1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:16 say unequivocally “God IS Love”. Love is not just an accidental property that God has (like how I just happen to have brown hair). Love is an essential and necessary part of who God is. If God were lack the property of love, He wouldn’t be God. Now, 1 Corinthians 13 gives a long description of what perfect love looks like. If you want to know what God is like, read 1 Corinthians 13 on what love is, remembering that God is love. Also, if you want to know what God is like, read the gospels and pay close attention to how Jesus behaves, what He says, and what He does. Jesus is God Himself (John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1, Colossians 1, John 10:30, John 8:58 c.f Exodus 3:14). So if Jesus is God, and God is love, then when you read the gospels and compare Jesus’ behavior as recorded by the gospel authors and compare it to the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, you will see that God The Son perfectly embodies the characteristics of love. And by observing that the Son perfectly embodies the characteristics of love, you will be able to know that your Heavenly Father also displays these characteristics perfectly. This is why Jesus said to Phillip “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). If you have seen Jesus, you have seen God The Father (John 14:9) because Jesus and The Father are one being (John 10:30). Jesus and the Father are both equally God (John 1:1) and as such, they have the exact same personality traits. Jesus was telling His disciples that since they lived with Him for 3 years, they knew exactly what God The Father was like. If God the Father had become incarnate instead of God The Son, He would have behaved exactly like Jesus. He would have said the same things Jesus said, He would have the same kind, gentle, loving demeanor. He would have gotten angry at the money changers swindling people in the temple (John 2), He would have scolded the Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Matthew 23), and He would have wept over the fact that Jerusalem did not repent and that He would have to judge them for their sins (Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:41-44).
Thank You Jesus for letting us get to intimately know God The Father. You have shown us the Father, and He is beautiful. He is a wonderful Being, He is the most loving, kind, gentle, holy, righteous, and just person I have ever met, and I am overwhelmingly thankful to have received the right to call Him my Father (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1) just as You call Him Your Father. I am thankful Jesus to have the privilege to call Him my Father and to call You my Brother (Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35).
Thank You Jesus for giving Your life for me on the cross, for saving me from all of the sins I committed against You (Romans 3:23, Psalm 14:2-3). Thank You God The Son for enduring the most brutal, hellish, agonizing torture thousands of years ago so that we wouldn’t have to endure it. Thank You Jesus for going to Hell so that we wouldn’t have to go to Hell. You are a holy and righteous God. As such you hate sin (Psalm 45:7, Hebrews 1:9), and I have been so sinful in my lifetime. Yet God, You so loved the world that You became incarnate so You could take the punishment for my sins on my behalf (John 1:14, John 3:16). I am forever thankful that You did that for me. In fact, Your Word tells us that You didn’t just do it for me but for all humankind (1 Timothy 2:6, Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 2:2). I pray Lord that unbelievers who come to this site will read my materials, be convinced by my arguments that Christianity is true, and commit their lives to You so that they can know the joy and peace that I feel from having a personal relationship with You.
To my readers, if you wish to know Christ like I do and to have a relationship with the One who embodies the perfect love of 1 Corinthians 13 all of the time, you must confess your sins to Jesus, asking Him to forgive you of all your past wrong doings. The Bible says “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7) and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). You have sinned in God’s sight. We all have. The Bible says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), that “The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:2-3). The bad new is that God is holy and righteous (Psalm 9:7-8, Psalm 9:16, Psalm 10, Psalm 11:16, Psalm 103:6) and because of that, He hates sin and loves righteousness (Psalm 45:7, Hebrews 1:9) and because of that, He cannot let people who have sinned into Heaven. He must send us to Hell; a place of horrible torment and anguish.
Hell is described throughout Scripture as “eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41), “unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12), “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), a place where “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44-49), and it’s a place of eternal separation from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Hell is a place where the wicked are “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10)! God has to punish evil people or else He wouldn’t be just. Only a corrupt judge would let guilty people go free, but God isn’t a corrupt judge. He’s holy! Therefore, He must punish sin. As scripture says “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a) However, as already noted above, God is love (1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16), and as such He does not want to punish anyone. He doesn’t want to send you, me, or anyone to Hell. The Bible says He’s “not willing that any should perish but for all to come to repentance” (1 Peter 3:9), that He “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). So what is God to do? If He lets you off the hook, He would be letting a guilty person go free. On the other hand, because He loves you so dearly, the last thing He wants is for You to end up in Hell. God’s love and God’s justice appear to be at conflict. God knew in advance that we were going to sin and He had a plan to redeem us from before the very creation of the universe (Ephesians 1). God became a man (John 1:14, Philippians 2:5-8) and took our punishment on the cross. In this, He SHOWED us how much He truly loved us (Romans 5:8). In fact, Jesus said in John 15:13 that giving up your life so that another might live is the greatest demonstration of love there is. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” – 1 Peter 3:18a. We don’t have to experience the punishment for sins because Christ already did that for us. It’s like how if you get pulled over for a speeding ticket, and you can’t pay your fine, but somebody else comes along and pays the fine for you. The judge doesn’t care where you got the money from as long as you have it to pay the fine. Your friend can pay the fine for you by giving you the money and absorbing the expense himself. That’s like what Jesus did by dying on the cross for us.
God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. That’s why He endured Hell on your behalf. He loves you so much that He doesn’t desire that horrible fate for you. He doesn’t want you in eternal anguish but in eternal bliss. He doesn’t want you to dwell in darkness and loneliness for eternity. He wants you to dwell in light and love for all eternity. God loves you as much as any father could love a son, and in fact if you give your life to Him, if you repent of your sins and accept Christ as your Savior, God will become your father; your Heavenly Father (John 1:12).