God Defines Love

Anyone who does not love does not know God,
because God is love.

1 John 4:8    

God’s nature is to love.  His essential nature is to love.   

He doesn’t have to try to love.  This is just the way he is in everything and in every way and at all times.  God cannot help but be loving because God is love.  This is his essential nature.   

This does not mean that love defines God but that God defines love.  Moreover, that God is love is not the only thing about God but it is the main thing about God.  More than we can possibly imagine, God is a loving God.  

It has been pointed out that there is nothing you could do to make God love you more and there is nothing you can do to make God love you less.  On the one hand, God’s love is perfect and infinite, so he could not possibly love you more.  On the other hand, God’s love for you is relentless and unconditional, and he could not possibly love you less.   

Moreover, God’s love for you is intensely personal and emotional.  It is not “generic.”  It is not just that God loves people in general, the mass of humanity.  No, God loves you.  You personally.  He loves you as though you were the only person in the world to love.  He has even numbered the hairs on your head!   

The renowned theologian, Karl Barth, wrote volumes of dense theology.  In fact, some would consider him the greatest theologian in four hundred years, since the time of John Calvin.  He was once asked to sum up, in one sentence, the thousands of pages of theology he had written.  He paused and then replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”   

Indeed, God is love.