5. Loving

By James M. Rochford

God treats his creation with love and an attitude of mercy. Several passages support this attribute:

(1 Jn. 4:8) The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love… We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

(Is. 30:18-19) Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. 19O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.

(Deut. 7:7-8)“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples8but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

(Eph. 2:4-5) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

(Titus 3:3-5) For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

(Jer. 31:3) The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”

How can God be emotional, if he is immutable and unchanging?

Christian theologians have differed on the emotive nature of God, but we should consider God’s emotions as very real. Jesus was emotional (Jn. 11:35), and so is God himself. For instance, in the book of Hosea, we read, “How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled” (Hos. 11:8). Therefore, we conclude that God is not immutable in regards to emotions. He is immutable in regards to his purposes, nature, and promises. Theologian Millard Erickson writes, “The biblical view is not that God is static but stable. He is active and dynamic, but in a way that is stable and consistent with his nature.”[1]

Application

Certainly the love of God has many points of application for the believer, but we will consider a few below:

We can trust God’s discipline. We can trust God, even when he is disciplining us (Heb. 12). He is always actively involved in our lives for our good.

There is no reason to fear God as Christians. While we should respect God, we need never fear his rejection (Heb. 13:5) or retribution (1 Jn. 4:18). Deuteronomy 10:12-13 defines the “fear of God” in the proper sense.

God will only give us enough ministry blessing as we can handle. We want no more and no less than what God wants to give us. We can be content with where God has us (in times of drought) and confident (in times of harvest).



[1] Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. 1998. 305.