"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." 1 John 4:8
Have you ever thought about what this verse is really saying? Does God love everybody regardless of their actions or thoughts? Is God's love some kind of "catch all" for all the misfits, incorrigibles, law breakers and child abusers? Does this mean that regardless of the life of any person, God will love him in the end? Bible teachers encourage us to always get the context of any passage before interpreting it, so let's look at the context.
The chapter begins with a warning about "false prophets" and the "spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" indicating some could be on the wrong side of God. Note the verses that follow:
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1John 4:9-10
God's love is manifested at Calvary, not feeding the 5000, healing the sick or giving sight to the blind. That brings to mind the most known verse in scripture:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
This takes place at Calvary not in a crib. The two verses that follow are very informative:
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:17-18
God's motive was love and His purpose was to keep us out of hell. Man's problem is not what he does, but what he is. He "is condemned already." He tells us specifically why mankind is condemned…"because he hath not believed…" Man sins because he is a sinner. Man's very nature is selfish, deceitful and covetous. Man may change his lifestyle for various reasons but only by trusting Jesus Christ as his Saviour is the only way he can get to heaven. High morals and a Samaritan attitude is commendable, but it will not get anyone into heaven.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
Observe what the God of love has to say about those who reject His Son:
"As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:40-42
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Matthew 23:33
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41
"The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." Revelation 14:11
" And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:15
These are not contradictions of our God of love. God is also righteous and holy. The only place where love and righteousness can meet together is at the cross. Christ suffered what you and I should have suffered. He died in our place.
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
Love is always fervent, aggressive and unashamed. God's love is centered in HIs Son and His sacrifice on the cross. Note the last verse of John 3:
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36
Observe that God's wrath is in present tense, not future.
Our present culture ridicules the cross of Christ, but the Father still holds it in the highest regard. For your sake, don't cross Him.
Keep Looking Up!