God is Love!
James Smith, 1859
"God is love!" 1 John 4:16
This is a truth which cannot be learned from nature. For though we see the bright, the beautiful, and the benevolent in nature — we see also the dull, the dreary, and the frightening. If we see the smiles of infancy — we see also the wrinkles of old age. If we hear the laugh of health — we hear also the groans of suffering. Walk through a large hospital; stand on the shore and witness a dreadful shipwreck; or read the horrible details of the ravages of plague, and famine — and who would from these conclude, that God is love.
Neither creation nor providence without the Bible, would teach us that God is love. It is God in Christ — that is love. Here God can speak the most loving words, and wear the most loving smiles. Here he is pure, unmixed, and infinite love; because in Christ, his justice has received satisfaction for man's sin, and his law has been magnified and made honorable. In Christ, God has to ask nothing of man, except that he yield to him his heart, for he has received all that as the moral Governor, and Judge of all — he could require. In Christ he asks us to be friends, beseeches us to be reconciled, offers us the richest, choicest, blessings, and rejoices to do us good.
Look at God in nature — and you see something of his greatness, goodness, and power. Look at God in providence — and you see something of his beneficence, wisdom, and justice. But look at God in Jesus — and you see all of his glorious perfections, and all his divine attributes — but especially you see his LOVE. Love to sinners shines above every other perfection of his nature, and sheds a glorious luster on them all.
Love brought the sinner into Christ. Love prompts us to receive Christ as the sinner's substitute and sacrifice. Love sends us the invitation to come, and be pardoned, justified, sanctified, and saved. Love makes the promises of peace, provision, and eternal life. Love calls to us as children to return and enjoy a father's favor, receive a father's blessing, and be made happy in our father's presence.
All that God does for His children — is in love!
All that he withholds from us — is in love!
And that all he requires of us — is in love!
His precepts are from love — as much as His promises!
His warnings are as much from love — as His invitations!
His prohibitions are as much from love — as His permissions!
His love uses the rod — as well as gives the kiss!
His love withholds — as well as gives!
All, all, is in love! "The Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone he accepts as a son!" Hebrews 12:6
"God is love." That is, in Christ, God is love.
Let me therefore always look to God in Christ. Let me deal with God in
Christ. Let me worship God in Christ. I will admire nature, I will
observe providence — but I must know God in his beloved Son. Here is
no terror to make me afraid. Here are no judgments to fill me with alarm. In
Jesus, I see the Most High God . . .
as the God of peace — speaking peace to coming sinners;
as the God of patience — exercising patience toward weary saints;
as the God of all comfort — comforting those who are cast down;
and as the God of all grace — giving grace and glory to all who apply in the name of Jesus. O sweet and blessed representation of Jehovah! How can I fear a God of love? How can I be justified in complaining of any of his dealings? In Jesus,
all His thoughts, are loving thoughts;
all His words, are loving words; and
all His works, are loving works.
In giving, or withholding — He manifests His love.
In afflicting, or restoring — He alike displays His love.
Every pain, and every pleasure — is from love.
Every storm, and every sunbeam — is from love.
The fruitful shower, and the destroying hurricane — are ruled and overruled by love, for the good of the believer in Jesus.
O my soul, never indulge a hard thought of God. Never listen to Satan's insinuations against God. Never judge of the Lord's ways by your feelings, or by sense; but believe the testimony of his Word, and rejoice in the well proved fact, that "God is Love!" Holy Spirit, give me clearer views of God in Christ, help me so to believe, as always to realize, let whatever will happen, or let my circumstances be what they may, that "God is Love!"