Key Verse: “We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
—I John 4:16
I John 4:8-17
THE BIBLE STATEMENT that “God is love” and its further teaching that he is wise, just and mighty is most generally accepted by Christian people. Our understanding of the great Creator of the universe should be that he is absolutely perfect in each of these respects. However, laying aside the Bible and its declarations as to God and his plans, what visible proofs have we of this character of love which the Bible ascribes to him?
Creation everywhere speaks of God’s divine power and wisdom. We look at distant worlds and note the harmony and beauty of the entire arrangement. (Ps. 19:1,2) The mountains and oceans repeat the story of God’s wisdom and power. From the tiny insect’s sense and skill, to man, even in his imperfect condition, we see evidence that God’s power and wisdom have perfectly adapted each creature to its habitat.
Regarding God’s attribute of justice, we have the illustration found in mankind itself. We recognize that we are sinners and see the justice of his law which declares the wages of sin to be death. (Rom. 6:23) We understand the legitimacy of our penalty, that the law which condemns us is holy, just and good. The fault is with us, and not with God, for he is “just and right.” (Deut. 32:4) God’s justice is so perfect and unalterable, that even he could not violate his own just law. To clear the guilty, he must make provision for a ransom. (I Cor. 15:20,21) Had not the justice of the Almighty been equaled by his wisdom and power in making such an arrangement, mankind would still be lost. However, a Redeemer was indeed provided, who gave himself a ransom for all.—I Tim. 2:5,6
Where in these arrangements are the proofs of God’s love? Some might say that the rain, sunshine, warmth and cooling breeze, along with life, health and strength, are proofs of the love of God to men. Truly, these are wonderful blessings. However, God sends his rain upon the just as well as the unjust, and causes the sun to shine on both the evil and the good. (Matt. 5:45) Life, health, and strength alone are insufficient as proofs of God’s love, for the healthiest and most prosperous are often the wicked, of whom it is declared: “God is angry with the wicked.”—Ps. 7:11
We thank God that there is one paramount proof of God’s love, and it is so grand as to be overwhelmingly convincing to those who have an ear to hear. That proof is Jesus. The fact that God sent his only begotten Son to be man’s Redeemer is proof of his love beyond all question. (John 3:16) Here we have the conviction that was in the Apostle’s mind when he wrote, “God is love,” for he further declares: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [Greek: satisfaction] for our sins.”—I John 4:10
Only those who understand and accept the ransom as the expression of divine love can see this proof. Such confidence in God’s love and in his daily care cannot be attained by others. It is by faith alone that we can accept the proof of God’s love, when others may see just the opposite. Faith allows us to understand that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”—Rom. 8:28