Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.1 John 4: 8-10
Last week Patrina and I were in a restaurant where we heard The Doobie Brothers’ song, “Jesus is Just Alright With Me”. She was only familiar with the D.C. Talk version from the ’90s. It reminded me of some other songs of the ’70s and ’80s including the Commodore’s song,” Jesus is Love”.
Those songs are not all that different than some of the songs we hear in some worship services today that focus on the idea of God’s love for us and, yes, in the passage above we read a commonly used phrase – God is love.
God is love, but does that mean that is the only or primary characteristic of God? According to the theologian, William Yount, if we study the love of God “without mention of His holiness or wrath, we can walk away with an unbalanced view” of God’s character.
Look again at the words that follow “God is love.” Verse nine tells us that God expressed love through the Son who died for us. If we are to understand God to the best of our ability, we need to be able to see the whole picture. If we see only view God as Holy and Powerful, we may develop a distorted view of God as distant and angry. Or if God is viewed exclusively as all loving, our perspective can be skewed again. Surely, God is not a one-dimensional character.
Give that phrase some thought. Now, if you were to sit down and write a description of your image of God, would your view be an isolated extreme from one perspective or the other? Or do you see a more complete picture of God?