Summary: Thirteenth in a series on the attributes of God focusing on God's love.
Knowing God Series #13
“Our Infinitely Loving God”
I. The nature of God
II. The Attributes of God
A. God is infinitely GREAT in His ability / capacity
B. God is infinitely and perfectly PURE in His morality and judgments
C. God is infinitely GOOD in His relationships
A study of the greatness and purity of God looks at the mind, mouth, mighty arm, moral character and eternity of God. A study of God’s goodness peers into His very heart. Just as God expects and enables His children to not only reflect His righteousness and holiness he also commands and enables us to reflect His goodness. The channeling of God’s love to one another and the world around us is the indisputable and credible credentials of a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35
THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S LOVE
Goodness describes a propensity or inclination to act beneficially toward others apart from merit on their part or without ulterior motives on our part. God is good and continually does good. Out of God’s goodness flows a multicolored display of relational actions all of which we are specifically called to receive from God and reciprocate to others.
Love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, longsuffering, forgiveness
We use the term goodness as a general term for benevolent feelings and actions toward others and love seems to focus on the passionate pursuit of intimate relationship. It doesn’t take much to discover the huge place love occupies in the scriptures. Put simply, God is love. It is who He is and dictates how He interacts with others. It is the basis of His eternal interaction within the trinity.
"Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24
It is the basis of His interaction with His creatures. He cannot love more or less.
His love does not lapse. It is not the sum total of who He is. He is also spirit, light, holy, righteous, great. His love manifests in complete balance and harmony with all of His other attributes.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
All His other attributes regulate and complement His love.
It is self-existent as God Himself. It is all powerful. It is all knowing. It permeates the universe. It is unchanging. It is absolutely pure. It operates according to truth, holiness and righteousness. It never fails.
What is it?
The concept of love lends itself more to description and illustration than definition. It appears all through the Scriptures and usually some sort of benevolent action accompanies its mention.
Of course, the greatest description of the characteristics of genuine love appears in 1 Cor 13.
It is there that I think the unique nature of this love stands out.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 1 Cor 13:1-3
Notice the actions described.
Powerful encouragement, Enlightening communication, Supernatural faith, Sacrificial giving of my possessions, Sacrificial giving of my life
Generally we would think that such admirable actions would be evidence of genuine love.
Yet, the passage makes it clear that one can do all these actions for others without loving others.
The missing element is a passionate pursuit of meaningful relationship apart from merit. I can give away my things without any desire to pursue intimate connection. The description that follows seems to focus on pursuit of relationship in spite of difficulty.
Love is longsuffering
Love is kind no matter what.
Love has no jealous for what someone else has.
Love is not self-focuses
Love doesn’t respond in hurtful ways (unbecoming).
Love is not concerned about self-promotion.
Love doesn’t react negatively.
Love doesn’t keep track of offenses.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love pursues and practices meaningful relationship in spite of rejection and difficulty. It is easy to be friends with the friendly. It is easy to love the lovely. It is easy to relate to the relatable.