Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8, ESV)
The Apostle John, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, asserts plainly that “God is love.” Earlier in our study of 1 John, we noted that “God is Light” (1:15). These “God is. . .” statements are extremely important to consider for the Christian, especially as we think about the topic of assurance of salvation. Remember, 1 John contains both subjective proofs and objective realities that fortify our confidence. Before expounding on the proofs of salvation, we are taking a look at the unchanging, objective grounds of our assurance.
Meditating on God’s attributes is a major way to strengthen your assurance of salvation. God is love. This does not mean that love as we know it (the emotion, the affection, the action) is God, as if God is merely a force. Nor does this mean that God is only love. Carefully read the words of Robert Letham as he expounds on the cosmic nature of God’s love:
“The persons of the Trinity live in an indivisible union of love, seeking the glory of the other. When God seeks His glory, He is not pursuing self-interest like a celestial bully. It is not that He is more powerful than we and so His pursuit of His own glory wins out, come what may. His glory is the divine Trinitarian glory of self-giving love.
“According to John, this intra-Trinitarian love is the basis for our love for God and other people. Since God Himself is love (1 John 4:16), and since we have fellowship and communion with Him, love is the acid test of our discipleship. If we love others, we belong to Jesus Christ. If we lack love, we are not His at all. The reason for this is that God is a triune communion of persons. Love is intrinsic to who He is. Attributes like grace, mercy, justice, and even holiness are all relative to creatures. His holiness is His separation from His creation. It is relative to the creature. In turn, His wrath is relative to sinners, as the expression of His holiness in response to human sin. Love, however, belongs to who He is in Himself in the undivided communion of the three persons. That is why He is called love in such absolute terms.
“The Father loves the Son. The Son loves the Father. The Father loves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves the Father. The Son loves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves the Son. This reciprocal love of the three persons exists in the unbreakable union of the undivided Trinity. Insofar as we are enabled to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), “from one degree of glory to another” by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18), we are brought, in a creaturely way, into this communion of the love of God.”