God is love. This is a wonderful truth and phrase I frequently come across on the internet. It’s something we should continually rejoice in and reflect on! But so often, the messages of God’s love miss the mark. There tends to be an emphasis on God’s love for you and for me, but the truth about how God views sin is avoided. Oftentimes, messages about God’s love can be very feelings-focused. However, understanding God’s love requires biblical knowledge. And when we gain a more well-rounded perspective of His love, we fall deeper in love with our Savior and are better equipped to share the fullness of His love with others. So, let’s dive into some truths about God’s love.
God’s love is steadfast
About a year or so ago, the word steadfast started standing out to me in my Bible reading. I would look into this word in my Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible (affiliate link) and on Blue Letter Bible as it popped up in different passages. Continually, I would find the Hebrew word hesed, describing God’s steadfast love. This word comes up over 250 times throughout Scripture and it refers to God’s goodness, loving-kindness, and faithfulness.
God’s steadfast love is greater than feelings. It is central to His very character and His character does not change. (Hebrews 13:8) He doesn’t love us because we are worthy or amazing. Actually, the Bible makes it clear that we are none of those things. Without Christ, we are enemies of God. (Romans 5:10) He loves us simply because it’s who He is. (1 John 4:8) This is great news for us!
God is love. Meaning, God is steadfast, good, kind, and faithful.
If God is love, is He capable of hate?
Since God is love, many assume that He does not and cannot hate. However, many misunderstand that because He is love, He must hate certain things. The article Does God Hate? on GotQuestions.org says it so well: “God’s nature is love—He always does what is best for others—and He hates what is contrary to His nature—He hates what is contrary to love.” Because God is love, He cannot and does not delight in wickedness. (Psalm 5:4) The Bible says God hates sin, wickedness, and evil and He will righteously judge those who rebel against Him and reject His grace and mercy.
This is a challenging concept for us to wrap our finite minds around, so if you are struggling with it, I recommend reading this article and the linked Scripture passages. But remember, because God is perfect (and unchanging), He can simultaneously love and hate without sinning and without contradicting His own character.
God is love. Therefore, He must also hate sin, wickedness, and evil.
How God shows His love to us
Romans 5:8 says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God hates sin and will punish unrepentant evil doers, but the good news is that He offers forgiveness to all who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
When I mentioned at the beginning of this post that messages of God’s love tend to miss the mark, the mark they’re often missing is the Gospel. Understanding God’s love starts with understanding the Gospel message:
We are all born sinners and the Bible says there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood. (Hebrews 9:22) Out of His great love, Jesus Christ, both fully God and fully man, died on a cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins. All who put their faith in Christ and follow Him will be saved from hell. Those who are saved are born again (John 3:3), are new creations in Christ (Galatians 2:20), are given the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) and eternal life! The Bible makes it very clear that we can’t earn our way to heaven. But, the good news of the Gospel is that God is so rich in love and mercy, that His desire is to save unworthy sinners. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
When reflecting on the love of God and sharing Christ’s love with others, do not forget the Gospel! Jesus coming to save sinners was the ultimate expression of His love. If we miss this, we miss His love entirely.
Because God is love, He forgave and justified unworthy sinners.
Understanding God’s Love
I hope reflecting on the depth of God’s love encourages you today. Understanding God’s love from a biblical perspective is life-changing. We can enjoy the simple messages of God’s love and the warm fuzzy feelings we get from a great quiet time or a particularly impactful worship set. But remember, His love is greater than feelings and short statements. Remember and rejoice in the many ways He has revealed His love throughout Scripture. You will be exceedingly blessed as you grow in your knowledge and understanding of God’s great love for you. And as a result, your love for Him will increase.
To conclude, let’s make Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians our own prayer:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”Ephesians 3:14-19
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All scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.