us depends not on what we are, but rather on what He is. He loves us because He is that kind of God. That is, to a sinner (albeit a redeemed sinner) like me, very, very, comforting.

He does not want to punish us, because He loves us. He will go to virtually any length, even so far as to sacrifice His son Jesus, to restore the relationship with us so that we can enjoy, and reciprocate, His love.

Copyright © Phil Hendry, 2022