Are you familiar with the phrase, “God is love?” I’m guessing you are. Christians use it, but they’re not the only ones. People who aren’t Christians often use the phrase in an attempt to pin Christians for hypocrisy. “You call yourself a Christian? I thought Christians were supposed to love people. Doesn’t your Bible say, “God is love?” Have you ever heard something like this? Maybe you’ve said something like this. Either way, there’s a assumption being made that needs to be cleared up. What’s love?
If you asked 100 people on the street to define love you might just get 100 different answers. If someone—anyone—uses the phrase “God is love,” the follow-up question really needs to be, “could you define love for me?”
Think of it this way. If I tell my 3 son “The stove is hot,” he—and anyone else within earshot—will know exactly what I mean. Yes, the word “hot” can mean other things in the English language, but when used to define the temperature of the stove in my kitchen it only means one thing. The temperature is high enough to burn human flesh—or just about anything else that comes into contact with it.
The word “love”—when used to define anyone or anything (especially God)—MUST be defined in order for clear communication to take place.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)
God defines love by giving us an example of it. He tells us love is best understood in that he “sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” What’s atoning mean? More on that Sunday morning!
Looking forward to digging into God’s atoning love with you more this Sunday,