What is God's Love
According to the Bible, God's love is expressed to humankind, His created likeness, in an all-encompassing manner. He demonstrates this love by sending his son, Jesus, to die for the sins of humanity so that all who believe in Him may have eternal life. This selfless act is described in John 3:16 of the Holy Bible.
God's love is also described in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 as patient, kind, and not self-serving. This passage portrays the nature of God's love as one that is compassionate, forgiving, and always present. Although being told the truth in love about this can be hurtful, its acceptance is healing.
In addition to being unconditional and patient, God's love is also described as being transformative. Through faith in Jesus Christ, people can be transformed and made new by God's love. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says that this love transforms us into a new person. This passage indicates that people can be changed and become more like Him. This is also known as being born again, a term in Christianity that refers to spiritual rebirth.
Here are seven (7) biblical explanations of God’s love for humanity:
God created the world and all living beings, including humans, with love and care. This is exemplified in the story of creation in Genesis 1 and 2, where God creates the world and everything in it, including humans, in a loving and orderly manner.
God provided for the Israelites during their time in the wilderness. In the book of Exodus, God provides for the Israelites by sending manna from heaven to feed them. He also sent water from a rock to quench their thirst, showing His care and provision for them.
The LORD sent His son, Jesus, to reconcile the world to Himself (through salvation). This act of selflessness, known as the atonement, is a demonstration of God's love and desire for reconciliation.
The Great I AM protected and cared for the prophet Elijah during a time of great difficulty. The story of Elijah in 1st Kings 17-19 illustrates how God provided for Elijah during a time when he was running for his life.
He restored Job's fortunes exponentially after he suffered greatly and lost everything. The story in Job 1-42 illustrates that God’s care is often painful but ever present.
God saved the Israelites from their oppressors in Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land. The story of the Israelites' liberation illustrates an eternal compassion for His people.
God sent His Spirit to indwell in believers. In the New Testament, He further sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within believers. This provides them with guidance, comfort, and power to live according to His will.
What Does Jesus Say About God’s Love
Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, did speak about God’s Love but more importantly, He was an expression of that love.
Here are six (6) statements from Jesus Christ of “Godly” love (for us and how we should love one another as well):
1. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16 2. "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:44-45 3. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." - John 15:13 4. "By this the world will know that you are my followers if you love another as I have loved you". – John 13:35 5. "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." - John 15:13 6. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
God's love through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, teaches us that Godly love always comes with some form of sacrifice for another. Jesus demonstrated this many ways during His time on earth. One of the most significant ways was through His teachings, actions, compassion, and service towards others. He was known for healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and helping those in need.
The Messiah also demonstrated love through interactions with marginalized and outcast groups. Something Jesus did which was different than any religious Jewish leader prior was loving the outcasts of His society. These were (but not limited to): the poor, lepers, prostitutes, and tax collectors.
Another way Jesus reflected this unconditional love was through the cross. He willingly gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity, making it possible for all people to have eternal life. This gift is not bestowed upon anyone who dies without accepting Him as Messiah. Furthermore, Jesus' resurrection from the dead, is seen as the ultimate proof of God's power over life and death. It represent the fact that death is not the end. Paradise unimaginable awaits those of us who receive salvation!
Why Does God Send People to Hell
The existence of hell, as an eternal punishment for those who reject God's, is often seen as a paradox with the idea that God loves all people. However, it is important to understand that God's offer is not just about giving us what we want, but also about guiding us to what is best for us. The Bible teaches that His desire is for a loving relationship with each of us. But that this relationship is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, for those who reject God's love and salvation, the Bible teaches that eternal separation from God is the consequence. The Lord will not violate anyone’s free will by forcing His love into their life. It is not true “God puts people into Hell”. Those who reject Him puts themselves into Hell and the Lake of Fire by their choice to reject truth. Did the teacher send us to the principal's office for discipline or did our behavior?
The concept of Hell is not about God punishing people but about people choosing to be separated from God. This separation is described as a state of eternal death and darkness. The Bible teaches that God does not want anyone to go to hell.
Here are six (6) biblical descriptions of Hell:
1. Hell is often referred to as a place of eternal fire, where the wicked will be punished. 2. Hell is described as a place of darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 3. It is also spoken of as a place of outer darkness, where there will be no hope of redemption. 4. It is defined as a place of eternal punishment, where the wicked will be separated from God's presence forever. 5. Hell is depicted as a place of torment, where the wicked will be punished for their sins. 6. It is also spoken of as a place of eternal death, where the wicked will experience the second death.
Once a person dies and goes to hell, there is no way out. According to Jesus, this separation from God’s Love is eternal, meaning that it never ends. This is why it's important to make the decision for Jesus Christ while we are still alive. Once we die, it will be too late to make that decision.
Does God Hate Anyone
Scripture does contain instances where God expresses hatred, or strong disapproval towards certain actions, behaviors, or groups of people. One example is found in the book of Proverbs, where it states that God hates those who practice evil and hates those who speak lies. (Proverbs 6:16-19) This is an indication of God's hatred towards those who engage in evil and deceitful behavior.
Another example is found in the book of Malachi, where God expresses his hatred towards those who divorce their spouses for reasons other than infidelity. (Malachi 2:16) This passage indicates that God views the breaking of marriage vows as a serious offense, and that He hates those who engage in such behavior.
Additionally, in the book of Romans, it states that God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people (Romans 1:18) this is an expression of God's hatred towards sin and unrighteousness.
It's important to note that when the Bible speaks of God hating something or someone, it is not referring to an emotion but rather to God's justice and righteousness. God is holy and just, and He hates those who oppose His will and engage in behavior that is contrary to His nature.
Here are six (6) instances when God hates:
1. God hates those who practice evil and deceitful behavior. 2. God hates those who break marriage vows and divorce for reasons other than infidelity. 3. He expresses his wrath and hatred towards sin and unrighteousness. 4. The Lord hates those who oppress and mistreat the poor and vulnerable. 5. Jehovah also hates those who engage in idolatry and worship false gods. 6. God consumes those who have hard hearts and refuse to follow Him.
God is Holy, Perfect and Just therefore, He is opposed to anything that is contrary to His nature. This includes evil behavior and practices, unrighteousness, idolatry, and mistreatment of others. These just scratch the surface of what He opposes. For simplicity’s sake, allow me to boil down what God “hates” in three (3) simple words: lack of faith. Any act contrary to God’s Will has its root in this lack and nothing more.
God’s Love is Unique
Unlike human love, which is often based on conditions and can be fickle, God's love depends only on Him. It is not hostage anything on we do or do not do. Although God does “hate” certain things (wickedness), His love endures. It is not based on our abilities, looks, actions, wealth, or church attendance rather only on His nature. It cannot be purchased or bargained for (earned or deserved), but it is a free gift. As one verse said it is only dependent upon faith (in Christ).
God's love is also unique in that it is eternal. Unlike human love that can fade away or change, the Lord’s never ends. It is not limited by time or circumstances but is always present and consistent.
This is exemplified in the Bible in the verse Romans 8:38-39: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
How Do I Experience God’s Love
People experience God's love in different ways. Some may experience it through a sense of peace and comfort during difficult times. Others may experience it through answered prayers or the feeling of being protected and cared for.
Still, others may experience it through the love and support of other believers, or through the beauty and wonder of nature. However, since Jesus is the only way to God, God's Love is only experienced through Jesus. Additionally, reading and studying the Bible, praying, and participating in ongoing discipleship assists in experiencing God’s fulness. God is relational and His love fills in where it needs to and always at the perfect moment! Further, listen to sermons and download sermon outlines for study to expand your biblical knowledge. Here is how King David experienced the Love of God:
1. Psalm 18:1 - "I love you, O Lord, my strength." 2. Psalm 31:7 - "I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul." 3. Psalm 36:7 - "How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings." 4. Psalm 63:3 - "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." 5. Psalm 86:15 - "But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." 6. Psalm 136:26 - "Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." 7. Psalm 145:8 - "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."
What is important is to allow yourself to be loved by God! So many never feel complete due to refusal to allow the love of Jesus Christ into their life. Sometimes it is because of guilt for past mistakes and at other times it can be depression.
Whatever the hindrance, the Lord God of Hosts cares for and loves you so allow yourself to embrace Him. More accurately, allow His to embrace YOU!
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