August 19 2021
Today, Thursday August 19
What God is: “God Is Love”
1 John 4:7-11 “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.
Three times, in this section, John encourages us to love one another (1 John 4:7, 11-12). He supports these admonitions by giving us three foundational facts about God. What God is; What God did; and What God is doing.
The first foundation fact: What God Is: "God Is Love" (1 John 4:7-8). This is the third of three expressions in John's writings that help us understand the nature of God: "God is spirit" (John 4:24); "God is light" (1 John 1:5); and "God is love." None of these is a complete revelation of God, of course, and it is wrong to separate them.
God is spirit as to His essence; He is not flesh and blood. To be sure, Jesus Christ now has a glorified body in heaven, and one day we shall have bodies like His body. But being by nature spirit, God is not limited by time and space the way His creatures are.
God is light. This refers to His holy nature. In the Bible, light is a symbol of holiness and darkness is a symbol of sin (John 3:18-21; 1 John 1:5-10). God cannot sin because He is holy. Because we have been born into His family, we have received His holy nature (1 Peter 1:14-16; 2 Peter 1:4).
God is love. This does not mean that "love is God." And the fact that two people "love each other" does not mean that their love is necessarily holy. It has accurately been said that "love does not define God, but God defines love." God is love and God is light; therefore, His love is a holy love, and His holiness is expressed in love. All that God does expresses all that God is. Even His judgments are measured out in love and mercy (Lam. 3:22-23).
Much that is called "love" in modern society bears no resemblance or relationship to the holy, spiritual love of God. Yet we see banners saying "God is love!" displayed at many festivals, particularly where young people are "doing their own thing"—as if one could dignify immorality by calling it "love."
Christian love is a special kind of love. First John 4:10 may be translated: "In this way is seen the true love." There is a false love, and this kind of love God must reject. Love that is born out of the very essence of God must be spiritual and holy, because "God is spirit" and "God is light." This true love is "poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Rom. 5:5).
Love, therefore, is a valid test of true Christian faith. Since God is love, and we have claimed a personal relationship with God, we must of necessity reveal His love in how we live. A child of God has been "born of God," and therefore he shares God's divine nature. Since "God is love," Christians ought to love one another.
The logic is unanswerable!