The Bible tells us that God is love. Not that God loves, but that he IS love. To love requires an object of that love. God does not need something to love – love is his very nature.
Yet God chooses to love us. He created us because of love. It is not a conditional love, dependent on attractiveness or worthiness. It cannot be earned, or deserved.
God’s love is demonstrated in the cross. Both the incarnation and the atonement are a demonstration of God’s love.
This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
God’s love requires a response from us.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:11)
Our first response is a personal one: to accept the gift he offers, repent of our sins, and give him our lives. But he saves us from our sins, not just for ourselves, but into a community – the church. We are now a community of love because God’s love dwells in us. This is our further response.
David Jackman said, ‘The church is God’s audiovisual presentation to a dying culture.’
Just as Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, so the church is the manifestation of God in the world. It should give us pause for thought as we think about how we relate to each other. We must reflect his character in our relationships, with each other in the church, but also with the world. God’s love is demonstrated practically, in acts of service and sacrifice.
Does the world see God in us?