1 John 4:7–8 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.
When we think of love, we think of romance, strong affections between people, even unselfish loyalty toward another person. It is a relational word used to impart the highest level of emotional attachment to another. But our love is predicated upon our approval of the object of our affections. It is maintained by reciprocated feelings and actions demonstrating devotion and commitment. One way love, or rejected love, results in overwhelming pain or “heartache.” While intense, erotic love is often called being “love sick.” In some cases, human love wells up into heightened feelings just short of euphoria. As intense and thrilling our experience may be, it eventually looses its luster. The rush of emotion dwindles into forgettable familiarity, a sort of “friendliness” that simply becomes a common part of any ordinary relationship.
God is love.
We hear this often. Yet we spend little time trying to understand this complex statement. Love, as we commonly understand it, is an emotion reciprocated. Yet, God is singularly LOVE. He is holy love, divine love, and exponentially beyond our human experience or understanding of the word. Love is the deepest expression of His character perfectly demonstrated by His devotion and care toward and for His people; steadfast, faithful, and everlasting. His love knows no boundaries; it withholds nothing, not even His only begotten Son, Jesus. His Beloved left the glory of Heaven to come to us as a man, demonstrating perfect love in every relationship. He healed the sick and forgave the sinner. He taught perfect love goes beyond strong affections, loyalty, preference, and even reciprocation. Love your enemies; forgive your debtors, even seventy times seventy times more. Even further still, He took this intense love to the Cross where He died in our place; willingly giving His life for ours and dying a sinners’ death. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.
Yes, God is love. But not the kind of love we so selfishly put into practice. He is the kind of love that goes beyond our understanding or capacity to engage. He loves us with an intensity we cannot fathom and with a steadfastness that never ends. If that were not enough, He pours out His divine love among His children through His Holy Spirit. It is by THIS love, we are known as His children – because we love one another as He has loved us. As we forgive each other, care for one another, and help each other, the world will know we are His.
1 John 4:11–12 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.