We are not allowed to define love based on our inclinations, because God Himself is the definition of Love. This week, we study the attribute of God’s pure love from 1 John 4: 7-8.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
- 1 John 4:7–8
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. We’re discussing the attributes of God. And today we come to a very difficult attribute; namely, the love of God.
Now you might be saying, “Well that surely is one of the easiest attributes to talk about!” Not for me. It is second only to the attribute of justice, which we are going to be discussing in future sessions together, when we’ll be talking about how God judges people who have never heard the Gospel; the salvation of infants; and a lot of other issues. But the love of God is difficult because we try to reconcile it with what is happening in the world. Furthermore, did you know that God does not love everyone in the same way? No matter how often your pastor has told you that God loves everyone unconditionally, that simply is not true, and we’re gonna be taking that up in the next two sessions.
But today my text is taken from 1 John, where we read these words: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I wanna begin by simply saying this: that our society wants to take those last three words and turn them around and say God is love, and love is God. If you were watching the wedding of Mary—I should say, Meghan and Harry—in England, you remember the pastor who is preaching preached very effectively. But he said, “Wherever there is love, there is God.” And he justifies saying that; and therefore, justifies same-sex marriage, because we should have more love than less.
Let me speak to you very clearly, that when man fell in the Garden, he didn’t stop loving. It is just that he started to love all of the wrong things. That’s why the Bible talks about the love of pleasure, the love of money, the love of self. We are not left in the Bible to define love according to our inclinations. As Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” But now I want to transition and look at those three words more specifically: “God is love.” Let me ask you this question: When did God begin to love? You know, maybe your Sunday school teacher taught you, “Well that’s why God created us, so that He would have someone to love.” Well, your Sunday school teacher was wrong. God was loving long before He created us, or created the worlds. As a matter of fact, God is love. He has been loving as long as He has been God. And the love between the Father and the Son, Jesus said in John 17—“Thou lovest me from before the foundation of the world.”
What was God doing before He created us? Well actually, I have to tell you, that I think it’s the theologian Calvin who said that if you ask that question, God was preparing a hell for people who ask questions like that. But in some sense, we can say we don’t know all that God was doing before He created the world, but we do know that He was loving. The love of the Father and the Son; a love of delight. An eternal love. And God was satisfied in that relationship, but then He created us as an overflow of His love.
Now today, I want you to think about an opportunity that God may give you to love, because love is a communicable attribute. You remember when we talked about holiness, I explained the difference between communicable attributes and those that are non-communicable. The Bible says very clearly, right here in the text that I read a moment ago, that we should love because God is love. So find somebody to love, and love them like God loves them. In fact, the Bible says that God even loves His enemies. So take this opportunity to say, “God is loving. I want to be loving. I want to be able to have a relationship with God that shines to others because of my commitment to love.” God is love. Today, go with God, and I’ll see you right here next time.