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Attributes of God: Love | Theology Matters

  • October 2004 Issue
Practical Theology

Someone has said that love is a verb. That may be true, but before it was a verb, it was an attribute of God. According to 1 John 4:8, God is love. He is the source of love and love is the distinguishing mark of all that He does (1 John 4:7). God's love is the divine attribute that helps us to keep many of the other attributes of God in perspective. 

God's moral attributes of goodness and holiness, for example, would create an impenetrable barrier for us if it were not for the attribute of love. God's goodness and holiness reflected in divine justice. God's justice, however, has been tempered by the fact that He is love. Love motivated God to send His son as a sacrifice for our sin (Eph. 2:4). He is repeatedly described as God of "unfailing" love (Ps. 6:4; 13:5, 21:7). Our experience of God's love motivates us to show love to others. 

God's love is not shallow sentimentalism. It is an attribute in harmony with all His other attributes. It is active and shows itself in the way that God deals with those He has created. It is His love that causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall (Matt. 5:43-35).

Why Theology Matters
God's love is the ultimate foundation for the love we show to others. We love others because God has loved us. Only those who have been born of God through faith in Jesus Christ can love in the way that God intended. Like God who has loved us, our love should be sacrificial. We must be willing to lay down our lives on behalf of those for whom Christ died (1 John 4:11).

To discover more about the way God shows His love, read The Five Love Languages of God by Gary Chapman (Moody Publishers).

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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