To describe what God is like is an overwhelming challenge, but many of us try and keep on trying our best to do so. I was recently reminded how difficult it is in a discussion about God with my grandsons.
Today I’ve been thinking about what I suggested a few years ago is the best thing about God. To postulate what the best thing about God is may be presumptuous; and if it is not presumptuous, then it may be arrogant.
In the New Testament there are three specific statements I look to that shine a light on what God is like. The first comes from Jesus in John 4:24 when in a conversation with the woman at the well Jesus affirms “God is spirit,” and makes a connection of that with worship.
The second specific statement comes from the Apostle John in I John 1:5 where he declares “God is light: in him there is no darkness at all.” John’s basic point is that as God’s children it is our calling to walk in the light.
The third pronouncement also comes from the Apostle John in I John 4:8 and 16 where he presses the truth “God is love.”
If you would like to focus and meditate on these three statements about God I encourage you to go to the verses and read the context in which they are given. All of our questions will not be answered by doing so, but we may gain a greater understanding and appreciation for what they mean.
I want to note a few more things about the truth that “God is love” that should affirm, assure, encourage, and challenge us. To say “God is love” means even more than he is loving. Because he is love, everything God does, he does in love. Please note the Bible does not say “love is God.” Love isn’t God – God is God. We don’t worship love – we worship God.
The fact that God is love means that he loves us. And he doesn’t love us because we are wonderful and lovable people. He loves us because of who he is. Neither is his love for us contingent upon our returned love for him. God loves us because God is love. God created us to love us. We haven’t done anything, nor can we do anything, to earn or merit his love. God loves us because he is a loving God. And that’s why I suggest that his love is the best thing about God
Let’s hear John’s explanation in I John 4:9 and 10, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (Those verses are what prompted me years ago to say his love is the best thing about God.)
Our response to God’s love for us is to love in return. We are to love God, of course, but also people. I close with John’s assessment in I John 4:19-21: “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
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photo credit: babasteve <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/64749744@N00/25306637214″>Easter Week No. 1</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>