What is Love?

By Alan Smith

I love pizza!

I love my wife!

But if I love pizza like I love my wife, we both have a problem. Instinctively, we know there is a difference in kinds of Love. How are we as followers of Jesus supposed to love? What does it look like?

In Genesis 1, God created man in his image and partnered with man to rule. Man was given dominion over this world and was designed to partner with God. God wanted to rule this world in partnership with his image.

In Genesis 3, we see that man sinned. He disobeyed the command of God, wanting to be a ‘god’ himself. He brought sin into the world and Death came.

Since then, all of humanity has been born into this sin. We are dead in sin and are instinctively hostile toward God.

But God created man to have fellowship with him and to partner with Him to have dominion. Since the fall of man, God has promised he would restore this relationship, and it would cost Him greatly.

What is Love?

How can we understand this love? What does it mean for God to love?

There are a few ways to express the Love of God, but let’s start at the place where God describes His own character. In Exodus 34, God describes himself to Moses as he passed by revealing his back. And he indicated that he is one with “Steadfast Love.”

6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 

Exodus 34:6

God describes his character to Moses and one of His attributes is that he abounds in Steadfast Love! This Hebrew word is a hard one to simply translate because it has such a specific and deep meaning. Many translation have used Mercy, lovingkindness, unfailing love or others to translate this word.

God’s Steadfast Love “assumes a pre-existing relationship, and it refers to actions that demonstrate loyalty to that relationship, to preserve, protect, and make it flourish.” [Bible Project Loyal Love Study Notes]

God’s love is grounded in his covenant relationship and it compels him to act in a way to demonstrate his commitment to the relationship. And this love is not defined by the the action or commitment of the recipient. It is God’s character.

The Loyal Love of God is expressed in actions that demonstrate His commitment to His promises.

How Do We Love?

We are commanded in the Scriptures to demonstrate this same kind of love. Jesus summed up all the law when he said we are to Love God and Love our neighbor.

“For Jesus, love is action. It’s a choice that you make to seek the well-being of people other than yourself.”[Bible Project Loyal Love Study Notes]

Jesus went on to teach that to reflect the Love of God, we must Love our enemies, do good to those who hurt us, lend and expect nothing in return. This is when we are demonstrating the kind of loyal love that the Father has for us.

Love one another!