The Love of God in Christ
In 1 John 4 verse 8, and then again in verse 16, we find these well-known words: “God is love.” It’s a remarkable statement: it is not simply that God loves, or that God is loving, but rather that God is love.
What this means is that love is an essential part of God’s nature – He has always loved, and He will never stop loving, because love is an intrinsic part of who He is. Indeed, even before there was a creation for God to love, the love of God existed eternally amongst the three members of the Trinity: Father, Son and Spirit. God’s love toward us is thus an overflow of the love He has within Himself.
In the Bible the love of God is seen as His self-giving for the benefit of others. This self-giving is displayed most clearly in the incarnation and death of Christ – “for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son...” (John 3:16). The Son of God laid aside His eternal glory, took on human flesh and was subjected to the most humiliating of deaths in order that we might be reconciled to God and enjoy eternal life: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” As the hymn writer Charles Wesley once wrote, “Amazing love! How can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me!”
There is no greater blessing in this life than to know the love of God in Christ. May we thus seek to know more of this love that, paradoxically, “surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19), and may we respond by joyfully submitting to Christ’s Lordship and loving others sacrificially in the same way that God has loved us. Bryan Marx Grahamstown Baptist Church