God is . . . Love

by Sylvia Bambola January 4, 2010 8:53 AM

Volumes could be written about the nature of God and still not cover the whole of it. But for the next several weeks I’d like to touch on at least a few of the descriptions of God, and I’d like to start with the one most known. The Bible says that “God is love.”  But what does that mean, exactly? What does His love look like?


Growing up, I went to church on Sunday.  I even had “religious instruction”. But my faith was shallow and not well grounded.  I never read the Bible.  What I knew of God’s Word came from snippets of the Gospels or Epistles read from the pulpit, and from movies like The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Story Every Told.


When I began reading the Bible for myself, I came face to face with some pretty raw facts that didn’t line up with my preconceived ideas.  For one, the Bible says, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22) Now there’s a shock! What did that do to my theory of just trying to be a “good person”? A theory that worked better for me especially since I thought I was pretty good.  After all, I went to church, hadn’t killed anyone or robbed a bank. 


The next shock came when I read that, in God’s opinion, no one on the face of the earth was good (Matthew 19:17/Psalm 53:3). Wow! Now I was really in trouble. How was I going to earn my way into God’s heart and into His heaven? Well . . . perhaps by doing “good deeds.” I thought it sounded reasonable enough until I read that all my good works were like “filthy rags” to God (Isaiah 64:6). Now this was getting depressing.


Finally, God took pity on me and helped me connect the dots.  Jesus already shed His blood and satisfied the blood criterion.  The only thing I needed to do was accept what He had already done and apply it to my life, my sins, my inadequacies. Oh, how simple!  And oh, what freedom!  God had done it all.  His love paid the price, satisfied His justice.  It was like a rich benefactor—someone I, a poverty-stricken debtor, had disappointed, abused, insulted with my acts, and many times discounted—had put a large deposit into my bank account and said, “Here, live life on me.  I have paid your debts, and will supply all your future needs. All you need do is draw on my deposit.”


What does God’s love look like?  It’s a love that has given everything without the promise of getting anything in return.  It’s a love that sees the vilest part of us and still wants us, still yearns for us, still pursues us, still wants to call us by name, still wants to make us His own. It’s a love that though we spurn it, spit on it, mock it, will never stop trying to win us while at the same time never violate our free will. It’s a love that my mind can barely comprehend.


Until next week,


Category: Spirituality