The topic of God’s love is an overwhelming subject to try and tackle in only one article.
A.W. Tozer once said, “I can no more do justice to this awesome and wonder-filled topic than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. And so, I stretch my heart toward the high, shining love of God so that we may be encouraged to look up and have hope.”
In John 3:16 Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It is only one sentence – 25 words. Yet that one sentence is packed with much truth.
From this one verse we can find at least seven truths (probably more) about the love of God…
1. THE LOVE OF GOD IS UNCONDITIONAL.
For God so loved the world…
The Greek word for world (kosmos) is defined as “the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ.” This is the world that God loved. It doesn’t say that God loved all the good guys. God loves everyone. Philip Yancey once wrote: “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.”
2. THE LOVE OF GOD IS SACRIFICIAL.
…that he gave
How did God love us? He loved us by giving, by serving, by sacrificing. Some love others because of what those people do for them or how them make them feel. But God shows us that true love has nothing to do with what you can do for me, but everything to do with what I can do for you.
3. THE LOVE OF GOD IS VALUABLE.
Not only did God give, but He gave the only one he had. When you give to someone out of your abundance that is one thing, but when you give out of your poverty that is quite another. If you had several vehicles it might be seen as a noble thing if you were to give one of them to a family who had none. But if you were to give them the only vehicle you had that would be seen as something more than noble – something above and beyond the call of duty – it would been seen as real sacrifice.
4. GOD’S LOVE IS PERSONAL.
God’s love is not just a philosophy or a theological topic. God’s love was made manifest in this world through the person of Jesus Christ the only Son of the Father. Jesus Christ came into this world to reveal to us the love of God in human form.
5. GOD’S LOVE IS ACCESSIBLE.
…that whosoever believes in him
The really good news about God’s love is that it is not limited to a select few. It is not available only to those who were born with right color of skin or on the correct continent. Nor is it difficult to obtain. It is not reserved for only the intellectual elite or financial wizards. The love of God is accessible to “whoever believes in” Jesus.
6. GOD’S LOVE IS NONJUDGMENTAL.
…should not perish
God’s goal in sending his Son was not condemn you are to show you how bad you are. God’s desire in sending his Son was to show you His love and draw you into a love relationship with Himself. He didn’t come to punish you. He came to pardon you. However this does not mean that God is not a God of judgment. God will judge us for our sins and even sentence us to hell, but only as a last resort – only over his Son’s dead body – only if we refuse to accept his offer of forgiveness.
7. GOD’S LOVE IS BENEFICIAL.
…but have everlasting life.
To have Jesus is to have life forever. It is both a quantity and quality. His love is deep and wide.
More than fifty years ago, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a sociology professor assigned his class the project of interviewing 200 youth residing in downtown slums. His students predicted that ninety percent would serve time in prison. Twenty-five years later the same professor asked a class to track down the original boys and discover what had happened. One hundred eighty were located and only four had ever been in jail. Why were predictions so far off?
Looking for common factors, over 100 of the boys mentioned the strong influence of a teacher they all had in common. They then located the teacher, a seventy-year-old Sheila O’Rourke, in a Memphis nursing home. Puzzled by the interest in her, she could only exclaim, “All I ever did was love each of them.”
That is the power of love. If that is the result of being loved with an imperfect, human love what must be the results of being loved by a perfect, divine love? As a result of this teacher’s love each of these boys had a life. But as a result of God’s love each of us can have eternal life.