“God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins… We love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:9-10,19 CEB).
God’s absolute nature is love. So, God is love in action!
But, for love’s action to be complete, it requires not only the giving of it but also the receiving and returning of it.
If God just emanated love, He would merely be a spectator of His creation, a cosmic stalker, of sorts, of the beings He created for love!
“So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, ‘Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.’ So the Lord allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua” (Judges 2:20-23, NASB).
Because of Israel’s continual disobedience to God’s covenant with them, God allowed other Canaanite people-groups whom the Israelites were supposed to destroy completely to remain in the promised land. Although God left these enemies in the land to test the Israelites (3:1-4), it was Israel who failed to drive them out as God had commanded.
The way we sometimes present the gospel would make this verse read more like this: “For we sinned so much that God gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will quit sinning.”
We make the gospel out to be about our sin rather than God’s love. We send people down the Roman Road–“all have sinned” (Romans 3:23)–instead of up the Via Dolorosa–“He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
“I have always loved you,” says the Lord” (Malachi 1:2, NLT).
Malachi wrote to the Jewish exiles that had resettled in Judah probably sometime during the reign of King Darius of Persia (521-486 BC). Malachi begins his oracle by conveying the simple truth that God has always loved Israel.
“Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy” (I Corinthians 14:1, NLT).
Having emphasized the supreme importance of love in the preceding chapter (I Corinthians 13), the Apostle Paul returns to the subject of spiritual gifts, which he began discussing in Chapter 12.
I Corinthians 13 is known as the “Love Chapter” in which the Apostle Paul describes how love should be the primary influence or motivating factor for serving in the Church.
The Love Chapter is embedded between Chapters 12 and 14 where Paul explained the different spiritual gifts God has given to the Church in order to unify and strengthen it.
“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, HCSB).
These two verses are commonly known as the Shema. They are titled after the first word of verse 4, the Hebrew word for “hear” or “listen.”