He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I John 4:8
God by nature is love, and therefore He defines love; it does not define Him. Mistakenly, people impose upon God their human view of love yet, reality is that He transcends any such human limitation. That “God is love” gives critical explanation to significant biblical worldview. Foundationally it explains the very reason He created. He created man in His image (not because of a loneliness of love, remember He exists in the Trinity with the Son whom He loves and loves Him), who might honor and glorify His Son (John 6:39; 17:9-15) and His Son would love and redeem those who in turn would love Him forever.
Second, the truth that “God is love” explains human choice. Love demands choice. Love cannot be forced. His gift of free will to all people allows every person (sinners all) to know and love Him by an act of their will, their own choice. The love of man towards God is never imposed upon any man. The person who chooses to respond to the love of God is given by God the greatest of all commandment in response– “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30).”
Third, because of His love, God orchestrates all the circumstances in a believers’ life to reveal evidences of His love. God in His omnipotence can take not only events of wonder, awe and goodness, but also those of great failure, difficulty and tragedy to reveal His perfect, and limitless love (see Ps.36:5-7; 145:8-9 and Rom. 8:28).
Fourth, that He is love explains His loving plan and invitation to all, for redemption. If God operated only on the basis of His law (and He could), He would convict people of their sin and consign them to eternity in hell. But… but, His love provided perfect and costly remedy on His end, for sin through the payment for that sin by Jesus Christ. His act on the Cross is for all who choose to repent of their sin, trust in His mercy, and confident in His love demonstrated. From John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The verses which precede and follow this most well-known truth simply underscore this. As does God’s choice to love us.
It is helpful to remember the love of God for all people, and such love is evidenced in many ways. First, is His love and goodness to all, Psalm 145:9: “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” God’s love is revealed through His compassion in His delays, and warnings of His judgement in desiring that all might repent and know His love (Acts 17:30-31; Rom.3:25; I Tim. 2:4). Never to be forgotten is the very real “grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).
I appreciate the words of John Stott who said: “Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.” How wonderful is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is and did just that… truly God is love!