What is the love of God according to the Bible?
What We See: The Love of God
What we see depends mainly on what we are looking for. If we’re in a bad mood, we may grumble and complain about all the problems in life, conveniently ignoring personal blessings.
While on a journey, we might focus on reaching our final destination but miss out on the beauty God provides along the way. First impressions can be laced with judgment and callous reactions because we often look at the outer man instead of the inner being.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ “1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)
Praise God for His willingness to love us despite our sinful nature. If we can imagine our sins as mud clinging to our flesh, we would appear pretty filthy. Yet, God looks beyond our wretched condition and draws us to Himself. Before and after we repent of our willful sins, He woos us with His love. The Good Shepherd goes after lost sheep and carries them on His back. When we acknowledge Jesus as the Lord of our life, God washes us by His sacrificial blood and makes as white as snow.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)
“ ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ “
Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)
The Bible is a divine romance. From Genesis to Revelation we see a love story of how God courts His chosen people and eventually marries them! Our Lord sees us holy and clean, as we will be after sanctification. Our sins are as far as the east is from the west and He remembers them no more! When God looks at us, He sees His beautiful bride.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:12 (NIV)
So, how do you view God? Is He merely a Creator who keeps His distance? If so, you have overlooked God’s constant pursuit for a relationship with man. From the very beginning, God was interacting with His children. God walked in the Garden of Eden and fellowshipped with Adam and Eve. He had a close relationship with Enoch and Elijah and Abraham was called His close friend. Jesus had 12 Disciples and even an inner circle of friends.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8 (NIV)
“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend.” Isaiah 41:8 (NIV)
Do you view God as a father figure? If so, is He a strict Father looking for ways to punish bad behavior or is He loving and kind? Is your heavenly Father looking out for your best interests or is He always condemning your life choices?
“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
God calls us His children and thus disciplines us out of love. He instructs and guides us along the path of righteousness. The Bible says God IS love. How we define love will influence how we see God.
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:16 (NIV)
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)
“Because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son.” Hebrews 12:6 (NIV)
A good personal study, if you’re interested, would involve looking up Scriptures depicting God as FATHER and examples where God demonstrated His love. This idea would include examples of God’s discipline, grace, blessing, and provision. Consider the story of Hagar and Joseph. Read about Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. Did you know the Jews left Egypt with riches (Ex.12:35-36)? Meditate on God’s awesome provisions and miracles.
While we walk this earth, we see but a fuzzy and dim picture of heaven. As Christians, we strive not only to know more of God but to reflect His love and character to those around us. We demonstrate the love of God by looking past outer appearances and into the heart of every man. May Jehovah Roi, THE GOD WHO SEES ME give us eyes that see others as He does.
For now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NKJV)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)
“I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently will find Me.”
Proverbs 8:17 (NKJV)