Only in the Word of God can we hope to know and understand the essence of true love. We often allow the world’s philosophy of love (just an emotion, attraction, or a physical relationship) to cloud our estimation of love’s true quality.
Love is a Person – 1 John 4:7-12, 16-19 – God Himself is the essence, the personification of love. Love originated in God and only by knowing Christ as Lord and Saviour can we begin to understand the actuality of love.
Love is a Decision – “For God so loved the world”, John 3:16 – God chose, by an act of His will, to love His creation in spite of their sin and rebellion. God was not motivated by feeling, emotion or by the goodness of His creatures, but by His sovereign will and purpose toward man.
Love is an Action “…that he gave his only begotten son”, John 3:16 – God acted first in His mind and by His will to purpose and plan to work on behalf of His creation to provide a way of redemption. God then acted outwardly toward His creation by revealing His love, mercy, grace and eventually, by the gift of His son.
Love is an Emotion – Psalm 16:7, Hebrews 11:6 – Our God is blessed, exalted and pleased by the response of lost sinners embracing Christ, by faith, and seeking to grow to be like Christ in their daily lives.
Pure love takes place when a person, in obedience to God, decides by an act of the will, to express himself or herself unselfishly in thoughts, words and deeds of loving kindness toward another. This act and expression of love is with or without feelings of affection and regardless of whether or not it is deserved. The result of such love may lead to the creation of, or renewal of, emotions or feelings of fondness between both parties or it may not. Regard- less of the outcome, it is how we are commanded to love others and how our God has showed us to love others.
This agape love is to be given to God (Luke 10:27); partners in marriage (Colossians 3:19); family members (Titus 2:4); brethren in Christ (John 13:34-35); neighbours (Matthew 19:19); strangers – unbelievers (Leviticus 19:34); and our enemies (Luke 6:32).
If we love Him because He first loved us, let us love Him and others, as He first loved us.
Post by: R. Barry Beebe, President of NBBI
This article appears in the February 2011 NBBI Open Bible Bulletin