Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.1 John 4:8
Here we come face to face with that tremendous declaration of the Scriptures:
God is love. It means that at the root all God does is love. No matter how difficult it may appear to us, the fountain from which all God's activity stems is this kind of self-giving love. Even His judgments, His condemnations, arrive from love. Judgment is not something separate from love. If you convince me that a holy, loving God cannot judge a sinful person, then you will also convince me that He cannot love a sinful person. Inherent in the quality of love is an antagonism toward anything that opposes the object of love. Also, inherent in it is the quality of judgment. God is a purifying fire, consuming and burning away the dross in order that He might preserve the gold. That, incidentally, is how the book of Hebrews describes Him.
Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Love is not always easy to live with because of that very quality, yet it is the most wonderful thing in the world because of its warmth and its all-embracing inclusiveness that takes in all kinds and all conditions, without looking for merit on the part of the object loved. That is the love of God.
Dr. H. A. Ironside used to tell of a woman who came to him and said,
I don't have any use for the Bible and for all this Christian superstition. It's enough for me to know that God is love.
He said to her,
Well, do you know that?
Of course I know that, I've known it all my life.
Well, he said,
do you think that everyone knows that?
Oh, yes, she said,
everyone knows God is love.
Well, he said,
do you think that woman over in India, who is persuaded by her religion to take her little child and throw it into the river as an offering to the crocodiles, has any concept or idea that God is love?
Well, no, but that's mere superstition.
Do you think that the person in Africa, bowing down to his idols of wood and stone, trembling with fear lest they should strike back at him and destroy his crops and take away his children and even injure his own person, do you think he has any idea that God is love? he asked.
No, but in every civilized country we know that God is love.
Well, he said,
how do we know that? How do we know that God is love? Do the ancients teach this? Do the other religions of earth teach and show that God is love? Do you know that the only reason we know that God is love is because He sent His Son and manifested Himself as love? The book that tells about the Lord Jesus Christ is the only book in the world that contains the idea that the God behind all created matter is a God of love. Creation reveals His power, His greatness, and His might, but there is nothing in nature that says, 'God is love.' The only way we know this is that God manifested His love in the giving of His Son.
Father, You alone are the source of this love, the only kind that meets the claimant hunger of the heart. I pray that I may recognize myself as called to this great task of being a demonstration of this kind of love.
God showed His love by sending His Son that we might live through Him. Have we learned to recognize the true nature of Love as evidenced in all of God's actions?