Theology: God (GOD IS LOVE)

Define Human love, the love that we should have one for one another. Is it not self sacrificing, is it not an extreme desire to do for, is it not an extreme desire to be with, is it not the desire to spend time with the person?

 

So, is this the way you act toward God? It should be if you really love Him.

 

There are four types of love that we want to look at briefly.

 

1. Physical Love. That which the world portrays as true love — that of the flesh. Impulse love. Soap Opera love. The love based on feeling, impulse, and desire.

 

This love is not the marry me type love. It is the use me type love. It is not the spend my life with me type love. It is the give me something to do tonight love.

 

It is based on looks, desire, lust, and convenience. It takes no commitment to be involved in this type of love.

 

The “Let’s live together” love is wrecking our society. This is the love that too many marriages are based on.

 

2. Natural Love. The friend and relative love that one can feel.

 

Faith and I went to Ohio for a reception with Regular Baptist Press. I have a cousin that lived in the same city, so we called her and met with her for a couple of hours. She had gone through a divorce and just lost her mother.

She was having a ruff time. I had a real concern for her welfare and her hurt. This is the natural love of family and friends.

 

This love often moves you to action on the other person’s behalf.

 

3. Aesthetical Love. That which you have for something of beauty or character.

 

Wyoming has some of the prettiest sunsets that I’ve run across in my travels across the western United States and the Far East. One night on the way to Torrington, WY in our 2nd year at Frontier School of the Bible, we noticed the sunset and I was excited way down deep to know I was going to watch this thing unfold as we traveled for about 45 minutes. I had a real sense of anticipation.

 

June Carter Stapleton, a charismatic faith healer believes that a person can be born again after viewing a beautiful painting. This is the aesthetic approach to salvation which is misleading many today. They are being given false hope in what is too commonly called the born again experience. Being born again comes from dealing with Almighty God about your sinful condition, not form watching a sunset, or looking at a beautiful painting.

 

4. Ethical Love. This is the unswerving or unwavering determination to do good. This is the love that we should have for our mates.

 

The different levels of love that we have listed, may be the levels that a couple passes through on their way to the altar. They first get that fuzzy feeling when they are getting to know one another. They may then move into the area where they are deep friends. They may even begin to see the real beauty of one another, that inner beauty that comes forth. However, the love that a marriage needs to survive is the love that determines to do good for the other partner.

 

Couples may get married in the first level of love and find that they have worked through the other three to a solid marriage; however, a marriage in the first three levels is not usually very solid. The first three types of love lack the total commitment of the final level of love.

 

God’s love is far above all four of these human levels of love. His love is that within Him that moves him to give of Himself to his creatures regardless of their merit. He does this of His own will, and will do it eternally.

 

This love is seen in 1 John 4:10 which shows that God sent Christ, in love to a people that did not love Christ, or God. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

 

 

GOD’S LOVE SHOWN

 

1. God loved Israel in the Old Testament: Isaiah 63:9, Isaiah 49:14-16. His love was not limited to Israel in the Old Testament. The pre-Israel times show God’s love for all people. The gentiles were to be part of the overall program during Israel’s time as well, except that Israel didn’t share that which they had spiritually. This is seen in the system, of sojourners and strangers, that was included in the law. Those people coming to God through the Jewish people were to be accepted in as Jews. This system demands that God wanted gentiles to be a part of the system.

 

God’s love for all people is also shown in the fact Jonah went to the Gentiles.

 

2. God loved the church in the New Testament: 1 John 4:11, mentions God’s love, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” He gave the church age the organization of the church for our benefit. He gave us the job that we should be about. The ministry of missions is so very rewarding to those that take part in it. God has shown great love for all peoples by opening up the gospel to all people.

 

3. God is love: 1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” God’s very nature is that of love. He exudes love in all that He does for mankind. Even in judgment upon the earth after the fall, He left us an earth that is beautiful to behold. He gave to us many things to enjoy in this life.

 

GOD’S LOVE EXAMINED

 

1. His Love Is Unselfish: He has no thought of personal benefit, but seeks good for the object of His love. Israel was a small people yet He chose to benefit them. (Deuteronomy 7:7,8 tells of His love for Israel.) The church is often made up of the weak and the poor, yet God ministers unto them. He desires a people who will return their love to Him.

 

2. His Love Is Voluntary: A little boy once said, “If I was God I’d go to every country in the world and say, You guys love one another or else.” God does not operate in this way however. He gives his love and does not force that love upon those that reject it. Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were yet sinners He acted by sending His Son. He did not await someone to approach Him. (1 John 4:10 also)

 

3. His Love Is Righteous: His love for man never allows nor condones sin. Love that allows for sin is called sentimentalism. That is the willingness to do wrong for the sake of the one you love. Psalm 11:7, “For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” Psalm 33:5, “He loveth righteousness and justice…..”

 

4. His Love Is Everlasting: Jeremiah 31:3, “…..I have loved thee with an everlasting love…..” 1 John 4:8 mentions that He is love and that He is eternal. It follows that His love is also eternal.

 

His love will not allow Him to tire of taking care of for His people. His love will not allow Him to tire of seeking to save the lost. His love will not allow Him to forget His promises to us.

 

5. His Love Is Active: Jeremiah 31:3, “…..with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” John 3:16 — love caused God to send His Son. Ephesians 5:25-27 tells that Christ died because of His love for us.

 

A love that acts is a love that lasts in marriage. A love that acts is a love that is real and beneficent when it is God’s love.

 

6. His Love Is Yet Unsatisfied: He will have satisfied love when we are with Him. Zephaniah 3:17, “…..he will rest in His love…..” The context of this phrase is the end times. As long as there are believers, He will be active on their part. As long as there are lost, He will be actively seeking them.

 

7. His Love Is Directed: He has objects for His love. Before we list some of these, might we consider a question? Can there be love without an object of that love? No. Since God is Love there must be an object of that love. Before creation what was the object of the Fathers love? This demands that there be plurality in the Godhead. Christ is the object of that love. Indeed, there must be a perfect illustration of love within all three members of the Godhead.

 

a. God loved Christ, His beloved Son: Matthew 3:17, “…..This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” John 3:35; 17:24.

 

 

b. He loves those who love Christ: John 16:27,

 

“For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” 1 John 31

 

c. He loves Israel: Jeremiah 31:3,4 “…..I have loved thee with an everlasting love…..” This love will again act on their behalf as they return to Him as a nation.

 

d. He loves the world: John 3:16

 

e. He loves all mankind: Matthew 5:43-48 mentions that He gives sun and rain to all mankind. John 3:16 tells that He gave His son for all.

 

8. His Love Is Universal: John 3:16 He loves all of His creatures, be they obedient or rebellious. Parental love both acts by hugging and by spanking. Both the hug and the swat are expressions of love from the parent.

 

APPLICATION

 

1. As we realize His love, we will love Him. As our love for Him deepens, our commitment to Him will also deepen.

 

2. As we realize He loves us, our response should be to return that love through our beings verbally, physically, and spiritually. 1 John 4:11 tells us that because He loved us we should love one another. He loved us enough to send His son. We should respond by sending our sons and daughters to His service. The Hymn writer in O Zion Haste mentions this. The song tells us to give of our sons, wealth, and prayer. All three are needed.

 

3. Strong mentions, “By love we mean that attribute of the divine nature in virtue of which God is eternally moved to self-communication.” (Strong, Augustus H.. “Systematic Theology”; Valley Forge, PA: The Judson Press, 1907,p 263)

 

Indeed, any love, be it God’s or man’s, desires to communicate to the object of that love. By application, is that why communication breakdowns in marriage are so serious. Is it not partly that the love once present has no desire to communicate, or is it that the love is not present?

 

 

Poor communication may show serious signs of a deterioration in the marriage.

 

4. Paul finishes his second epistle to the Corinthians with the following statement, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

 

Such a simple way to assure ourselves of the Lord’s presence and love — be perfect, be a good comfort, be of one mind, and be in peace.

 

GOD IS JUST

 

To put it in the vernacular, “Your gonna get yer just desserts.” To put it in the vernacular in the reverse, “He’s gonna get his just desserts.”

 

Strong tells us, “Buy justice and righteousness we mean the transitive holiness of God, in virtue of which His treatment of His creatures conforms to the purity of His nature, righteousness demanding from all moral beings conformity to the moral perfection of God, and Justice visiting non-conformity to that perfection with penal loss and suffering.” (Strong’s Systematic Theology)

 

Cambron states, “Justice is judicial holiness — that judicial act of god which demands the penalty for those who have not measured up to the righteous commands of God.” (Cambron, Mark G. D.D.; “BIBLE DOCTRINES”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954, p 50)

 

God’s justice is activated by His righteousness. All non-conformity to His perfection will be met with personal loss and/or suffering. When God acts in a just manner, He is not rewarded for doing right. He has acted within and in keeping with His own character and nature. He by nature is just and can do no other than justly.

 

God’s justice is seen in the following texts: Zephaniah 3:5,

 

“The just Lord is in the midst of her; he will not do iniquity; every morning doth he bring his justice to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.”

 

Deuteronomy 32:4,

 

 

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

 

God’s justice is just in a perfect manner. He cannot be unjust. He will meet out justice to the saved and lost alike. To the lost there is final judgment

by works, yet no matter how good the works, the lost person will still be in eternal torment. Good works are as filthy rags. How does this judging by works, yet eternally tormented, work? We don’t know because the Scripture is silent on the subject. Some feel that there will be levels of torment, however there are no proof texts for this thought. It is only a logical deduction from the facts that we have.

 

To the saved there is final judgment of our works, yet no matter how good the works the saved person will feel them insignificant in light of seeing the Lord. The result of good works for the believer is reward. We might add also, that no matter how poor the good works, the eternal salvation is not affected — only the reward of the individual.

 

APPLICATION

 

1. Since God is all knowing and He knows how people treat us — since He is completely just and will see to it that just desserts are set — then why do we spend so much time wondering, worrying and fretting over how so and so feels about us? Or what so and so said about us? God is the great settler of scores. He will settle ALL accounts.

 

Now, we all know what I have been saying, but the hard part is committing these types of things to Him for His final work. We tend to try to hang onto those things and find little ways of getting back — in a nice way of course. Leave It Up To God And You Will Find More Peace.

 

2. On the reverse of what we have just mentioned. If you see an account that is long overdue for settling, don’t argue with God, don’t fret with God and don’t question God in his not dealing with the person. God knows what is best in every situation and may desire to allow something to go on longer than you think He should. He Is The Settler Of All Accounts, As Well As The Settler Of All Accounts, When He Is Ready To Settle Them.

 

 

3. I can relax in my own confidence that if I have truly sought God’s will and have truly attempted to the best of my knowledge to do right, that God will be the one that will show me up to be right or wrong.

 

There is nothing that any person can say that should shake me or cause me concern. When we all gather round, He will be the one that sets all records straight.

 

This is probably one of the great lessons of the book of Job. He was faced with several very intelligent, spiritual men who knew what his problem was. They felt free to tell him as well. Indeed, you will have those that will tell you in what area you have erred. God will set them straight when the time comes.

 

Job in the end was justified and all knew that he had done nothing wrong to deserve such troubles. There may be times when people become very vicious in their attacks upon you — relax and know that you have done correctly and that God will do correctly at His appointed time.

 

A pastor in California told me of a man in his church that was very opposed to the pastor. He thought the pastor was wrong and that God wanted the pastor to leave. The man worked in the church as hard as he could to move the congregation to ask for the pastor’s resignation. He finally was satisfied when the pastor, in total frustration over the unresponsiveness of the congregation, resigned. I arrived at the church the night of the pastor’s going away party. The man in question unloaded his burden on me and admitted that he had been wrong. He had, since the pastor’s resignation, tried to convince the congregation that they really did need the pastor. It was too late and the damage was done. The pastor left.

 

The point? That pastor does not need to worry and relive that man’s wrong. That pastor needs only to allow the Lord to settle the accounts. Indeed, the man had already settled with the Lord through confession and forgiveness, though he may suffer loss of reward for that period of his life.

 

4. In looking through these many attributes of the Lord, I have been time and time again impressed with the idea that all His attributes function so smoothly together. For example his holiness meshes well with His justice to bring about the punishment of those that sin.

 

 

Tozer makes a point that is very important and it is in relation to this line of thinking. “God’s being is unitary; it is not composed of a number of parts working harmoniously, but simply one.” (Tozer, A.W.; “The Knowledge Of The Holy”; Lincoln, NE: Back to the Bible, 1961, p 94) His attributes are not a list of characteristics that work harmoniously together but His very nature is the sum and substance of all these attributes.

 

His attributes are not separable, but are a unit.[1]

 

 


[1] Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

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