For me personally, any study of the grand design of love divine begins in 1 John 4 … read and consider … and there is so much to consider …
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that GOD SENT HIS ONLY SON INTO THE WORLD, SO THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM.
10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that HE LOVED US AND SENT HIS SON TO BE THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides IN us and his love is perfected IN us.
13 By this we know that we abide IN him and he IN us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that THE FATHER HAS SENT HIS SON TO BE THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides IN him, and he IN God.
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides IN love abides IN God, and God abides IN him.
17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:7-19 (ESV)
There is so much meat in that passage … but I just want to hit on a few foundational points relevant to this post …
- God is love
- Love is from God
- The love of God was made manifest among us by the work of Christ Jesus
- There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear
- And we love because God first loved us
And that simply scratches the surface of the treasures found in the passage above … note the ranking of love in the following …
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)
And isn’t what Paul wrote above exactly what Jesus stated below?
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)
And then Jesus raised the bar … a bar only reachable with Jesus living IN and THRU us …
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (ESV)
(If you have a searchable computer Bible, I highly recommend a word search on the three words (not as a phrase) of love one another … rather enlightening search results)
Now consider how God’s love has been poured into our hearts …
God’s love has been poured INto our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, AT THE RIGHT TIME CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US. Romans 5:5 (ESV)
Take a moment to consider the unfathomable, unfailing and inseparable extent of the love of God IN Christ Jesus for His children … for you and for me.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is IN Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 (NASB)
And that my friends is but a small glimpse into the grand design of love divine …