God's Nature and Character

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God's Nature and Character

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John perfectly summarized Their divine character and nature when he wrote that “God is love” (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
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, 1 John 4:16 1 John 4:16And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
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).

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.
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, 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.
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). 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.
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). 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,
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). 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.
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, 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.
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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.
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; 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.
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Upon repentance, we can begin to exhibit this kind of love through the Holy Spirit. 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:
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), 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.
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). 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.
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; 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.
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). Time and time again the Scriptures reveal that God perfectly personifies love.