A lot is made about the Scripture that says, “God is love”… in fact it happens twice in the 1 John, once at 4:8 and again at 4:16. But it got me thinking about what that really means. I mean, Christians should be aware that there is more to God than love, right? There’s holiness, rightousness, justice, omnipotence, mercy, grace, majesty, and a host of other things that would take paragraphs to write and still wouldn’t scratch the surface of completion.
So why this special designation about love? Well, if you ask the Beatles, “Love is all ya need…” and in some respects I think that is kinda sorta what God is saying here… before people accuse me of something let me explain.
Many of God’s traits can be tied directly to his love… i.e. mercy, grace, etc. But even when God demonstrates his justice or holiness, he does so out of love. Now here’s the trick: sometimes God acts out of love for his own glory and own name… in fact, if you read John Piper and the majority of stuff he has written, he points out that is the sole reason God does anything: to demonstrate his glory. While that is a huge topic unto itself, the fact that God always acts in love is really something to consider. That may mean that we have to shift around our definition of love, but not all that much. Think about this: when a parent disciplines their children they do it out of love (Proverbs 13:24). Does the child understand that kind of love? Of course not, but that doesn’t make it any less love. When a family member lays down an ultimatum to an alcoholic relative they do so out of love… sometimes out of love for that person and sometimes out of a self-protecting love… but still love. The fact is God IS perfect and infinite and we are sinful and finite, so we may not understand the ways by which God demonstrates love, but John says it… God is love.