Happy Valentine’s Day – God is LOVE

The need to study and to grasp the love of God is vital for a number of reasons (and even more!).

(1) The love of God is widely accepted, but wrongly understood. As indicated, many people believe in a “God of love,” who operates according to their definition of love. Those people will be shocked to find themselves spending eternity in hell if they believe “a loving God would not condemn anyone to hell.” But the error is not just among unbelievers, for many Christians also have a very distorted concept of God’s love.

(2) The love of God is the basis for God’s great acts in history. In Psalm 136, we find the love (“lovingkindness”—NASB) of God repeated after each new line of the Psalm. The Psalm praises God for His lovingkindness for two major acts in history, the creation of the world and the deliverance of Israel from their Egyptian slavery. The prophets of the Old Testament emphasized the love of God during the dark days of Israel’s captivity (Isaiah 49:8-16; 63:7Jeremiah 31:3Hosea 11:1), and the New Testament speaks of the love of God in the person and work of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:9).

(3) The love of God is the cause, the basis and the standard for the love we are expected to demonstrate in our lives as Christians (Matthew 5:43-48John 15:7-121 John 2:4-11; 3:10-11; 13-24; 4:7-11).

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(4) The entire Old Testament law can be summed up in terms of love. The commands of the Law, given to the people of God, can be summed up as: love God, and love your neighbor.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 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.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:34-40).

8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:8-10).

(5) Love is to be a principle goal of our lives as Christians (1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:13; 14:1; see2 Peter 1:7, where love is the pinnacle of Christian virtues to be pursued).

(6) It is the love of Christ which controls us (2 Corinthians 5:14).

(7) What we love is what we will tend to be like, to imitate (see Hosea 9:10).

(8) Love is one of the prominent terms and concepts in the New Testament. When our Lord was soon to be arrested and crucified, He spoke to His disciples in what has become known as the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17) concerning the things important for them to know in light of His coming death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. “Love” is one of the prominent terms in this section.

Love is also prominent in the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, being mentioned in each chapter. In chapter 1, verse 4, love is first mentioned as the motivation of God as He chose us for salvation in eternity past. In chapter 2, Paul reminds his readers they were once dead in their trespasses and sins, and that God provided salvation for us because of His mercy and His great love with which He loved us (2:4). In chapter 3, Paul prays that his readers might be “rooted and grounded in love” (3:17), and “know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” (3:19). In chapter 4, Christian unity is urged, as believers show “forbearance to one another in love” (verse 2). In the same chapter, Paul says that the church, the body of Christ, builds up itself in love as Christians speak the truth in love (verses 15-16). In chapter 5, Paul urges believers to “walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (verse 2). Husbands are instructed to “love their wives, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for her” (verse 25). In his concluding words to the Ephesians, Paul writes,

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible (Ephesians 6:23-24).

(9) Love for others is evidence of a true faith in Christ, and the absence of love is an indication of a false profession. These statements, written by the apostle John, are challenging to the Christian, and a sobering warning to those who merely think or profess to be saved:

9 The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes (1 John 2:9-11).

14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:14-17).

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. . . 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also (1 John 4:7-10, 20-21).

HT – https://bible.org

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