Yes indeed, God is love. But this part of God’s character was not always revealed to man. After the flood, when God had shown Himself as an unrelenting judge, He revealed Himself to Abraham as the Almighty God, the possessor of heaven and earth. More than four hundred years later He made Himself known to Moses as the great I AM, the eternal God. Having through Moses delivered His people Israel from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, He led them into the wilderness, unto Mount Sinai. When the people had promised to obey the Lord in all things, He gave them His law. By this they were taught the absolute holiness of God, and that He could not tolerate the smallest sin.
Ten commandments comprised this law, the first and greatest part being summarized as: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). What a strange command this was! A people ordered to love a Being whom they could not see, and only knew as a terrible God, fearful in holiness, all-powerful, and ready to punish the smallest sin. And they were commanded to love Him with all the powers of their being!
Yet God never orders the impossible, for behind this command lies a deep secret not yet revealed to man—which would not be fully revealed for centuries—the marvelous loveableness of God. True, glimpses of God’s love were given, as we find in Deuteronomy 7:7,8, where we are told that He had chosen this people because He loved them. In the Psalms we find many verses expressing God’s kindness and goodness, and especially His mercy, but nothing more.
At last, when the fullness of time was come, the long-promised Deliverer appeared, and proved to be none other than God’s own beloved Son, who revealed the long-hidden secret that God is love. How different from the terrible denunciations against sin in the Old Testament is that wonderful verse, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Page after page of the Gospels speak to us of that blessed Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, who in His earthly pathway down here exhibited love and grace and truth to the full.
As we read on through the New Testament, what beautiful descriptions we find about this God of love! The Father of mercies, the God of all comfort, the God of all grace, the God of peace, the God of hope, the God of patience and consolation. Yet more, the Apostle John writes, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). And in the following chapter, twice over are found these wonderful words, “God is love.”
What is your response to the love of God, and the gift that love has provided? Jesus laid down His life as a sacrifice for your sin, and rose again to provide eternal life. Have you seen your need of being reconciled to Holy God and turned to Him in repentance? Accept the gift of God’s love: put your trust in Jesus Christ today.
—G. F. Barlee, adapted.