Pilgrim’s Keyboard

February 21, 2015

Attributes of God – The Love of God

Filed under: Providence BC — pilgrimskeyboard @ 9:04 pm

The Love of God


NT –– 1 John 4:8, 16 | He who does not love [agapo] does not know god, for God is love

[agape]. … God is love [agape] …


            1 John 4:19 | We love [agapo] {Him[1]} because He first loved [agapo] us.


  • Gk. agapao/agape – verb/noun – means: Agape and agapo are used [of God] in the NT … expresses the deep and constant “love’ and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects … [= unconditional, unearned divine love]. These Greek words are rarely used in extrabiblical Greek[2]  


OT –– Jeremiah 31:3 | The LORD appeared of old to me, saying: Yes, I have loved [ahab]

You with an everlasting love [ahavah]; therefore with lovingkindness [chesed] I

have drawn you.


  • He. chesed – means: unselfish love, loyal, and benevolent intention and commitment toward another. This term refers to covenant love. Jehovah is the God who remembers and keeps His covenants in spite of the treachery of people.[3]
  • He. ahab/ahabah (ahavah) – verb/noun – means: basically equivalent to the English “to love” in the sense of having a strong emotional attachment to and desire either to posses or be in the presence of the object.[4]





Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology[5]

Love  –  Is a communicable[6] attribute of the essential being of God.


Wayne Grudem[7]

God’s love means that God eternally gives of himself to others. This definition understands love as self-giving for the benefit of others. This attribute shows that it is part of his nature to give of himself in order to bring about blessing or good for others.


C. D. Cole[8]

Love – From [His] point of view love is the greatest thing in God. Without love His justice would cut us off; His holiness would put us out of His sight; and His power would destroy us. Love is the one hope of sinners, and our greatest concern should be to discover God love to us.


The love of God may be defined as that eternal principle of His nature by which He is moved to bestow eternal and spiritual blessings. Love is the moving cause of all His acts of mercy and grace. The love of God is the guarantee that all things work together for the ultimate good of His people; it is the basis of all His redeeming activities.

 A. W. Pink[9]

God is love – it is not simply that God “loves,” but that He is Love itself. Love is not merely one of His attributes, but His very nature.

Milburn Cockrell[10]

The God of the Bible is the unfailing source of all love. Love is the very essence of the nature of God: yea, God is love itself. It is not that God attained love, not that He by any effort maintains love; it is said in our text [1 John 4:8 | “God is love”] that the structure of His being is love. There is no part of His nature which lacks this element. Without this attribute, God would not be what He is.


Characteristics of God’s Love[11]


1. It is Free/Uninfluenced. By this we mean, there was nothing whatever in the objects of His love to call it into exercise, nothing in the creature to attract or prompt it, “The Lord did not set His love upon you because [???] …” (Deut. 7:7-8). Cf. Romans 5:8.


2. It is Eternal/Immutable). This is of necessity. God Himself is eternal, and God is love; therefore, as God Himself had no beginning, His love has none. There was never a time when God did not love His people, and there will never be a time when will not love them. He loved us as much before we were saved as He does since we have been saved, “… I have loved you with an everlasting love …  (Jeremiah 31:3). Cf.  Ephesians 1:3-6..

3. It is Sovereign. This is self-evident. God Himself is Sovereign, under no obligations to noe, a law unto Himself, acting always according to His own imperial pleasure. Since God is sovereign, and since He is love, it necessarily follows that His love is sovereign. Because God is God, He does as He pleases; because God is love, He loves who He pleases. “Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated” (Romans 9:10-13). Cf. Romans 8:28-30.  


4. It is Effectual.  God loves His own and reveals Himself to them, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God! (1 John 3:1). Cf. 1 John 4:19.

5. It Demonstrated. God is love and He manifests what He is. Love is not some idle attribute in our God. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son …” (1 John 4:7-11). Cf. Romans 8:28-39.


6. Love is Holy/Just/Perfect. God’s love is based upon the principles of His holiness. There is never any conflict between the attributes of holiness and love. In the darkness of this world of sin – in all the sorrow and suffering – and even in the torment of the wicked in Hell – we can be certain that God is just in His benevolence rule over all, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25), in His wrath and His wisdom. Cf. Exodus 33:19/Romans 9:14-16; 11:33-36; Jude v. 25.

To those whom He bestows His love upon (Romans 9:10-14) His gives faith to believe that He is great in His mercy, “because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses (Ephesians 2:4-5). Cf. Psalms 103:11; James.5:20.


Closing Thot:


R. C. Sproul[12]

God is love, and love is of God, and all who love in the sense of the agape [unconditional love] of which the Scriptures speak are born of God. His love is an attribute that can be imitated, and we are called to do just that.


John 15: 9-10 | As the Father loved Me, I also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. Cf. John 13:1 | … He loved them to the end.

God is love.

It is His very nature.

[1] Not found in the NB (Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (U); however, the Majority Greek New Testament (M) and the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament (TR) does include “auton” = him in the text.

[2] Vine, 381, 382; Brand, Holman Bible Dictionary, 1054.

[3] Brand, Holman Bible Dictionary, 1054.

[4] Vine, 141.

[5] Holloman, Krekel Dictionary, 300.

[6] Communicable attributes are those which God shares with us to some degree. Example: 1 John 4:19 | We love because He first loved us.

[7] Grudem, 198-199.

[8] Cole, 118.

[9] Pink, Attributes, 77.

[10] Cockrell, 49.

[11] Cole, 118-120; Pink, Attributes, 77-81; Cockrell, 49-57.

[12] Sproul, 67.

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