What is “the love of God”? It’s the love He has for those who truly believe in Him, which they’re able to enjoy in their heart by means of the Holy Spirit. The fountainhead that this love flows forth from is in God—not in us. The Apostle Paul said that the love of God itself, not the power to love Him, “…is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). It’s unreasonable to look for this love of God in our natural heart after we come to understand that the love of God is only “shed abroad in our heart” by the Holy Spirit. “Have you received the Holy Ghost”? (Acts 19:2). After you willingly accept and receive Him, He’ll shed the love of God abroad in your heart also. And once we’ve become possessed by the nature of God, we’ll know that we love Him by our willingness to be obedient to Him. Before we can claim anything else, the love of God must be first.
If a man comes across what he considers to be an adequate cause to act, he can make the decision to sacrifice himself, as sometimes seen in wartime. But the matchless character of the love of God is displayed by the fact that Christ died for men when no reason to the contrary came forth—because man is ungodly, active in sin and practically without power. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). None of us has ever been good enough to deserve the love of God!
Jesus said, “I have called you friends,” and the highest expression of Christian love is that a man will lay down his life for his Friend. The Lord desires to be our closest Friend. And He’s given us so much love that we’re even able to love our enemies and return good for evil! Only those who have the true love of God in their hearts can love those who don’t love them. The Lord connects the highest human love with the highest Divine love here, but this is a connection in the believer, not in our Lord. Spending ourself for the love of God, which was shown in the life and death of Jesus, forms a bridge over the deep abyss of sin. Human love can be inspired with Divine love because of this love that will not fail.
What’s the greatest expression of the love of God to man? It’s the Cross of Christ. If there is any one thing that teaches man the love of God, it’s Calvary’s Cross, where the ultimate love of God was openly displayed for us. God’s love extended to us is made possible only by Christ, and what He has done for us at the Cross. And God’s love for His own will never falter, because we’re “in Christ Jesus.” Jesus loved us enough to give His life on the Cross of Calvary, and this alone makes us “more than conquerors….” “Hereby we perceive the love of God…” which tells us about knowledge gotten by experience, “…because He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16). What is the highest proof of love? The sacrifice of what is the most precious to us.
No human being will ever be able to fully comprehend the love of God. If we have a true relationship with Him through Christ, we’ll have a relationship of perfect love forever. He loves us with a love that won’t ever let us go. And God’s love in action is Jesus Christ. His love works right where we are, with no regard to individuals. It’s intended to flow through our own heart so that we’ll be able to reach others to tell them about it. How much greater the love of God is toward man than what man could ever be aware of!
There’s no love like God’s love. If you have received His Son into your heart, then you already know the love of God and can rest in the love He has for you. But if you don’t have a personal relationship with Him, you need to surrender your life to God, no matter who you are, and then you can experience His love spoken about here.
For more information on how to truly know God please visit our page about The Way to God.
[Image credits: Featured image (when applicable) Jacek Dylan/unsplash; Alexandra Fuller/unsplash; Jon Tyson/unsplash; Joshua Earle/unsplash]