God’s Love Is Different
As fallen human beings, we tend to think that God’s love is just like our love. Certainly, there’s going to be overlap—even as fallen human beings, by God’s common’s grace. Love is having an affection for the beloved. It can involve the emotion, the affection, and the desire for another’s good. You don’t have to be a Christian (or to even have heard of God) to feel fiery affection for another human being or to desire their good.
Where God’s love is fundamentally different than a fallen human being’s love is that it is holy. That is to say it is utterly set on himself and his own glory. Isaiah 6 says, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory.”
In other words, the Father beholds the Son and he loves the Son because he wants the Son’s glory in all things. His love for the Son is premised on the Son’s perfection, beauty, and righteousness. He says, “This is my beloved Son.”
Where God’s love is fundamentally different than a fallen human being’s love is that it is holy.
The Son, meanwhile, looks at the Father and says, “I will speak nothing except what you tell me to say. I will do nothing except what you tell me to do. I don’t live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from you, oh Father. You deserve all praise and glory, and when I ascend, I’m going to give all glory to you and put all the nations under your feet.”
Committed to God’s Glory
So, what’s the difference between God’s love and the world’s love? It’s this inter-trinitarian commitment to their own glory, and that is, in a sense, the holiness of God. There are different ways we can define holiness, but the one crucial element is the desire and consecration to the glory of God within the triune godhead.
Fallen sinners do not do that. We need new hearts as we hear the gospel, to repent of our sin, and say: “My love has all been idolatry. My love has been all about me. It’s been set on myself. I’m called to love you. One thing I ask of the Lord, that which I seek, to be in the temple all the days of my life, and to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.”
As our fallen, sinner love is redeemed, it becomes more like God’s love. It’s set upon God so that we even love our neighbor for God’s sake. I love my children for God’s sake. I love my wife, my non-Christian friend for God’s sake. I even love ice cream for God’s sake. I enjoy his glory in creation, in that ice cream. And it’s for his sake, not for gluttony’s sake, and my own satisfaction and gratification alone.
So, God’s love is like an expanding universe. It just gets bigger and bigger, because I see God’s glory more and more, and it envelopes everything and becomes bigger and bigger. Whereas fallen human love is like a black hole. Everything curves in on me. I love her for my sake, I love him for my sake, that ice cream for my sake, and it’s all for me. It’s this black hole that collapses in on itself.
Whereas, God’s love for his sake, loving him for his sake, and her for his sake, them for his sake—the universe is getting bigger and bigger as we remain holy and consecrated on the Lord and his glory.
- Christian: Are You Imbibing Our Culture’s View of Love? (Jonathan Leeman)
- 10 Things You Should Know about Church Discipline (Jonathan Leeman)
- The Self-Forgetfulness of Real Love (Jonathan Leeman)