One of the distinguishing marks of the christian faith is love. The Bible presents a God of love, and instructs a pattern of love which cannot be seen in any other worldview or ideology.
First of all it presents a unique God of love. He is a God who, again and again reminds us of the great joy with which he blesses and loves his human creation:
“6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34)
Yet, as we can see in the second part, the fact that he is loving does not nullify the fact that he is also righteous and just. John 3:16 says:
“For in this way, God loved the world, that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Why is it that god loves the world “in this way”? Why couldn’t he do it another way? Why did it have to cost him his own life? The answer to these questions exposes the nature of us – those who are the objects of his love. He couldn’t love us any other way. We were by our very nature, unlovable because we lived a life of rebellion against his reign over this universe and our lives.
However, our sin did not stop God from still determining a way to truly, fully and justly love us. He poured out all the punishment that was ours, on his Son and thus opened the door for his love to be unleashed into our lives.
Anyone who turns in their heart to Him and puts their trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, is cleared of their guilt and is set in a position to know all the fullness of the love of God. Into the life of this person, the boundless love of God is unleashed in all its entirety, filling and influencing every single aspect of who they are. This is seen in the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessings in all of heaven!”
Because Jesus Christ gave himself for us, God is able to give himself to us. Through his Book, he intimately joins himself to every aspect of our thinking and living, carefully instructing us how we are to enjoy him and the life that he has planned, in the world that he has created.
The God of the Bible is an impossible God. He is a God who is on a mission to love. A love that is willing to come down and get entangled in this rebellious world, to expose and challenge the very depth of our sinful hearts, and to give us a new heart and mind, which is patterned after his.
How can it be, that those who truly understand and live by this love do not overflow with it into the lives of the people around them? It can’t.