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The Attributes of God Devotional - God is Love

Attributes

“God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).  This is the best-known of all of God’s attributes, and arguably the most misunderstood.  Too many people think that God’s love is a “one size fits all” matter; that God loves everyone equally.  God’s love, however, is nuanced, and as we look more and more into it we can better grasp its depths.

“The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all he has made” (Psalm 145:9).  All creatures look to God for their food (Psalm 104:27-28), and are the beneficiaries of God’s love.

God does love the entire human race.  He gives every man and woman life and the necessities of life.  Even those who hate God are cared for by God.  The flocks of the wicked prosper, his crops flourish, he meets and exceeds his sales targets, his stock meets or outperforms the market average, and in general he prospers.  This is what is known as common grace, and it ought to make the wicked bless, glorify, and thank God for His goodness, but it does not.  All too often man goes on his way, having no thought for God, or even blaspheming and cursing Him, not grasping that his very life is in the hand of God.  What will make the Final Judgement so terrifying to the wicked is that he will see every single instance of God’s grace to him – and see his ingratitude and thanklessness for every single manifestation of God’s love to him.

We are all in this condition by nature as a result of the Fall, and thus there must be a special grace to change us.  We therefore come to that very special love of God, the love He has for His people.  Peter speaks of this love in 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  In this great and high calling we see the great depths of God’s love.

This love looked out from eternity and chose out of a lost human race individuals to be saved (Eph. 1:4-6).  This love moved the Father to send the Son to be a ransom for this chosen people (Matt. 20:28), and it moved the Son to lay down His life for them (John 15:13).  And just as our love for others increases as they respond to that love, so God’s love for us deepens as we keep His commandments.  “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.  And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).

We must also remember the mutual love between the Father and the Son throughout all eternity.  Yet it pleased the Father to have the Son suffer humiliation, trials, heartache, pain, and even death through the most ghastly means of execution devised by fallen mankind.  Why?  Because in this way He manifested the depth of His love for us.  In His willingness to suffer all these things, the Son displayed His love for us.

We have been called upon to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:37-39).  We are called by Christ to love one another:  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 13:34).  Think of the depths of that love.  Did not God love us while we were enemies?  So we are called upon to love our enemies and to do good to them (Matt. 5:44-45).  Does God love His redeemed people?  So we are to love one another (1 John 4:7).  Did God seek us out in our lost condition?  So we are to bring the Good News of salvation to others (Matt. 28:19-20).

As we do all these things, we will be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1-2), for God is love.