What is love? Many of us toss around this word as easily as anyone. And we end up trivializing it. The word "love" is so misused and overused in our society that we hardly know what to think when someone says, "I love you." Let us focus on not the earthly kind of love but of a greater love ever known to mankind and that is God’s love.
• What are some characteristics of God's Love?
(1) God's Love is Unconditional
In the world around us, people are loved on the basis of their performance. When someone pleases us, when someone stimulates us, we appreciate what they do and use the term "love" to describe our response.
But God's love is not based on our performance! God's love, instead, is unconditional. Consider Romans 5:6-8
Christ died for us when? Was he responding to something good in our performance? These verses use the words "powerless," "ungodly," and "sinners" to describe us. Christ died for people like this, not for people who look like they have it all together.
So why did God love us? God's love is based only on his sovereign choice; God's love is based only on his mercy.
Consider two verses that highlight this point: Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Ephesians 1:4-5
Nothing made us attractive to God! On the contrary, we were despicable to God. But despite our problems it was God's pleasure; it was God's will to predestine us to be adopted as his sons. This truth is tremendously freeing, isn’t it? When I think about it I know I don't have to look over my shoulder all the time, wondering if God is going to abandon me because I blew it. I don't have to worry that God might change his mind about me because of my poor performance. God already knows the worst about us -- and he chose to love us! God's love is unconditional.
(2) God's Love is from Everlasting to Everlasting
In a moment of intense feeling, we say, "I will love you forever!" yet within years, or months, or even weeks, those feelings change, and we so often back away from our promises.
What about God's love?
Let’s look at Psalm 103:15-17
The Psalmist compares our lives to flowers that dry up and are gone. Human love is like that too; love that we promise to last forever may disappear in a very short time. But God's love is "from everlasting to everlasting." What does this mean?
"From everlasting to everlasting" can mean "from the beginning of time to time without end." As the verse in Ephesians puts it, God showed his love for us by choosing us "before the creation of the world." So from the very beginning of time, God has loved you. And this will continue for all eternity. Think about this: there never was a time when God did not love you; there will never be a time when God does not love you.
"From everlasting to everlasting" can refer not only to the time dimension but also to the relational dimension. He is, after all, your creator, the one who formed you, the one who knit you together in your mother's womb. He loved us from the time we were in our mother’s womb and he has nurtured and cultivated this relationship with us until now.
So God's love is unconditional, and from everlasting to everlasting. But in between the beginning of time and our joining him in his heavenly kingdom, a question might pop up saying could His love fail?
(3) God's Love Never Fails
Human love fails. Even in the best of relationships, we let our loved ones down. Indeed, today many couples plan on their love failing, by signing pre-nuptial agreements concerning the disposition of assets in the case of divorce.
Does God's love fail?
We have to admit, there are times we feel like God's love fails. Certainly the people in countries where there are poverty and sickness and mass brutal killings must wonder about the love of God.
In these terrible times of tragedy, is God there?
Consider these verses from Isaiah 54:10; 43:1
God promises us that even in the most violent situation God's love will endure. We belong to...