God is Love!
James Smith, 1860
Right views of God are of the greatest importance. Fallen man cannot learn what God is from nature — let him study it ever so closely; nor from providence — let him observe it ever so accurately. Clear, correct, and full views of God's character, can only be learned from the Bible.
In the plan of salvation, God has given a full revelation of himself. Here he has displayed his justice equally with his grace — and his holiness equally with his mercy. In Jesus — the mirror that reveals God to believers — he is love — pure, perfect, perpetual love. Therefore twice in one chapter, the Apostle John declares, "God is Love." 1 John 4:8, 16.
God is essentially and eternally love — but to sinners he has manifested his love in a righteous and sovereign manner; not more sovereignly, than righteously — nor more righteously, than sovereignly. And each of the Divine persons in Jehovah — Father, Son, and Spirit — is alike, love, and has manifested their love to us.
The Father is love to us, and has wondrously revealed and displayed his love. In his love, he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we might be holy and without blame before him in love. Of his love, he gave his only begotten Son for us, to be a sacrifice for our sins; and he gave him to us, to be the perfect Savior of our souls. In his love — he gave us the many, exceeding great, and very precious promises. And, of his love he prepared for us a kingdom, before the foundation of the world.
All the arrangements of the eternal council,
all the provisions of the everlasting covenant,
all the gifts of grace, and all the preparations of glory —
are but fruits and effects, of the Father's infinite and eternal love.
If, therefore, the Father has thus thought of us, provided for us, and prepared to have us in his presence and glory forever — he must be love, and love to us!
The Son of God is love to us, and has manifested his love, by becoming incarnate for us; taking our nature, that he might personally know all our infirmities, temptations, and trials. In our nature he wrought for us, and produced a righteousness to justify us! He suffered for us, and died in our stead — to make an atonement for our sins. He ascended to Heaven to carry on our cause, and ever lives to answer every accuser, and by his intercession to secure for us every blessing. Could he do more, to prove his love? Or could he more clearly manifest, that he is love?
The Holy Spirit is love to us, and therefore he quickened us when dead in trespasses and sins. Having convinced us of sin, and of our need of a Savior — he led us to Jesus. He gave us the Holy Scriptures, and daily teaches us by his providence and grace. He helps our infirmities in prayer, and instructs us how, and what to pray for. He dwells in us, works in us, and exerts his power in us. He makes us his temple, and consecrates us to the glory of God. Could he more strikingly or impressively, prove that he is love — or could he possibly show greater love to us?
Jehovah God — Father, Son, and Spirit — is love to the believer. Each of the Divine persons distinctly, and the whole God-head, unitedly — is love to the Christian. God is always, everywhere, and under all circumstances — love to his people. His nature being love — and his love being his nature — it cannot change — but is without variableness, or shadow of turning. Everything God does for us — he does out of love. And everything God permits to happen to us — he permits in love. Let us then endeavor always to keep in mind, that God is love. But more especially let us do so, in times of trouble and trial — for every trouble however heavy, and every trial, however severe — flows from his love.
So also when we approach to God in prayer, let us bear in mind, that we are not coming to a severe Judge, or an offended Governor — but to a loving Father — to a God who is love, and who loves to hear, answer, and confer blessings upon his children.
And when we lie on the bed of sickness, when death stands by our pillow, when the scenes of time are closing upon us, and the solemnities of eternity, are opening before us, when heart and flesh are failing, and Satan makes his last attack upon us — then, then let us remember, that God is love, and that his love is about to be perfected in us!
Lost sinner, a God of love, warns you to flee from eternal wrath, invites you to come to Jesus, and offers you everlasting life!