1JO 4:8 teaches the well-known principle that “God is love.” As a part of His essence, God is love. His love, along with the rest of His divine attributes, makes up who and what He is. Divine love cannot exist apart from the rest of the divine attributes. For example, God is eternal and immutable; therefore, His love is unchanging and enduring. Additionally, His love always depends on His character and never depends in any way on His creatures or seeks their approval; it exists by means of no source other than Him. With that, it is necessary for us to note divine love as it relates to God’s other attributes.
1. Love and Eternal Life: God is eternal; therefore, His love is eternal. God and His love have always existed. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness (JER 31:3).
2. Love and Sovereignty: God is sovereign; therefore, His love is self-motivated and totally compatible with His divine essence. Sovereignty means that God is supreme in His command and has authority over all things. There is no higher power in the universe than God, and since His attributes function perfectly together, including love and sovereignty, He never makes a decision apart from His love. In all that God decrees, and in all that God allows, His motivation is always perfect and pure. The sovereign love of God toward all mankind is expressed in many pas sages:
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1TI 2:3-4)
3. Love and Holiness: God is holy, which means perfectly just and righteous. Therefore, the love of God possesses perfect integrity, justice, fairness, and righteousness. The stability of divine love is His holiness. God cannot tempt nor solicit sin, God cannot sponsor evil, human good or any form of self-righteousness or legalism. Since God’s love is compatible with His holiness, it is perfect in every function; always fair and impeccable, and never subject to corruption. The question may be asked, “How can we who are imperfect ever have fellowship with God who is totally perfect and impeccable?” The answer is that God the Father took notice of this issue billions of years ago in eternity past, and He made a provision through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
(2 Co 5:21)
4. Love and Immutability: God is immutable; therefore, His love is unchangeable, stable, and compatible with the rest of His perfect character. His love can never be corrupted by anyone or anything. Since God always has been love and always will be love, He never “falls in love” or reacts to us; His love remains the same, whether or not it has an object to love. Because God is unchangeable, His love cannot increase or decrease, improve, or decline; it cannot be changed by any form of human failure or degeneracy.
For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (MAL 3:5-6)
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. (LAM 3:22)
But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. (PSA 89:33)
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