God’s Attributes: He Is Love

The Scottish theologian P. T. Forsyth believed that there are really two overarching attributes of God: holiness and love. Put the pieces together (because God is a whole and complete reality), and you can speak of the “holy love” of God. His holiness is our assurance that he is different from the defilements of this world, and indeed, different from us, which contradicts any religious notion that God or the gods are just amplified versions of human nature.

But because God is love he is not separated from us. He is engaged, connected, involved. He is a God at work. Separate but not separated. Discriminating but not discriminatory. Hating evil but loving good. And, out of that love, he was willing to descend into this corrupt world in a great Incarnation and, in the person of Jesus, draw unholy people toward his holiness.


In 1 John 4 we find this clear, bold summary of the issue: “God is love.” It is a way of saying that this attribute is so central to who God is, this act so essential to who we must be in God, that we can set our focus there and spend a lifetime asking God to help us understand and live in this reality. Who will ever tire of adoring a God who is love?

“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.” (1 John 4:7-12).

God’s love has many faces. It is his mercy, which is his willingness to suspend judgment while there is hope for correction or salvation in our lives. It is his benevolence, which is his pattern of bringing blessings into our lives. And then, of course, there is grace. Grace is giving. For lack of a better word, it is God’s giving-ness. He gives and gives and gives. No one will ever change that, because love is who God is. And, because of love, God does not spoil us. He gives what we really need, which is not always what we think we need.

[Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Click for more.]

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12 thoughts on “God’s Attributes: He Is Love”

  1. This has been such an inspiration for me. I’ve been struggling with the concept that God can still love me even though I had become very backslidden. This just gave me the assurance that God doesn’t absolutely hate me and will never love me again.

  2. I’m even more secure,” Aleta thought ” because God has wrapped His arms around me. He is holding me as a shepherd holds a lamb. I am secure in His love”

  3. This was a very on-time message. I’m leading a conference all about love in Feb and this blessed me in my preparation for teaching & sharing.

  4. I love that fact that God loved us so much that he gave his only son.I have to apply love into everything I do even when I don’t fill like it,as we fall short everyday so I’m a work in progress and if I pray for what God see’s as my need’s he will show me how to apply this daily into my life

  5. Eversince I have been 20, now 49 have been saying “Love is the Only Answer” and through my sister in Christ, Linder, I discovered through being saved, that God =Love and to live joyfully in His Word.

  6. The Holy One gave us everlasting love and shows us how GOD is the father and has a place for us if we believe in him the son of man and of GOD. Father we pray knowing we fall short of our expectations to the father thanking him for the son who came here to be among us and show us the light, the truth, and the way. amen

  7. What a beautiful wonderful way that the article reminded me how much God loves me. If we love one another God is in us, ya, ya, ya, ya, I want to jump for joy with this good news. A great read!

  8. God’s love is so complete that He even loves those who claim to hate him or don’t even believe in him. He weeps at their choices and wants desperately for them to turn to Him to supply all their needs. He continues to take His precious time knocking on the doors of their hearts, wanting them to listen to that still small voice that is trying to draw them away from the world and into His presence. Oh how wonderful for us that know the Truth to know that LOVE. How utterly all-encompassing it is. Thank you Lord for that love. Teach us to love them as you do.

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