"God is Love" I John 4:8

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"God is Love" is the basic teaching of the Christian faith.
Everything else; doctrine, theology, tradition, ritual, must be secondary.

God's children

"My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love." I John 4:7-8. 

What God is like (substituting "God" for "love" in I Corinthians 13:4-8)

God is patient and kind; God is never jealous, he is not boastful nor conceited, he is never rude, God never seeks his own way, he does not take offense nor store up grievances and is always ready to make allowances. We know God is like this since the Bible tells us love is like this.

"Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offense or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end." I Corinthians 13:4-8

Love of enemies

"But I [Jesus] say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from someone who takes it. Treat others as you would like people to treat you... You will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked." Luke 6:27-31,35

According to Jesus Christ, " What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?", He [Jesus] said to him, "What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?". He replied, " You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus said to him "You have answered right, do this and life is yours". Luke 10:25-28

Leave vengeance to God alone

"As much as possible ... be at peace with everyone. Never try to get revenge: leave that, my dear friends to the Retribution. As scripture says: Vengeance is mine - I will pay them back, the Lord promises. And more: if your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat; if thirsty, something to drink. By this, you will be heaping red hot coals on his head. Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good." Romans 12:18-21

God's mercy and wisdom

"How rich and deep are the wisdom and the knowledge of God! We cannot reach to the root of his decisions or his ways. Who has ever known the mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his adviser? Who has given anything to him , so that his presents come only as a debt returned? Everything there is comes from him and is caused by him and exists for him." Romans 11:33-36a

Christ alone

"There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything." Colossians 3:11b

Children of God

"All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God; for what you have received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back iinto fear; you received the spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out 'Abba, Father!' The Spirit joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. Romans 8:14-16

Love and Law

"The only thing you should owe to another is love for one another, for to love the other person is to fulfill the law. All these: You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet, and all the other commandments that there are, are summed up in the single phrase: You must love your neighbor as yourself. Love can cause no harm to your neighbor, and so love is the fulfillment of the Law." Romans 13:8-10

The spirit gives life

"It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I [Jesus] have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." John 6:63

The world in labor

"...for the whole creation is waiting with eagerness for the children of God to be revealed. It was not for its own purposes that creation had frustration imposed on it, but for the purposes of him who imposed it - with the intention that the whole creation itself might be freed from its slavery to corruption and brought into the same glorious freedom as the children of God. We are well aware that the whole creation, until this time, has been groaning in labor pains. And not only that: we too, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we are groaning inside ourselves, waiting with eagerness for our bodies to be set free. Romans 8:19-23

The Spirit prays on our behalf

"And as well as this, the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put in words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God's holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God." Romans 8:26-27

Paul's Prayer

"This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every father hood, in heaven or on earth, takes its name. In the abundance of his glory may he, through his Spirit, enable you to grow firm in power with regard to your inner self, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, with all God's holy people you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; so that, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond knowledge, you may be filled with the utter fullness of God. Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21

Constant renewal

"That is why we do not waver; indeed, though this outer human nature of ours may be falling into decay, at the same time our inner nature is renewed day by day... since what we aim for is not visible but invisible. Visible things are transitory, but invisible things eternal." II Corinthians 4:16-18

Confidence in God's love

"After saying this, what can we add? If God is for us, who can be against us? Since he did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for the sake of all of us, then can we not expect that with him he will freely give us all his gifts? Who can bring any accusation against those that God has chosen? When God grants saving justice who can condemn? Are we not sure that it is Christ Jesus, who died - yes more, who was raised from the dead and is at God's right hand - and who is adding his plea for us? Can anything cut us off from the love of Christ - can hardships or distress, or persecution. or lack of food and clothing, or threats or violence; scripture says: 'For your sake we are being massacred all day long, treated as sheep to be slaughtered'? No; we come through all these things triumphantly victorious, by the power of him who loved us. For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

Knowing God directly by sharing in his Spirit

"... but it is as scripture says: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualize; all that God has prepared for those who love him, to us, though, God has given revelation through the Spirit, for the Spirit explores the depths of everything, even the depths of God. After all, is there anyone who knows the qualities of anyone except his own spirit, within him; and in the same way, nobody knows the qualities of God except the Spirit of God. Now, the Spirit we have received is not the spirit of the world but God's own Spirit , so that we may understand the lavish gifts God has given us. And these are what we speak of not in he terms learnt from human philosophy, but in terms learnt from the Spirit, fitting spiritual language to spiritual things. The natural person has no room for the gifts of God's Spirit; to him they are folly; he cannot recognize them, because their value can be assessed only in the Spirit. The spiritual person, on the other hand, can assess the value of everything, and his own value cannot be assessed by anybody else. For: who has ever known mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his adviser? But we are those who have the mind of Christ." I Corinthians 2:9-1

No limits

"[Jesus said] You must therefore set no bounds to your love, just as your heavenly Father sets none to his." Matthew 5:48

On using the name of Jesus

"John spoke up. 'Master,' he said, 'we saw someone driving out devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him'. But Jesus said, 'You must not stop him: anyone who is not against you is for you.'" Luke 9:47-48

In the end times

"Many false prophets will arise; they will deceive many, and with the increase of lawlessness, love in most people will grow cold; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:12-13

Love casts out fear

"God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. Love comes to its perfection in us when we can face the Day of Judgment fearlessly, because even in this world we have become as he is. In love there is no room for fear, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear implies punishment and whoever is afraid has not come to perfection in love. Let us love, then because he first loved us." I John 4:16-19

Love is the goal of faith

"The final goal at which this instruction aims is love, issuing from a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith. Some people have missed the way to these things and turned to empty speculation, trying to be teachers of the Law; but they understand neither the words they use nor the matters about which they make such strong assertions." I Timothy 1:5-7

Love is more important than faith

"...and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains -- if I am without love, I am nothing." I Corinthians 13:2.

"As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love , the three of them; and the greatest of them is love." I Corinthians 13:13

Love in action

"Let everything you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14

Accept yourself as God made you

"But you - who do you think you, a human being, are, to answer back to God?
Something that was made, can it say to its maker: why did you make me this shape?
A potter surely has the right over his clay to make out of the same lump either a pot for special use or one for ordinary use." Romans 9:20-21

Ask God for wisdom

"Any of you who lacks wisdom must ask God, who gives to all generously and without scolding; it will be given." James 1:5

Live the Christian life

"You see, God's grace has been revealed to save the whole human race;
it has taught us that we should give up everything contrary to true religion and all our worldly passions;
we must be self-restrained and live upright and religious lives in this present world, waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus.
He offered himself for us in order to ransom us from all our faults and to purify a people to be his very own and eager to do good.
This is what you must say, encouraging or arguing with full authority; no one should despise you." Titus 2:11-15

Jesus Christ is Lord!

All Bible quotations are taken from the New Jerusalem Bible, published by Doubleday, New York 1985.

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(c) 2006-1997 Thomas F. Swezey All rights reserved.