Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us – 1 John 4:7-12.
Valentine’s Day is generally for couples or marriages. We associate this with love and marriage. It is a reminder of the love that drew couples together and a nice opportunity to rekindle and express our appreciation for the love we receive from our spouse. The struggle these days is there are so many marriages stressed that sometimes love seems absent.
Either way, just for clarity’s sake, love begins with God. The Bible is pretty clear that God is love (v. 8). He is the very definition of love. Love is part of His divine perfections so that God cannot act except out of love. Like all other perfections, His love is in perfect harmony with His kindness and mercy. His love also is in perfect sync with His judgement. God cannot act without love because it is an intrinsic part of His nature.
God’s best picture or demonstration of His love is when He gave His Son. We are told three things: His love is manifested in our midst in His Son; Christ is both the evidence of a loving God and the very act of love toward us. The purpose of His love was that His Son would be a propitiation for our sins – His Son would satisfy the wrath of God aimed at us, so that we might live through Christ. We are incapable of loving the way God loves except that when we have received His Son then His love can teach us how to love one another. The way this text explains that we truly know God’s love is that we love one another. If we claim to know God, then we ought to love one another. If we don’t love others, then we do not know God’s love.
What is God’s love? Obviously, the purest picture of love is His Son given to us. But how would we define that love. From this text I would define love as: God’s love was willing to give what was most precious to Himself, in order to respond to our deepest need. The sacrifice of the Son was to deal with our sin by satisfying the wrath of God through His death so that we might discover His love personally.
God’s love is resilient. Love was willing to face the harsh reality of our sin and do exactly what was necessary to provide a refuge from God’s wrath against us. Not quite like the pretty roses we give our spouses and cute little cards expressing our love for one another. However, Barb and I are at year 38 in our marriage, and it has been God’s love in us that has all the credit to help us flourish over these many years. Left to myself, things would be different.
Valentine’s Day, like birthdays, may not mean much to you especially as we get older. That being said, I often take advantage of reminding myself through these cultural holidays, of those divine realities that mean everything to me.
In His grace,