By Duane L. Smith

In 1 John 4:8, the Apostle John declares that "God is Love." What did he mean by this? For a better understanding of this verse, Unger's Bible Dictionary says, "...Love is the highest characteristic of God, the one attribute in which all others harmoniously blend."

God always has our highest good in mind for us, although it might not always seem so to us at the time. We must always try to remember that "All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called, according to His purpose."--Rom. 8:28, NKJV.

As we have seen in John 3:16, God was motivated by love when He sent His one and only dear Son into this world in order that Christ could live out His perfect, sinless life amongst us. This Gift was the ultimate demonstration of God's love culminated in our Redeemer and Lord's death on the Cross, on our behalf.

We can know with absolute certainty that Christ's atoning sacrifice is completely and totally all-sufficient, whereby we are justified, redeemed, reconciled, and declared to be righteous before God, by faith, because God has raised Christ from the dead. Therefore, we have the promise of eternal life and the hope of our own bodily resurrection one day.

The very best Biblical definition of this kind of selfless, self-sacrificing love, that is freely offered to all is, of course, found in I Cor. 13. Love ought to be the chief motivator of our lives. Love should guide everything we do or say. Also, love should be the foundation upon which all of our relationships are built: marriage, family, friends, etc., "...that Christ may dwell in your hearts, through faith, being rooted and grounded in love."--Eph. 3:17 -, NKJV.

For more Biblical relationships, see: Ephesians 5:21; 6:1-7.

It is not by accident that love tops the list given in Gal. 5:22 for the Fruit of the Spirit. God Himself is our source for this kind of love. When we avail ourselves and yield to the Spirit of God, it is then that we are enabled and empowered to manifest Christian love in our lives. To the degree to which we allow God to rule our lives, that is the same degree love is evident, and it is also the measure of our Christian maturity.

In summary, when we realize how much God loves us, and what Christ did for us--something we couldn't do by ourselves!--we are naturally filled with gratitude and love for God. It is when we truly accept His love deep down in the very core of our being, that is when we begin to truly love others. See I John 4:19, 10

We love those of the household of faith (which is the Church), and we love the rest of the world and all those we come in contact.

We must love the lost, hurting, and all those dying without hope. It was to these who are most in need of this message of love that Christ came and for whom He died. He did not come for the well, but to the sick. He did not come for the righteous, but for the unrighteous. In other words, He came for those who are truly lost, lost in sin, sickness, and bound by the power of the Devil. These His power and love can set free.

For a more in-depth presentation of God's unfailing and reliable love for His people, please refer to Romans 8:31-39. Amen!

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