Many are still confused about the above question. In the words of a Misty Edwards song, “..love was evasive and hard to grasp. Romance a fairy tale that never lasts.”
It is often rejected, even by Christians as sentiment. Or venerated as the first attribute of God. Sadly often even when Love is cited by a Christian it is then slighted by the same voice declaring that although Love is important it is not the only attribute of importance and perhaps not even the primary one.
The world at large ties love to lifestyle and sadly sometimes even perversion as if every random passion is a legitimate expression of this enigmatic quality.
But the simple truth is that the Word of God in many instances identifies, defines, and delights in Love. Because Love is a person, because God is Love. Love is not his first or even his primary attribute. Love is the essence of who he is. Essence is defined in the dictionary as : ”the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individual feature or features.”
Love is the basic, real, and invariable nature of God. If you were to open his DNA (and Jesus has DNA) it would be love in all it’s infinite parts that you would find there. Love is like a many faceted diamond. He has so many angles of mercy and planes of grace to express that we will spend eternity examining him and learning new ways in which he “is.”
Three ideas about him captivate me of late. Just three to mention of an infinite number of sparkling phases, more than the twinkling wonder of the fall sky.
I will outline these three treasures via the Word of God. First 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.”
This astounding piece of scripture is at the heart of the Gospel of Mercy. God was “in” (used to indicate inclusion within space, a place, or limits.) Christ, in him, as part of his essential nature, God was there to reconcile the world to himself on the cross. No longer counting men’s sins against them. Our message from Love is Love, men are reconciled, a free gift is offered, the work is done, needing only to be received. If you don’t yet understand Love, be reconciled to God and Love will unfold like a fragrant flower in your soul.
Second Philippians 2:1-7a
“Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had,
who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
but emptied himself.”
He poured himself out, and this pouring out is the ongoing essence of his Love. Jesus revealed the very heart of who our humble God is. It is the very definition of his kind of Love to always, I repeat, always, pour itself out for others, to see others as more important than itself, more important than the rights and powers of the Majesty of the Universes. He is concerned about our interests today, he is “other” centred. And you are one of those others he gazes at in rapt attention in order to encourage you with his Love. Amazing!
And finally 1 John 4:10
“In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
This crazy Love does not begin with us, in fact our capacity to understand and express true love has been shattered through our selfishness, it begins with him. And then it continued with him as he sent his Son. Who then became a sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, who both participated in it, and received it. And that Love made us one. Wait think on this; his love made us one with Love himself! Removing our sins and any kind of barrier between us. And so we focus and must focus on this incredible Love, not on the garbage of our lives but on the giver who gave Love, who gave Himself.
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
“For God so loved the World He gave his one and only Son.”