Christian theology in a Sudanese context. The essential nature and character of God.
The Love of God God is love. This “love” is not self-centred, passionate or erotic love (Greek – eros), taking satisfaction only for itself. Neither is it brotherly love, tender affection being shared between equals (Greek – phileo), with each person unselfishly giving and receiving. God’s “love” (Greek –agape) is love that does not depend on the merits of the one being loved. It is the motive behind the willing choice to serve, putting others before one’s own self. God’s love is God’s heart exposed to the world.At great cost to Himself, He launched a mighty war on sin. God’s eternal and consistent love is always giving of itself. It is a “covenant of love” (Deuteronomy 7:7-13). The eternal loving relationship between God the Father and God the Son (Matthew 3:17; John 14:31) extends to include us in His family (John 15:9). God’s love is shown in His special relationship to humankind (1 John 4:7-12). In His love God saves us (John 3:16). In His love God provides for our needs (Psalm 107:8,15,21,31,43). In His love God keeps us (Romans 8:38-39). And in His love God disciplines us (Proverbs 3:11,12). It is a mistake to take the words “God is love” as the definitive statement – the only authoritative definition – of the character of God. The Bible also says clearly that “God is Spirit” John 4:24; “God is light” 1 John 1:5; and “God is a consuming fire” Hebrews 12:29. Holiness and love lend unity to all the attributes of God. It is worth meditating on this: R.T.Kendall, in his Westminster School of Theology, London, taught that “the glory of God is the sum total of His character and attributes.” Do not lose the glory of all of God by concentrating on only one aspect of God. Being in love with the Lord Jesus will help you reflect His likeness (1 John 4:19). We do not really appreciate God’s love until we have seen how unlovable we actually are. The love of God is displayed in full by the cross of Christ. “… To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 1:5,6).
Although in many places the Qur’an mentions that God loves certain kinds of people, such as those who do right, it also states that God does not love people who break the law, people who are wicked or ungrateful, those who reject faith, and those who do wrong, (Qur’an 2:190; 2:276; 3:31-32; 3:57). The Bible clearly teaches that God loves all people, even while they are not the kind of people He wants them to be (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-18). A God Who is love, cannot stop loving! We may hurt Him, and we may abuse His love; but He will always love us.
Thinking it through.
(a). We understand God’s love by His care of us and His provision for us. What does this
tell us about ‘loving one another’?
(b). Why do you think Jesus said: “He who has been forgiven little, loves little”?
(c). ‘God can never stop loving’. Why not?