Love must be important to God, for it’s mentioned almost 700 times in the Bible. Love is more than we may understand. Here are three important facts about love, according to the Bible.
It Is Unconditional
Human love is nothing like God’s love, which is unconditional. Human love can be based upon what another receives but not out of what they give. Isn’t this why we love our pets so much? They don’t care how bad of a day we had; they still love us regardless. Jesus showed that love is forgiving, too, praying to the Father while dying on the cross to “forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Here was Jesus praying for those who were killing Him. That’s love unconditionally, or not conditioned on human response. God didn’t love us because we loved Him first; rather, “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). God made the first move. Jesus died for sinners (John 3:16). Love is a verb; it’s what you do, not just what you say. Love is more than a feeling; it is a “doing.”
It Is Sacrificial
Jesus once gave a great definition of love when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), and that’s exactly what He did on the cross. Jesus died for us while we were still wicked sinners and while we were still His enemies (Rom 5:8, 10). Would any of us do that? It wasn’t “that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
It Is Patient and Kind
The word “is” basically is an equal sign, much like 2 + 2 = 4. So Paul gives us a great definition of love in what is often called “the love chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13, and in verse 4, he writes that “love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” What this says is (equal to) love being patient, enduring, suffering long and is displayed in kindness toward one another. If there is real love, there is not envy of what others have. There is no boasting or bragging, and it’s not being arrogant or self-inflated or overestimating one’s own worth. Love covers a multitude of sins or overlooks the sins of others (Prov. 17:9). You can have all the faith and hope in the world, “but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). And if you’re not loving, Paul writes that you’re just making a lot of useless noise (1 Cor. 13:1).
If we are not loving our brothers and sisters, then “how does God’s love abide in” us (1 John 3:17)? The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t because anyone “who does not love his brother (or sister) whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). The fact is, “anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8), so “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).