The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.1 John 4:8(NASB)
What a beautiful truth it is... to know that God is love and that the love that we are called to manifest in our lives, has its source in the divine love of God. How amazing to realise the outpouring of His unique love flows through us to others because we have become his children.
However, to reverse the sentence from 'God is Love' to say that 'Love is God' as some have chosen to do, is emphatically wrong. It is unbiblical, totally untrue, and denies the plain truth of God's Word which clearly states that GOD IS LOVE but never that love is God! Love may be one aspect of God's character and attributes - but to say that love is synchronous with God is false. It is an unbiblical interpretation and should be vehemently opposed.
This chapter in John's first epistle, is a beautiful exposition of love similar to the famous 'love' chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. The love of God cannot be humanly produced and those that exhibit this uniquely divine love are a living testimony that they have been born-again - for the one that does not love as God loves, does not know God - for God is love.
Human affection, sexual love, emotional love, and cultural love which emanates from the natural realm, must never be confused with divinely imputed love which has its singular source in God and is exclusively given from God to those that are His children.
Love must be defined by its context, and when we are talking of divine love - it is a love that cannot be produced by man, nor whipped up by human emotions. God's love flows to us exclusively from Him - and then it flows through us - to others.
Love is a product of the Holy Spirit in the life of a man or woman that is walking in spirit and truth. It is a spiritual fruit that is expressed in the life of a spiritual Christian. It has its roots in Christ and is only expressed in a regenerate life which is in fellowship with the Father.
The absence of divine love is an established, biblical fact in the life of an unregenerate man or the unsaved woman... although they may be well able to exhibit human affection through parental love, sexual love, inter-relational love or cultural love - it can never correspond with divine love which is a spiritual fruit from the Spirit of God that is manifested in a child of God.
Love is not the outworking of our human emotions, although emotion may accompany biblical love. The Bible reminds us that God is manifested through a concrete act - the gift of Christ as our sin-substitute: "God so loved the world that He gave His unique and incomparable Son, so that whosoever believes on Him would not perish but have everlasting life." What amazing love!! How can it be, that Christ my God would die for me?
Since God loved us in this way, His children are morally obligated to love one another - as Christ loved. Just as God manifested His love through His actions, we too are to demonstrate the love that we have received from above by the things that we do for others and the way that we act towards them.
Godly love should be a reciprocal love that passes between believers, where each considers the need of the others before their own. Divine love demands that we do what is best for other people in the light of eternity, no matter what may be the cost to us - for divine love is an action that flows from an attitude that seeks to consider what is best for another - to the honour of God - as prompted by the Spirit of God.
God is the source of all love, and herein is love: "Not that we loved Him but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." And we who have become part of His family by faith, are obligated to love as Christ loved us and to give our lives in sacrificial service for the benefit of others and to the glory of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved the world so much that You gave Your unique and incomparable Son as the substitute for my sin and for the sin of the world. I pray that I may walk in spirit and truth and show forth Your love in my life for the benefit of others. I pray that I may decrease and that You may increase in every area of my life, until I become a transparent conduit through whom Your divine love flows to others, to Your praise and glory. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.