Friday, January 11, 2013

But Isn't God a God of Love?

Absolutely. John tells us that God is not just a God of love, but God is himself love. Twice in the New Testament it tells us that "God is love". That love is primarily seen in God's love within the Trinity. From all eternity, and into all eternity, the Father, Son and Spirit love each other with a perfect, all-consuming, all-embracing love. But that love also overflows to us. God loves us so much that he seeks to include us in his inter-Trinitarian love.

But love is not something fluffy. If necessary, love will fight to protect what it loves. In the same book it tells us that God is love, 1 John, it also tells us that "God is light, in him there is no darkness at all". God is love, and that love opposes the darkness that would seek to dethrone the Trinity, or seek to harm God's people.

Sometimes by the way that we reject God, by the way that we fight against him, we force him to oppose us. The Amalekites did that. And when God fights against someone because they fight against him, he does not like to do it. He does not rejoice in the death of sinners, but rather that they should turn from their wickedness and live. (Ezekiel 18:23) God's judgement is described in the Bible as his "strange work" and his "alien task" (Isaiah 28:21). It doesn't come naturally to him.

This tension reaches its climax on the cross. We see right through the Old Testament that in order for God to bless the world through his people, he must destroy those who oppose them. And in the cross he does both. The Second Person of the Trinity, God himself, becomes a man to be God's own people; to be the means of blessing to all the world, and also to become the man who must suffer and die. God bears his own punishment on sin so that we, the guilty ones, can be free.

Yes, God is a God of love. He is a God of love who loves so much that he defends what he loves, and when he loves his own enemies, he defends them by taking the punishment on himself. This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to bear our sin.

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