“God is love.”
Many years ago a family moved in across the street from some friends of mine. On the very first day the husband invited my friends over for coffee. The next week they were invited again, this time for dinner. The new neighbor waved smilingly across the street each time he saw my friends. That is until one day when this new fellow approached my friend and aksed him if he needed any help with life insurance. My friend said no, he was well taken care of in that area. The new neighbor smiled and went home. That was the last time he heard from him.
It is important for me to know that even if God gets very little done with me He loves me nonetheless. In fact, it is truly a travesty when we use love.
Our language does not have a word for God’s love. The ancient Greek language of the New Testament does. That word is ‘agape’, which may be translated ‘undeserved’ or ‘unmerited love’.
The love of God is an end in itself. He does not use it for other purposes. He doesn’t love us in order to save us or change us or do something to us. If God accomplishes nothing with us He loves us still. God loves His children that are forever lost to Him as much as He loves those who have come home. God does not use His love to get something done. This is part of of what it means to say ‘God is love’. God’s love is not an emotion or a feeling. It is not a responsive love that is attracted to the beautiful and repelled by the ugly. It does not calculate or count the cost.
A Coast Guard captain called for his crew to launch their ship into a great and terrible storm. A ship was foundering and the distress signal had gone out. One of the crewmen objected. “Captain”, he said,”If we sail out into that gale we may never come back.” The captain replied, “Getting back is not our chief concern. Getting to that ship is.”
The love of God in the church, reflected in His people, is not an instrument. It is an end in itself. We are not to seek the welfare of others so that they will join our church or give money to the church or think well of the church. God loves and that’s it. And His people are to love whether it achieves anything or not.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”