And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – 1 John 4:16
God is love. We encounter this saying all the time. It is a sermon title, a tshirt slogan and a catch phrase. We often use it in a trivial way or even as an excuse. But let’s not let our familiarity with it cause us to empty it of meaning.
We have to remember that everything that exists is a result of the imagination and power of God. He has filled His creation with beauty and reflections of His image. The way that He designed us to relate to one another shows ways that He relates to us. For instance, each of us has a dad. Regardless of whether they are a good or bad one, we still have an idea of what they should be like, even of what would be the ideal connection between a father and child.
Calling God “Father” does not come from this family tie, but the other way around. God has chosen to have this earthly connection between fathers and children as a way of demonstrating and pointing to His relationship with us. When He says He is our heavenly Father we realize that our earthly fathers are only examples of this. “Fathering” is a way of knowing God’s nature.
In the same way, love is God’s character and identity. It is not an attribute or part of His personality, it is who He is. When God gives us examples of love and asks us to love each other, it is to help us understand Him better. We live in love to know God better. And, of course, as we know God more fully, we become more like Him and can love all the more. God is love.