How Do We Distinguish Between God's Love and Worldly Love?

How do we clarify to others what God’s love really is when the world’s view of love is often opposite from the Christian view?


0:05 Probably the most famous verse in the

0:07 Bible talks about the love of God. "For

0:09 God so loved the world that He gave His

0:11 only begotten Son that whoever would

0:14 believe in Him would not perish but have

0:17 everlasting life." And so a huge part of

0:20 our message is the love of God. The

0:22 difficulty is, how do we talk about the

0:23 love of God when the world has a

0:27 different understanding of the notion of

0:29 love and, a lot of times, imports that

0:32 understanding into the notion of the

0:34 love of God? And this is where we just

0:36 have to be more aggressive in how we

0:38 characterize it. And I think of the love

0:40 of God as patient, as sacrificial, but

0:46 also as demanding. And when I say patient,

0:49 what we think of, love is patient,

0:50 that's the first part of the

0:53 description of love in 1 Corinthians

0:55 13. God is long-suffering. He is

0:59 patient with us. But keep in mind that a

1:01 love that is patient means that it's

1:03 putting up with someone who's doing

1:06 things they ought not to do and

1:08 patiently waiting for something. And

1:12 unfortunately, the way the world

1:14 characterizes love is that love is not

1:18 patient in that sense because we are we

1:22 are not waiting for something to change.

1:24 It's just a matter of accepting what

1:26 everybody does. And that's the

1:27 characterization that we have to clarify.

1:30 Yes, God is love, and God's

1:33 love is patient, but it's patiently waiting.

1:36 And what is it waiting for? And this is

1:38 the second point. These, by the way, are

1:39 characteristic of this famous verse.

1:41 God's love is sacrificial. It gives. What

1:45 does it give? It gives something on

1:49 behalf of us that we desperately need in

1:52 light of our rebellion against Him. So He

1:55 gives His son so that we might be

1:58 forgiven, have eternal life. And this

2:01 is the third thing that we need to

2:03 clarify, that God's love is also

2:04 demanding. God's love isn't this,

2:07 "Well, boys will be boys," kind of attitude

2:10 and just goes along with everything that

2:13 we want to do.

2:13 Instead, God's love requires that we

2:18 be good.

2:20 Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.

2:21 It's because we are unrighteous that

2:25 God's love patiently indures until we

2:28 respond, if we do, to the sacrificial gift

2:32 that He gives us so that now we can lead

2:36 a different kind of life. So we talk

2:39 about love in the world's context, if we

2:42 just simply say, "God is love," and we don't

2:44 qualify it, we're gonna be in trouble.

2:46 Because they're going to insert their

2:48 own definitions in it. We have to

2:50 clarify that God's love is patient. His

2:53 loving-kindness indures forever. But He's

2:56 patient because there's something He

2:58 needs to be patient regarding, and that

2:59 is a rebellion. And so He has sacrificed

3:03 out of love something of Himself so that

3:07 we can be forgiven of the guilt of that

3:10 rebellion. And it's because God's love

3:13 does not rejoice in unrighteousness. It's

3:16 demanding. And so because it's demanding,

3:19 when we become followers of Christ, the

3:23 love of God compels us to live more

3:27 morally righteous and virtuous lives.

3:31 They all go together.

3:34 Is this like the world's love? It's

3:36 nothing like the world's love, which is

3:39 why we need to clarify exactly what we

3:41 mean when we say, "God is love." It's patient.

3:46 It's sacrificial. It's also demanding.

3:49 That's the love of God.

video |
Greg Koukl