Rejoicing in God's Love
By: Jayson Grell
The Word of God teaches that 'God loves us', and that 'God is love'. The First Letter of John reveals, '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. In this, the love of God was made manifest among us that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.'
My dear friends, God does not only give love; He is the source of love. As the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1), He is the One who created love. It is because of His love that we ourselves are able to love. As 1 John 4:19 reminds us, 'We love because he first loved us.' The fullest expression of God "as Love" was through his Son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16 tells us: God loved the world so much that he gave us his Son. In fact, that loved has been lavished upon us, his children. God created us, sustains us, and has revealed Himself to us through his Son, Jesus the Christ.
John 1:14 declares, 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.' The Word of God also tells us that we have done nothing to deserve God's perfect love. In fact, Romans 5:8 shares, 'but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.' Even when Jesus knew we would fail and even before we were born, He gave His life as the ultimate expression of His love. (Wow!)
According to one spiritual writer, 'God is love. He created love; He created us to love Him, and has extended His love to each one of us. Our challenge therefore is to accept His great love with great Rejoicing and Gratitude in our hearts.' But brothers/ sisters, what is love? What does it mean to say God loves us? Why should we Christians, rejoice in God's love? To understand what the Bible means by God's love we must first bear in mind that whereas the Greek language has three different words for three different types of love, English has only one. In Greek we have (1) eros meaning romantic love (like the love between a man and a woman that leads to marriage), (2) philia meaning fellowship love (like the love for football/cricket which brings people together), and there is (3) agape or sacrificial love (like the love that makes a mother risk her own life for her yet unborn child). In romantic love we long to receive, in fellowship love we long to give and take, in sacrificial love we long to give.
And so, with what kind of love does God love his Church? God loves us with 'agape' or 'sacrificial' love. The Bible tells us that 'God loved the world so much that He gave.' That is one big difference between God and us: God gives and forgives, we get and forget. "Giving" is a sign of agape. This is the kind of love God has for us; this is the kind of love we should have for one another; This is the kind of love that is lived in heaven. And where this kind of love is absent, what you get is a spirit of confusion/ division/ hatred/ chaos. These things are not of God.
Lord, help me to understand day by day what love is. Sing with me: "I worship you…I worship you…The reason I live, is to worship you…."