Love of God

A Gospel Reflexion On The Love of God

God created mankind in the image and community of the eternally existing Trinitarian God (Genesis 1:26) producing an inherent need and desire for “community” displayed in love by loving God with our whole being and loving others as ourselves (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37-39). God created us so that we may know Him. His creative work of mankind was the act of drawing near to us which was an act of love When God acts, He acts in love because God is love.

“…God’s nature is the grammar of God’s will, which is a Wittgensteinian way of saying that God’s being and acts are one. God is love (I John 4:8) – that is the defining divine perfection – and God is love from tip to toe. God’s only power is the power of love, in which there is no domination, coercion, or violence. Such is the imminent perichoretic, self-giving, non-rivalrous love of the Trinity, economically embodied in the cross (and, as Luther said, crux robat omnia). ‘Omnipotence,’ T. F. Torrance urges, ‘is what God does, and it is from His ‘does’ rather than from a hypothetical ‘can’ that we are to understand the meaning of the term. What God does, we see in Christ …” (HT: Curt).

Likewise, God’s love is what God does, and it is from His ‘does’ rather from a hypothetical ‘can’ that we are to understand the meaning of the term. What God does, we see in Christ. P.T. Forsyth explains,

What ought we say about the love of God? In the cross, God’s love for himself, his name and his authority, and his love for his creatures, is taken up and met in one action wherein God exhibits the very nature of his being as unconditional Holy Love. That’s why not only is the doctrine of the Trinity necessary to make sense of the atonement, but the atonement is necessary to reveal the Trinitarian fellowship of God. The Holy Love that defines the perichoretic life of the Triune God has, by the grace of the Father in the action of the incarnate Son and by the mission of the Spirit, overflowed freely towards those outside of God’s community that creatures may enter into the Holy Love communion that the Triune God has ever known and spoke creation into being for participation in.

In Jesus Christ, God has shown not only that he does not want to be God without us, but that he does not want us to be without him. And in the action of the Holy Spirit, the Triune God is present and active among us to hear and answer our prayers, to sustain us in all the happenings of life, and to continuously bring home to us afresh the good news of the Father’s sanctifying action in Jesus Christ, guaranteeing our inheritance, and empowering us to live in the reality of being ‘holy and blameless’ before God (Ephesians 1:4).

We must not think of ourselves higher than we are. We possess nothing special, nor do we offer any benefit to God for God to choose us. Deuteronomy 7 explains, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping [His] oath…” We are God’s treasured possession; not because of anything good we possess but because God loves us. And God loves us because He loves us. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

This great love with which God loves us can not truly be experienced without our setting love upon others. “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 4:20-21). I believe C. S. Lewis says it well,

“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” – Letters of C.S. Lewis (8 November, 1952)

“… May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. … May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. … The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, 3:5, 2 Corinthians 13:14).

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