God is love (1)

The basics

9. December 2020In DevotionalBy Karsten Risseeuw4 Minutes

John wrote: “God is love” (1 John 4:16). This is one of the central statements of the Bible. It is also written that God loves the world – and not just a few on it (John 3:16). Paul writes about the church that God “predestined us for himself in love” (Eph 1:4-5). Many more texts can be found, explaining the same thing with different words.

If we can know anything about God, it is that His essence is love. This message is stunning and liberating. It is this love (gr. agape) that loves selflessly, without reservation. It is neither a pious wish nor a service that we have to pay for with any kind of contribution, nor is it an empty claim. The love of God is given because it corresponds to His nature and essence.

This proclamation of love is not always understood. The bold saying is this: Whatever happens in our lives and in this world, with everything that is written about God’s actions, it is out of Gods love. And true: It doesn’t look like that. I understand that many are tempted to point to an extremely difficult situation they experienced or witnessed somewhere else. Be assured: I have had my share in difficult situations. Nevertheless, this love of God is worth contemplating. To do so, I sometimes need to take a few steps back and try to see things from a wider perspective. I cannot reason from my understanding or experience about God. Some things I understand. Other things I do not understand. At least I want to listen. It is the only way to possibly learn more and not be stuck in the past. This is not to deny my struggles, but to get me through.

Paul once wrote that God created the universe in the Son of His love and that He carries it through Him (Col 1:13-17). As this text shows: Love is the supporting element in this world, even if it is not always directly visible. The love of God has a goal in mind and works towards a goal. This love is not just a reason, or Gods essence, but also the way He achieves his goal.

Paul is confident of this love:

“What will separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus? … For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither messengers nor princes, neither present nor future, nor powers, neither height nor depth, nor any other creation will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Rom 8:35-39

Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. That is a bold saying! Gods love is expressed “in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Paul was obviously convinced of this. We are invited to come to the same understanding.

In a next article, we will have a look at other aspects of love.