The love of God is selfless, outflowing concern for the good of others. When He showed His glory to Moses, God revealed Himself as “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7 Exodus 34:6-7 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, to the third and to the fourth generation.
American King James Version×, NIV).
Love is the foundation of the character and law of God. It is the basis of everything that God has revealed to mankind in the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 22:35-40 Matthew 22:35-40 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×). Paul called love the greatest Christian attribute (1 Corinthians 13:13 1 Corinthians 13:13And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
American King James Version×). It is the first aspect of the fruit of God’s Spirit that he mentions (Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×). Love is the bond of perfection, binding everything together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:14 Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection.
American King James Version×, NIV). It is the fulfilling of God’s divine law (Romans 13:10 Romans 13:10Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
American King James Version×).
This amazing quality of godly love even encompasses love for one’s enemies (Matthew 5:44-45 Matthew 5:44-45 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
American King James Version×; Luke 6:35 Luke 6:35But love you your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil.
American King James Version×).
Love is the basis of the commitment between the Father and Christ. Jesus said, “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand” (John 3:35 John 3:35The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.
American King James Version×). And He further said, “I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do” (John 14:31 John 14:31But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
American King James Version×).
He told His disciples, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10 John 15:10If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
American King James Version×). Christ is forever obedient to the Father, and we are to likewise be obedient to the Father and Christ as an expression of our love for Them. (By the way, this contradicts the Trinitarian idea that there can be no relationship of command and obedience within the Godhead, as that implies distinct beings with distinct wills.)
Upon repentance, we can begin to exhibit godly love, which is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5 Romans 5:5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
American King James Version×). God wants us to learn to think as He thinks and do as He does.
In exercising this kind of love, we express the image of God (reflecting His character), even though we are still human. Paul encourages us to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×), who perfectly personified God’s love to the point of giving His own life for us.
One of the Bible’s best-known passages tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×). God not only wants to grant us the priceless gift of eternal life, but He also wants to share all things with us in His divine family (Hebrews 2:6-8 Hebrews 2:6-8 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that you are mindful of him? or the son of man that you visit him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of your hands: 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
American King James Version×; Romans 8:16-17 Romans 8:16-17 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
American King James Version×). Time and time again the Scriptures reveal that God perfectly personifies love.