Sunday, September 28, 2014

God Is Love



Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 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. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:7-21

Let’s look at how the Bible describes love, and then we will see a few ways in which God is the essence of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). This is God's description of love, and because God is love (1 John 4:8), this is what He is like.

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. “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). Love (Jesus) was/is always looking out for the interests of others.

The greatest expression of God's love is communicated to us in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8 proclaims the same message: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: 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 eternal 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. Love forgives. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

God is Love, and His love is very different from human love. God's love is unconditional, and it's not based on feelings or emotions. He doesn't love us because we're lovable or because we make Him feel good; He loves us because He is love. He created us to have a loving relationship with Him, and He sacrificed His own Son (who also willingly died for us) to restore that relationship.

Can anyone really comprehend "unconditional" love? It seems the love that parents have for their children is as close to unconditional love as we can get without the help of God's love in our lives. The problem is that even that is not conceivable to many of us as unconditional because many of us have been rejected by our families because of our sexuality.  One of the greatest things my father ever did was to remind my mother when she found out I was gay, that I was their son and that she would always love me no matter what.

If I ever had children, I'd continue to love my children through good times and bad, and I wouldn't stop loving them if they didn't meet the expectations I may have for them. Many parents may be able to love their children unconditionally, but as gay Christians we often find the conditions and limits of their love. God's love for us is different.  God's love transcends the human definition of love to a point that is hard for us to comprehend.  He will never reject  us or put conditions on His love for us, even if other people will do,so in His name, but those people merely prove that they do not know God.

The passage from 1 John above has one of my favorite biblical passages, "If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother."  It is so clearly stated and yet there are constantly people who proclaim that they love God, but in the next breath will tell you all the people they hate and the myriad of reasons for their hate.  It bothers me even more when someone says that God hates someone or some group.  God is love, therefore hate does not exist for in him.

I hope that one day, the message of God's love is spread throughout every man's heart.  In that day, the world will be a better place.  We can begin by showing our love for mankind as God does.  We should lead by example, and we should pray for those who have lost their way to come back to the heart of the message of God. 

I want to end today's post with a beautiful song that exemplifies what I wrote about today.

God Is Love
By Seth Wells

Come, let us all unite to sing:
God is love!
Let Heav’n and earth their praises bring,
God is love!
Let every soul from sin awake,
Let every heart sweet music make,
And sing with us for Jesus’ sake:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

O tell to earth’s remotest bound,
God is love!
In Christ we have redemption found,
God is love!
His blood has washed our sins away,
His Spirit turned our night to day,
And now we can rejoice to say:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

How happy is our portion here,
God is love!
His promises our spirits cheer,
God is love!
He is our sun and shield by day,
Our help, our hope, our strength and stay;
He will be with us all the way;
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

In Canaan we will sing again:
God is love!
And this shall be our loudest strain:
God is love!
Whilst endless ages roll along,
We’ll triumph with the heavenly throng
And this shall be our sweetest song:
God is love!

God is love! God is love!
Come let us all unite to sing that God is love.

4 comments:

Andrew Weiss said...

Despite what other "Christians" believe, God approves all types of love, including same sex love. How do I know this? My deceased partner communicates fairly frequently. He is in a good place and has reassured me that we will be together again someday. He also has validated the presence of Christ. Has never indicated that I should "change". Love is eternal and never dies.

silvereagle said...

Yes, Love Lives!!!!

Jay M. said...

Truer words have never been spoken.
Oh that the WBC would learn this!

Peace <3
Jay

Amanda said...

Wonderful post Joe and so true. Love is all there is. :)