The love of God is the most adored, most sung about, and
most discussed attribute of God. It is probably the subject of more Bible
studies than any other topic. And yet, when we are tested, when trials come,
how quickly we doubt it.
The Father proved it by giving us His Son and yet we demand
He confirms it every day and yet we remain unconvinced.
Our goal is not to just know about God’s love but to believe
Three types of love
“I love you if…”
This love is conditional on what the other person does.
I love you if you love me back.
I love you if you cook me meals, do my laundry, and clean
I love you if you make a lot of money and make my life
“I love you because…”
This love is conditional on what the other person is or has.
I love you because you are attractive.
I love you because you are smart.
I love you because you are funny.
“I love you no matter what”
This love is unconditional. It does not depend on anything
regarding the object but only on the source. God is the source and so as long
as God is love we will be loved.
God loves us now, regardless of what we will become,
regardless of what we are, and regardless of what we were.
The Gospel in John 3:16
the greatest lover
the greatest degree
the greatest number
that He gave
the greatest act
His only begotten Son
the greatest gift
the greatest person
shall not perish
the greatest certainty
the greatest time
Four Greek words for love
(στοργή storgē) Affection
It is natural
affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. It is mostly used in the
context of relationships within the family. It is considered the most natural
because it is the result of familiarity rather than coercion.
(φιλία philía) Friendship
This is a
dispassionate virtuous love. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and
community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. It usually develops
between people who share common interests or activities.
This is a
passionate love, with sensual desire and longing; however, eros does not
have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for
someone whom you love more than the philia, love of friendship. It can
also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage. It has a sense of
- Agápe (ἀγάπη
agápē) True, Unconditional Love
Agape is the highest
form of love there is. This is an unconditional love for others in spite of
their character flaws and weaknesses. It is a difficult love to obtain simply
because we are usually concerned more with ourselves and how the world and
people around us affect us. Agape is used in 1 Corinthians 13 and is
described there and throughout the New Testament as sacrificial love. In the
New Testament it describes, amongst other things, the relationship between Jesus
and the beloved disciple. Its meaning and usage is illustrated by
self-sacrificing, giving love to all--both friend and enemy. It is used in
Matthew 22:39, "Love your neighbour as yourself," and in John 15:12,
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved
you," and in 1 John 4:8, "God is love."
All of God’s attributes affirm His love
Because God is eternal and so simultaneously exists in all
of time He loves us now as much as He loved us when Jesus was dying on the
cross for our sins and as much as He loved us in eternally past and will love
us in eternity future. There has never been a point in time when God first
began to love us.
Because God is omniscient and has always known everything
about us there is nothing that we can say or do that will surprise Him and
cause Him to pull away from us.
Because God is immutable He will never change and become
bitter or resentful towards us because we are so sinful and foolish.
Because God is holy His love is pure.
Because God is just His love disciplines.
Because God is omnipresent His love is always with us.
Because God is omnipotent His love is inseparable from us.
Because God is infinite His love is limitless.
The cause of salvation
God does not save people because He has to. There is nothing
in God’s character that forces Him to save anyone.
His patience may delay judgment but it does not and cannot
His mercy may cause Him to withhold the immediate wrath that
we deserve but it does not and cannot withhold all wrath.
God saves people simply because He wants to. The
gratification that God gets from saving someone is deeper and more complex than
the benefits that even we receive. What we sometimes see merely as a fact, “I’m
saved,” God cherishes.
Though God does not need us; nevertheless, we are the
primary objects of His infinite love.
Song of Solomon 4:9, "You have made my heart beat
faster, my sister, my bride; You have made my heart beat faster with
a single glance of your eyes.”
To be without sin is to be pure.
To be pure while having a deep hatred towards sin is to
To be holy and yet to die in order to pay for another’s sins
towards you is to love.
John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay
down his life for his friends.”
God did not die for us to prove His love, nor did He die in
order for Him to love us. Rather, He died because He already did love us.
4But God, being rich in mercy, because
of His great love with which He loved us,
5even when we were dead in our
transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been
6and raised us up with Him, and seated
us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7so that in the ages to come He might show
the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Notice what God’s love gets us in salvation:
We were dead in our sins -> His love made us alive
We were alone -> His love brought us to Christ
We were low -> His love raised us up
We were struggling on the Earth -> His love seated us
Our destiny was eternal torment in Hell -> His love will
show us the surpassing riches of His grace
God’s unwavering love
Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but
delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all
If God cared enough about us at one point in history to send
His only begotten Son to die a vicious death on a cross to pay the punishment
for our sins then why when something bad happens do we think that we can
suddenly accuse God of not loving us? That was the defining moment. That is the
greatest proof of all. So why do circumstances suddenly trump that? When did
our finances become more important than the nail driven into His hands? When
did our health become more of a factor than the thorns pounded into His scalp? What
in our lives counts more than the spear thrust into His side? It is perhaps one
of the greatest blasphemies to define God’s love for us more by our
circumstances than by the crucifixion. We are so shortsighted that we cannot
see beyond the here and now and look back to the cross. God gave us His best
demanding nothing in return.
When God blesses us He does not merely supersize what the
world will give us.
God does not promise us a bigger house or a better job. He
does not give us a better made car that never breaks down or a spouse that is a
perfect complement to us in all ways.
Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly
places in Christ.”
So what are these blessings?
One list is Galatians 5:22-23
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
Indeed, the great issue is not what God wants to give to us
but will we receive it?
9"Let there be no
strange god among you;
Nor shall you worship any
10"I, the LORD, am your God,
Who brought you up from
the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide and
I will fill it.
11"But My people did not listen to My
And Israel did not obey
The cause of our obedience
We do not obey to get God to love and accept us. That is
like putting the cart before the horse.
Because God already loves and accepts us, we should obey.
Psalm 116:12, “What shall I render to the LORD for all His
benefits toward me?” Notice the order here: God already gives me wonderful
blessings so what should I give back to Him in return?
This gives us great freedom. We can enter into God’s
presence not to have to appease Him but to enjoy him.
Colossians 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus
the Lord, so walk in Him.”
How did we receive Christ Jesus the Lord? It was through faith
and humility. There was no excellency in our life which won us to God; so why
should we now think that it is our performance that will keep us there?
Thinking that we need to work to keep us in God’s good stead
is perhaps one of our greatest barriers to fully loving and worshipping God. We
will always be hindered in our love for God if we concern ourselves more with
trying to win His acceptance rather than simply believing it. If our attention
is focused more on the merit of what we do for God rather than on God Himself
then we will love more the praise for our actions rather than love to praise
the One for whom our actions were intended.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
14For the love of Christ controls us,
having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
15and He died for all, so that they who
live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again
on their behalf.
Personalize God’s love
It is not enough to say that God loves people or that “God
is love.” We must personalize it. We must say and believe that “God loves me.”
“For God so loved me that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16) “Because the
love of God has been poured out within my heart through the Holy Spirit who was
given to me” (Romans 5:5). “But God demonstrates His own love toward me, in
that while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me” (Romans 5:8).
Make a list of 30 ways that God shows that He personally
In addition to the ones discussed above, what are some other assurances
that God’s love mean to us?
If God is so loving then why do so many people live in poverty or
God’s love is unconditional then why do we have to confess our sins?
does the fact that God unconditionally loves you mean to you?
some practical examples of God’s love in action in your own life.
some practical examples of how you can love others with God’s love.
do not trials and miserable circumstances prove that maybe God does not love us
right at this moment?
is it important to personalize God’s love for us? I.e., why is not it good
enough to only claim that God’s loves everyone?
do we sometimes doubt God’s love for us?
10) Are there times when
God does not love us? Why or why not?
Amy has a terrible problem with feeling like she has no
value or worth. She hates her appearance and thinks that everyone looks down on
her. She was picked on while growing up both in school and by her parents. As a
result, she struggles in her Christian walk since she does not think that she
can do anything that anyone or even God will find useful. What are some things
that you can say to encourage her and give her a new and victorious outlook on
herself all the while emphasizing God’s love?