I have been thinking about some personal observations about one of the attributes ascribed to God by theological writers and thinkers. In fact, what I am sharing has to do with one of the most magnified and talked about attributes of God in the 21st century. When I consider what people believe about the love of God, I realize that it is an attribute that is probably the most misunderstood by most people. In fact, this is seen specifically in the way the attribute of love is applied to the manner that people choose to express individual behaviors. An important matter that should be considered is how our view of God’s love affects our relationship to Him, as well as, how behavior affects that relationship. In I John 4:16 it says, “We know and rely on the love God has for us”. Very simply, “God is love; therefore we can rely on Him”. However, while we understand that we can rely on God; we should not get confused when the Bible says, “God is love”. A distinction that needs to be made is that it does not mean, “Love is God”. There is a big difference between the two phrases. For instance, it would be the same difference as saying, “My dog is a girl” or “My girl is a dog.”
When God is described as love, this does not mean that because God is love and cares for everyone that I can get away with murder, living in open adultery, or some other unhealthy way of existing. Nor does it mean that I can do anything I want to and because God is love and He just slaps me on the wrist while we continue doing the same things over and over. In contrast, what His love indicates is that God wants what is best for you, and because of His grace, He has provided power to form a spiritual relationship with God, a pathway to receive forgiveness, as well as, the method to obtain redemption. In short, it means He is for you and that He is not against you– He has provided the power to live in ways that bring positive effect in your life. However, that does not imply that He is for the ways that we choose to express ourselves through every behavior chosen in life.
Think about this: the greatest expression of God’s love unfolds in a Divine paradox of God’s love juxtaposed against His hatred for sin. The love of a God manifests itself in His pouring out wrath upon sin on the Cross-where Jesus died as the suffering servant, who bore the pain for the penalty for sin. On one side, the love of God is revealed to sinful humans, in the provision of salvation, while the hatred of God deposits wrath upon an innocent Savior who died because of depravity and sin within humans existence bringing the penalty of death for all. In fact, the Divine relief provided reveals God’s love for humanity, but at the same time reveals a hatred for the effect that depravity brought in robbing man of His greatest potential. The apparent truth presented is how that we can rely on God’s love because in His Grace He provided redemption, acceptance, and freedom for those who believe unto salvation.
Consider this: If it is true, that God loves us and provides giving acceptance, identity, and power to live; then why do so many people avoid a relationship with God? A possible answer is that many people avoid dealing with God in their life because it means that they must think about themselves as sinners, accepting responsibility for things out of God has will, or changing something that is out of order in the events of life. Therefore, many will turn away and run from Him because they want to dismiss any uncomfortable feelings of guilt leading to conviction that they feel when they have an encounter with God or the presence of a reminder of Him in their lives.
As a result, one of the reasons that people react with avoidance is that there is fundamental fear of giving up control of patterns of behavior that have become comfortable in life and validated as acceptable by those around us. In fact, the current attitude in the 21st century that many people reflect is that” I am entitled to be like I am and if anyone calls attention to something that is out of balance, I am justified in expressing anger”. Unfortunately, the feeling of entitlement is the result of a faulty view of the love of God, which equates acceptance of the person with approval of behavior.
The truth is that many people are simply afraid of what might happen if they really commit to a life changing relationship with God. When people feel that they will have to change their character or behavior, that possibility brings a feeling of uncertainty triggering efforts to control the way we think about God in order to validate what we do. So, because people are hesitant and they want to keep a safe distance between life and change, they continue to affirm a belief that God’s love means it is okay to go on living in rebellion to right ways of living and what is commonly known to be out of sync with a spiritual relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Consequently, what many people do not understand is that change comes from within by experiencing spiritual transformation, a renewed mind and regenerated character.
Therefore, we know that we can rely on God and His love because He provides a way of redemption and forgiveness, not because He validates pet behaviors inconsistent with His character. In the end of the matter, the attribute of love should not be confused with the mercy that God extends while drawing people to Him in order to experience effective change that brings spiritual success in life. If you think that God does not care about your behavior, think about the Cross-and the wrath expressed toward Him in His crucifixion. It is there on the Cross- with Jesus suffering, bleeding, and dying that the attribute of love is clarified in the most succinct way.
- God is Love (faithfuldailyread.wordpress.com)
- God Already Loves You Completely (dianasymons.com)
- Reflections on Love (poemsbymichelleyee.wordpress.com)
- Loving the Unloved (theangelzone.wordpress.com)
- 15 Things Jesus Did Say (halati.wordpress.com)
- LETTER: God loves us all, including atheists (courierpress.com)
- Seventeen (trulypettythoughts.wordpress.com)
- Famine for the Word of God (tenthbeatitude.wordpress.com)
- A New Commandment? (isaiah532.wordpress.com)
- Session 5: What is Christian Revelation according to Hurs Van Balthasar? (kking0209.wordpress.com)