See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. – 1 John 3:1 ESV
To be unique is to be without equal – unparalleled. It is something that surpasses what is common – exceptional. It is a one-of-kind something, in a category of its own. This is what God’s love is – unique. God’s love is unique because God’s nature is unique, for God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). God’s love is uniquely expressed in that we, sinners of Adam’s ruined race having accepted God’s love through the work of Jesus Christ, are now children of God. Within this love are characteristics, which make it unique. Let me share three characteristics as to “what kind of love” God’s love is.
First, God’s love is unmerited. This characteristic makes God’s love stupendous. God’s choosing to bestow his love upon us isn’t because of any assignable cause or due to us possessing special or excellent qualities. God made this clear in his choosing of the nation of Israel among the nations (Deut. 7:7-8). His selection of them wasn’t because they were great in number; rather it was a deliberate exercise of his divine will, an expression of his love.
Early in life, many children desire to please their parents as a means to earn their parents’ love or to win their approval. This can create internal tension throughout a child’s life if he or she constantly fails to gain such love or approval. God’s love doesn’t demand pressure to earn his love or approval.
Second, God’s love is unending. This aspect makes God’s love distinctively special. God’s love is tied to his being, which is eternal. He is the everlasting God because his existence is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2). Since God has no beginning and no ending, so does his love. He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
Everlasting means perpetual, without end, always, continual without change, endless. Additionally, God’s love is based on his oath in connection to the covenant he has with his people. That’s a reason his love and mercy endure forever. This provides a cushion to rest on, especially when so-called “loving” friends stop loving. We are never without love because God’s love never runs dry, never gives up or goes out.
Lastly, God’s love is unnatural. This is the surprising aspect of God’s love, making it truly amazing. God’s love is contrary to human nature.
We find it easy to love people who love us, but it goes against human nature to love our enemies or those who mean us ill will (Matt. 5:43-47). Yet Christ didn’t die for morally upright people or for people who do a lot of good, rather he died for the ungodly, for sinners, and those of us who were his enemies (Rom. 5: 7-8, 10). This act of divine love gives every human being hope and the opportunity to have a restored relationship with God.
This unmerited, unending, and unnatural love was bestowed upon us by God. We haven’t loved God in any way to deserve or earn his love. It was gifted to us. God doesn’t love us because we loved him first. In fact God loved us first (1 John 4:19).
Thus, he deserves our love as a debt we owe him. If you are searching for genuine love in your life, God’s love is what you are searching for. When you experience God’s unique love, you truly have life.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10 ESV
Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III is pastor of Citadel of Faith Church of God in Christ, 7676 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, Ind., 46226. Contact him at email@example.com or visit www.johnsonbeaven.com.