God’s Passionate Love

1 John 4:7-21

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

I often say, “I have yet to meet a single person whom God does not passionately love”- and occasionally I’m asked precisely what I mean by that.  Does this mean that God loves murderers and thieves (or *gasp* the gays?).  Why do I clarify the phrase with the word “passionately” when perhaps it’s more precise to simply say “love”.  God certainly doesn’t lie awake at night fantasizing about how badly he wants to be with us, imagining a world in which there would be no barriers between his love and our hearts.

Or does he?

I imagine that he does.  I imagine that every harsh word, every sin, every fading glance pains God.  It is his desire to be reunited with us.  After all, he sent his son so that we could be Christ’s bride.

Can you imagine a father saying, “we want you in our family so badly that one of us will die to win your heart?”

But… yet…  This is love, not that we have loved God but that God loves us.  Our knowledge of, understanding of, and ability to love are all birthed from God.  It is through love that we come to know God, through the work of our hands and the cries of our hearts for each other.  It is through demonstrating love that we show the world who God and who Christ is.

We must learn to feel the passion, the burning in the bones, the explicit agony of hope, the dream of bringing the world before God as a spotless bride.

We must love.

And remember- anyone who says they love God but hates their brother is a liar.


11 thoughts on “God’s Passionate Love

  1. This is where most people go when they think of God’s love. I mean how can you argue with Holy Scripture. There it is in black and white!

    God also loved the woman at the well who had had “five husbands and the one she was with now wasn’t her husband”. What did he tell her. God also loved the rich young ruler who kept all of God’s commands sinc he was young. What did God command him to do. Sell all that you have. There is more to God’s love than the warm and fuzzies.

    Remember too that God also says that at some point He will just wash His hands of us.

    More later when I have time.

  2. Jen: Thank you!
    M54: Ah, that is the other side of parent-love. I, as a parent, find that there are times I must chastise my children or otherwise behave in a way they describe as “cruel”, such as when I grab them away from the road or refuse them something they want as it could be a danger to them. How are we to know when God barks at us in anger for our own safety? When he takes away something we want because it’s his judgment that it could harm us? Or when he allows us, as I do my daughter, to make grievous mistakes so that we might learn from them?

    Love isn’t hearts and roses. It is a real and vibrant and many sided thing that sometimes is sweet and sometimes bitter and sometimes indescribably both.

    Yet there is no doubt in my mind that God’s love isn’t passive. It is intensely passionate.

  3. “God is Love. This is at once the most universally known and universally misunderstood attribute of all. Millions have simply equated love with God, thus weakening or totally denying his other perfections. A man and woman may have an affair hidden from their spouses and justify their adulterous relationship by their great “love” for each other. But God’s love cannot be separated or isolated from his holiness and hatred for sin. Having said all this, however, it must be admitted that of all his attributes, God’s love is probably more quickly seized upon by seeking sinners than any other perfection.”
    QuickVerse11.0,1 2007

    1. God loves Israel. Deuteronomy 7:7, 8 Isaiah 49:15: Jeremiah 31:3 Hosea 11:1, Malachi 1:2

    2. God loves the world. John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:3, 4: 2 Peter 3:9:

    3. God loves the church. Ephesians 5:25-32:

    4. God loves the sinner. Romans 5:8:

    5. God loves the spiritual Christian. Gal 2:20:

    6. God loves the carnal Christian Luke. 15:12-24.

    7. God loves his Son. John 3:35, John 10:17.
    John 15:9, John 17:23, 24: Matthew 3:17. Matthew 17:5

    8. God loves the cheerful giver.
    2 Corinthians 9:7

    Another example of God’s love can be found in Joshua 7 where He purged out the sin in order that all of Israel would not be destroyed. Now if you were one of the ones purged it probably did not feel much like love.

  4. Amen Lindsey!

    I often wonder what would happen if the church, the body of believers, myself included, would allow God to do HIS work while we learn how to do our own.

    Love one another.

  5. Lindsey, I totally get sticking the “passionately” in front of love. I seldom write of God’s love without rolling out a carpet of “extravagant”, “ridiculous”, “lavish”, “boundless” and “passionate” love. Neither when writing of my love for God in return. In my human limitations of understanding I just feel like when considering that God doesn’t simply love but IS Love, I have to do more to embellish it and lift it to another level. It’s the whole “loved my lunch, loved by God” we need more words for love dilemma.

    And yes, I believe God passionately loves every single human being (as well as all of creation). There aren’t degrees of God’s love. It comes to us at maximum capacity, and the only limitation is on how much we can and will receive. Yep, sinner and saint, friend and enemy alike. Passionate love for all and for each. No exceptions.

  6. One can love, even without a magical sky faerie. My wife and I love each other unconditionally. We respect and love and honor one another. We have high standards, morals and values.

    All without a god. Please visit my blog for thousands of reasons as to why god and religion are false.

  7. Hello Lindsey: I just love your writing, as well as the dialogue you invite about God. I do believe that my love for God is passionate, and that the lesson above all, is to love one another, to love Him, and to trust in His love for us. It is such a struggle for me to be a lesbian and a Christian, for I love God, and I love Jesus with all of my heart, and try to emulate his teachings; yet, so many in the name of God and Jesus condemn me and my love, which is so confusing for me. I love deeply, and in a committed way, my partner and our daughter. We are a firm, solid family unit; we love one another, respect one another, and help others in need. We worship on Sunday and we thank God for our blessings. We are not sinners; we are emulating God’s message of love and compassion for one another. Thank you so much for your thought provoking post….. Vanessa

  8. I needed some time to muse on this for a bit.

    I appreciate this perspective, which I hadn’t considered quite this way before. I had learned this as charity, which our holy writ (in particular) calls the pure love of Christ. It is that same charity that Paul writes of, without which he is like “sounding brass”– noise without substance.

    I saw a connection between the quote I had made and the parent-love you were describing: though we may have harsh words for a child when they do something dangerous (especially when we have to snatch them from harm’s way), we still hug them and tell them that we love them.

    I learned a lot when I studied Judaism for a short time. I think goyim (Gentiles) may have distorted things somewhat with a “vengeful God of the Old Testament” perspective. Most Jews I have spoken with have described Ha’shem more like a strict parent who is still has arms outstretched for those that will allow themselves to be embraced. I also strongly suspect that many Muslims would make similar comparisons with their view of Allah (God).

  9. M54: Thank you for taking the time to look that up! I’m going to save it for my next “love” post.

    Stephanie and Anita: Thank you. And isn’t God wonderful? Sometimes I feel so happy when I think about God that I literally get trembly. (I won’t talk about the other times I get that happy in polite company. *lol*)

    Vanessa: Welcome to my blog! I’m happy to have you here. And I think it is so unique and beautiful whenever two people love and devote themselves to one another. I just adore seeing love played out so much I find it hard to care who it’s coming from, regardless of what the Bible says. Without love, we’ve got nothing. We need each other!

    Jaklumen: That’s so interesting about Judaism and father-love. I’d really like to learn more about it sometime. I just find other religions (and denominations) so intriguing. We’ve a lot to learn from each other!

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