Love week essay #3: Love is not a feeling

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 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. 10 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. (1 John 4:7-10).

S. Lewis Johnson said of those verses in his sermon The Divinity of Love part 2, “Now, there are three parts to the section. The apostle exhorts us to love in verses 7 and 8, he talks about the manifestation of authentic love in verses 9 and 10,”

God’s love is not a feeling, at least, not like we experience love. In human life, love waxes and wanes from fervent to fleeting and everything in between. It is erotic, brotherly, and sacrificial (eros, phileo, agape). Songs are written about love, people die for love, they live for love. Which is all very amazing, because we do not understand it until we are saved and thus experience God, who is love.

SL Johnson again, on the three kinds of love, (eros, phileo, agape)

One of the commentators somewhere to try to bring it down to our level has said the first word that has to do with sexual love, we might say, is all take. And then the second word is the weaker word, is give and take. And then the final one is all give and that is the true biblical kind of love. The apostle uses that third term that is the will of an individual and the expression of his love in a sacrificial kind of way to put it very simply.

At some point God communicated His perfect love for Himself in the form of the Father-Son-Spirit toward His creation and specifically toward His created humans. DA Carson here says,

What is of interest to us for our topic is the way the texts distinguish how the love of the Father for the Son is manifested, and how the love of the Son for the Father is manifested — and then how such love further functions as lines are drawn outward to elements of Christian conduct and experience. These function in various ways. There is space to reflect on only one of them.

In John 15, Jesus tells His disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (15:9). Thus, we move from the intra-Trinitarian love of the Father for the Son to the Son’s love of His people in redemption. Jesus thus becomes the mediator of His Father’s love. Receiving love, so has He loved. Then He adds, “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (15:9b–10).

Consider the gift, privilege, and grace of God’s love to us. Here, John Gill,

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

As the Father hath loved me,…. As his own Son, and as Mediator, from everlasting; and in time, in his state of humiliation, throughout the course of his obedience, and under all his sufferings; which he testified more than once by a voice from heaven; which he showed by concealing nothing from him as Mediator, by giving all things into his hands, by showing him all that he himself did, by appointing him the Saviour of the body, and making him the head of the church, by exalting him at his right hand, and ordaining him to be judge of quick and dead.

So have I loved you: Christ loves his as his spouse and bride, as his dear children, as members of his body, as branches in him the vine, as believers in him, and followers of him; which he has shown by espousing both their persons and cause, by assuming their nature, by suffering and dying in their room and stead, and making all suitable provision for them, both for time and eternity.

And there is a likeness between the Father’s love to him, and his love to his disciples and followers: as his Father loved him from everlasting, so did he love them; as his Father loved him with a love of complacency and delight, so did he, and so does he love them; and as his Father loved him with a special and peculiar affection, with an unchangeable, invariable, constant love, which will last for ever, in like manner does Christ love his people; …

Bless the LORD for His love – of and to Himself among His Persons, and through His Son to us. How grateful we should be that we can know love, for God is love and apart from Him, we know not what love its at any time.

god's love for us verse
EPrata photo