The Knowledge of the Holy: The Love of God
[Editor’s Note: This is a 23-Day Series exploring different aspects of God’s nature and personality, using Tozer’s “The Knowledge of the Holy” as a discussion starter. You can read the introduction of the series here.]
Stop for a second and think about the attributes of God we have discussed so far: one-ness, self-existence, self-sufficiency, eternity, infiniteness, mercy, grace, etc. While all these attributes are awe inspiring, without love, they can at worst be terrifying and at best leave you tepid. Who wouldn’t be fearful of a God who is everywhere, eternal, unlimited, and all-knowing if he was a loveless being? And even if you have such a being who is merciful and full of grace, but doesn’t love you, you’re left with a cold relationship based on your loveless god’s pity. Love is the part of God’s nature that sets Him apart and makes Him desirable.
We have to be careful though. Many, as Tozer has pointed out, have taken John’s statement “God is love,” and have turned that phrase to mean “love is God.” The result has been anything that seems loving, some have turned and worshipped as God. But generic love is not God, but God is full of sincere and fervent love. While “love” has been used to describe just about anything humans do, God’s love acts as God does. Everything He does is done with love.
This love that we experience from God manifests in many ways. Love wills the good of another, so when true love from God rests on our heart, we are able to live without fear because “love casts out fear,” (1 John 4:8). When our knowledge of God’s love and His sovereignty are perfected, we are able to live fearless lives confident that His love will mean our good. God’s love also reminds us that He desires friendship. The fact that God has set His love on us means more than just He is a good person. It means He desires relationship. With you. There are staggering implications to this. Finally, love means that the person who loves takes pleasure in the person He has set his affections on. God is fully pleased with you. There is no more need to try and please. You are as loved as you are ever going to be.
Finally, Tozer reminds us that love never lies dormant. It’s always moving. It’s always extending itself to the one it loves. And this is true of God. Jesus told us “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13). And in the cross and since the cross, no one has laid down their life for us more than Jesus. He sacrificed Himself for us, He is always praying for us, and leading us in laying our lives down.
One of the things that makes the topic of love so important is that Christianity is really the only “religion” that is based upon a relationship of love with it’s God. Talk to any Muslim that you know and they don’t really have an understanding of a God who loves them. Many of the other religions have many gods or no god who very seldom enter into relationship. It’s only in Christianity that God has the heart of a Father toward His children. Human beings were made with a need for love. Our need for love was ultimately designed to be fulfilled by God. We remain empty until we receive it.
And this is why it is so critical that we understand God as a God of love. Christianity lived out of a place of encountering God’s love is electric. It changes a person. But Christianity lived outside of experiencing God’s love is like a clanging symbol. It means nothing to the world and frankly it’s irritating. It’s a code of ethics with no cause that changes no one. But when we are touched in our hearts with the warmth of God’s love, it melts our cold hearts and makes us alive on the inside.
When we experience this love, it changes us. Fire begets fire on this walk that we are on and we begin to live out the same principles of love that God has shown us. We will the go want good things for others, we extend friendship to them, we give of ourselves. The worlds finally gets to see people alive from the inside, living out the message of the cross. The result will be stunning. It’s what the world is waiting for.
That’s my takeaway today. What’s yours? Leave a comment so we can all grow together!
Day 20: The Love of God
Day 21: The Holiness of God
Day 22: The Sovereignty of God
Day 23: The Open Secret