The Love of God

Today the most widely held view is that

“God is love”.

Does not the Apostle John say so in his epistle (1 John 4:1-6), and in his gospel?

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”

that men and women should live and not die (John 3:1-6). God is all kindness, it is said, and He would not condemn or reject anyone. The result of this thinking is an emotional view of God, formed from human desires. C.S. Lewis once described this as the view of God as “a kindly grandfather”, anxious only to keep His children happy by gratifying their every wish.

But this is a gross perversion of the love of God revealed in the Bible. No human father, earnestly desiring his children’s welfare, believes this result can be achieved by gratifying their every wish. Now God is the Supreme Father, who created the human race that they might reflect His own character of truth, mercy and holiness. So

“God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27)

and gave men and women remarkable powers of reason, understanding, conscience and will — all denied in the same degree to the animals — so that they might use them to understand Him and develop characters fit for the eternal destiny He desired for them.

This attitude towards erring mankind, showing that He is

“not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9),

“who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4),

is shown in His dealings with the nation of Israel, described in Scripture as His “son”, and also as His “wife”. Understanding these human relationships, and knowing that essentially their success lies in mutual dependence and selflessness, helps to explain the qualities of patience and compassion God exhibits to His individual children.

When Jesus was describing to his followers God’s never-failing interest in His children’s welfare, he told the story of the prodigal son. The Father’s pain when his son demands his portion and his rights echoes God’s own hurt when men and women wish to strike out on their own, heedless of His ways and His loving care. In the parable, the father’s constant watchfulness mirrors God’s, who ever waits to receive repentant sinners who can be covered by the clothing for sin provided through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Nor is this description of God found only in the New Testament or in the teaching of the Lord. The prophet Hosea‘s personal experiences with a faithless wife were no different from the treatment God Himself received from the wayward nation of Israel. Just as Hosea took back his wife, so God always stretched out His arms to receive Israel again. In doing so, however, He did not show any approval of what His people had done: the experiences they endured because of their faithlessness were intended to teach them about the kind of lives His children should be living.

So there emerges the great principle that it is not the personal desires of men and women which have first place in God’s purpose for them, but their ultimate good. The attitude of God is indeed of mercy, kindness, grace and forgiveness towards His children, as the New Testament so abundantly declares; but it is all within the framework of their ultimate welfare in His purpose.

 

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Preceding

God’s Self-Revelation

The Greatness of the eternal God

The real God

God as Father

Born of the Father

Memorizing wonderfully 49 John 17:1-11 The sent one from God and eternal life

Thinking about fear for the Loving God and an Invitation for 14 Nisan

Next: The Wrath of God

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Additional reading

  1. When feeling sad, not sure of there being a Divine Creator
  2. Attributes to God
  3. Disappointed with God
  4. God’s measure not our measure
  5. Full authority belongs to God
  6. God Helper and Deliverer
  7. God is Positive
  8. God’s design in the creation of the world
  9. God’s hope and our hope
  10. God His reward
  11. God’s promises
  12. God’s salvation
  13. Incomplete without the mind of God
  14. Is God hiding His Face when He is seemingly silent
  15. Jesus his answers about God’s silence
  16. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  17. The fear of the Lord
  18. Doubting the reality, genuineness and effectiveness of God’s love
  19. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  20. Passover and Liberation Theology
  21. Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound
  22. Redemption #9 Only way
  23. To come to live in the peace of fulfilment of our own Divine Identity
  24. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  25. Give Thanks To God

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Related

  1. I don’t know what LOVE is….
  2. in love.
  3. Love is God
  4. God’s Father heart….
  5. A Love Satisfied
  6. The love of God
  7. life is difficult – God is love
  8. I John 4:7-8
  9. I John 4:9-11
  10. Free Love
  11. Recognizing The Truth
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