Much is made about God’s love.  Christians tend to gravitate to the verse “God is love.”  If i could say it any better i would, but let me draw on Tozer once again for clarification on God and love.  Writing on the love of God, Tozer writes,

The apostle John, by the Spirit, wrote, “God is love,” and some have taken his words to be a definitive statement concerning the essential nature of God.  This is a great error.  John was by those words stating a fact, but he was not offering a definition.

Equating love with God is a major mistake which has produced much unsound religious philosophy and has brought forth a spate of vaporous poetry completely out of accord with the Holy Scriptures and altogether of another climate from that of historic Christianity.

Had the apostle declared that love is what God is, we sould be forced to infer that God is what love is.  If literally God is love, the literally love is God, and we are in all duty bound to worship love as the only God there is.  If love is equal to God then God is only equal to love, and God and love are identical.  Thus we destroy the concept of personality in God and deny outright all His attributes save one, and that one we substitute for God. The God we have left is not the God of Israel; He is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; He is not the God of the prophets and the apostles; He is not the God of the saints and reformers and martyrs, nor yet the God of the theologians and hymnists of the church.

For our souls’ sake we must learn to understand the Scriptures.  We must escape the slavery of words and give loyal adherence to meanings instead.  Words should express ideas, not originate them.  We say that God is love; we say that God is light; we say that Christ is truth; and we mean the words to be understood in much the same way that words are understood when we say of a man, “He is kindness itself.”  By so saying we are not stating that kindness and the man are identical, and no one understands our words in that sense.

The words “God is love” mean that love is an essential attribute of God.  Love is something true of God but it is not God.  It expresses the way God is in unitary being, as do the words holiness, justice, faithfulness and truth.  Because God is immutable He always acts like Himself, and because He is a unity He never suspends one of His attributes in order to exercise another.

In other words, yes, God is love.  But God is a whole bunch of other things too.  We must remember that the love of God does not supercede all the other attributes of God.  God’s love does not outweigh his justice, righteousness or holiness.  All of the attributes of God are on a level playing field.  God is just as much omnipotent as he is faithful as he is loving.

Which begs to ask the question: As Christians, do we put too much emphasis on the love of God?

Advertisements