1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.…
There must of necessity be in some quarters today a denial that brotherly love rests upon love to God, because there is not a little denial of the being of God altogether. It is not merely the proposition "God is love" which is contested, but the previous and simpler proposition "God is." I do not, of course, mean that this is quite a new thing; anyhow it is as old as the fourteenth Psalm; but certain occurrences, political and social, and the attitude assumed by some of our scientific men, and the tone of much of our current literature, have tended to give a prominence and practical importance to the denial that "God is," which it had not half a century ago. But there is another tendency of our times which ought to be noted, and it is the tendency to deny that "God is love." The first part of the proposition, we are sometimes told, may be accepted if you think it worth asserting: if you like to explain the order of the physical universe by the hypothesis of what you, call God, there is no harm in it, any more than making the hypothesis of an elastic medium pervading space, or of an electric fluid, or anything else which is hypothetical: but the moment you attribute purpose, and will, and love, and the exercise of moral government to this hypothetical God, then you are told that you fly in the face of modern observation and discovery. You are told, in fact, that the God whom science has revealed is an unbending, invariable, relentless, pitiless law, as different from love as the strokes of a steam engine are from the throbbings of a mother's heart. Now I have no desire to under rate or misrepresent scientific discovery; I do not deny, moreover, that there is much that happens in the world which it is difficult to reconcile with the conception of the overruling providence of a loving Father; anyone who chooses to hold a brief for those who deny that "God is love" will have no difficulty in finding arguments. But I believe the truth that "God is love" to be too genuine to be overthrown by any one of them: I believe it to rest upon grounds deeper, more philosophical, and more scientific, than any of the denials or objections which can be opposed to it. I believe that there is something in the human heart, in the universal nature of man, to which it appeals and to which it cannot appeal in vain. In the New Testament the proposition "God is love" is not an abstract theorem to be proved by the help of axioms and postulates, but it is the condensation in three words of the life of Jesus Christ, our Lord. When I see that weary, wandering Son of man "going about doing good," when I see Him feeding the hungry, healing the sick, when I listen to Him preaching the gospel to the poor, and still more when I see Him nailed to the cross of shame, then I bow my head in humble adoration, and I say, "In very deed and truth, God is love." This demonstration of the love of God has changed the face of the world: many of its most crying evils have ceased; a bright principle of light and love, which was all but unknown in previous ages, has shined upon the earth; men have gone about doing good, so as they never did before: hospitals are common things: we have seen so great a light in Jesus Christ that no other light is able to dazzle us. In the warmth and brightness of this Sun of our souls, we know and are persuaded that directly or indirectly all love comes from Him.
(Bp. Harvey Goodwin.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.