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Divine Love (Bible Study)

Posted Feb 21, 2023 in Bible Studies
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From this Youtube presentation on Divine Love

1 John 4:8 God is love

Psalm 18:30 God is perfect

Malachi 3:6 God is unchangeable

So God's love, whatever that is, is perfect and unchangeable.

1 John 4:8 God "IS" love

This passage does not say that God has love, but that God is love. That means the core essence of God's nature is love.

If God has love, then it can be just one thing he has of many, and he can choose not to have it. But if God is love, that is His essence, that is His being – it can’t be changed, because God doesn’t change. If God stopped being love, He would stop being who He is; He would stop being God.

God does not have love as a possession, it's not an attribute that He uses that is separate from Himself. I have money; I can choose to use it or not.

Because God is love everything He does, all He has, is an spring of that love. All of God's character, methods and principles are expressions of the love that God is. “A good tree bears good fruit,” Jesus says. God is love, so he bears the fruits of love.

So to understand what kind of fruit God should bear – meaning how His government should function – we need to understand what love is as God defines it.

Question: What is love?

There are different types of love. In this study we will focus on 2 different types of love

  1. Divine love
  2. Human love

Question - What is Divine love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, hinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Divine love is agape, and agape is:

  • Long-suffering
  • Kind
  • Does not envy
  • Does not exalt itself
  • Is not puffed up
  • Is not unseemly
  • Does not seek its own
  • Not easily provoked
  • Thinks no evil
  • Rejoices not in iniquity
  • But rejoices in the truth
  • Beareth all things
  • Believes all things
  • Hopes all things
  • Endures all things

Let's look at these points one by one:

Love is:
LONG-SUFFERING, noun. Long endurance; patience of offense.

  • Divine love is Long-suffering, showing patience in spite of trouble caused by others

Love is:
KIND, adjective. Disposed to do good to others, and to make them happy by granting their requests, supplying their wants or assisting them in distress; having tenderness or goodness of nature; benevolent; benignant.

  • Divine love is kind, considering others more important than it considers self (See Phil 2:3)

Love does not:
ENVY, verb. To feel uneasiness, mortification or discontent, at the sight of superior excellence, reputation or happiness enjoyed by another; to repine at another's prosperity; to fret or grieve one's self at the real or supposed superiority of another, and to hate him on that account.
ENVY, noun. Pain, uneasiness, mortification or discontent excited by the sight of another's superiority or success, accompanied with some degree of hatred or malignity, and often or usually with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure in seeing him depressed. Envy springs from pride, ambition or love, mortified that another has obtained what one has a strong desire to possess.

  • Divine love does not envy because it does not have hatred or disgust for us because of our actions
  • Divine love does not envy because it doesn't depreciate us or seek to depress us
  • Divine love does look upon us with jealous desire (to save us from Satan)
  • Divine love does not try to compete with us

Love does not exalt itself:
EXALT, verb.

1. To raise high; to elevate.
2. To elevate in power, wealth, rank or dignity; as, to exalt one to a throne, to the chief magistracy, to a bishopric.
3. To elevate with joy or confidence; as, to be exalted with success or victory.
4. To raise with pride; to make undue pretensions to power, rank or estimation; to elevate

  • Divine love does not exalt itself by using power, wealth or rank to elevate itself to success above us
  • Jesus showed us what the Father was like by washing peoples’ feet

Love is not puffed up”
PUFFED, participle passive. Driven out suddenly, as air or breath; blown up; swelled with air; inflated with vanity or pride; praised

  • Divine love is not inflated with vain thoughts about itself

Love does not behave itself unseemly:
UNSEEMLY, adjective. Not fit or becoming; uncomely; unbecoming; indecent.

  • Divine love is not indecent nor does it act inappropriately, saying one thing then doing another

Love SEEKS NOT ITS OWN

  • Divine love does not demand its own way for it is not self-seeking or full of self-interest and self-ambition. Love does not seek its own interest. Love is unselfish and it does not grasp for oneself, one’s own pleasure, profit, or honor to the detriment of others. It is self-forgetful and joys in serving.
  • Divine love considers others more important than it considers self

Love is not easily provoked:
PROVOKED, participle passive. Excited; roused; incited; made angry; incensed.

  • Divine love is not "provoked", incensed to anger by our actions
  • Divine love doesn't take our sinful actions as a personal attack or offense

THINKS NO EVIL:
EVIL, adjective

1. Having bad qualities of a natural kind; mischievous; having qualities which tend to injury, or to produce mischief.
2. Having bad qualities of a moral kind; wicked; corrupt; perverse; wrong; as evil thoughts; evil deeds; evil speaking; an evil generation.
3. Unfortunate; unhappy; producing sorrow, distress, injury or calamity; as evil tidings; evil arrows; evil days

  • Divine love does not think evil, wickedness or corruption towards us.

Note: some Bible translations, translate this passage as not keeping a record of sin

1 Corinthians 13:5

New Living Translation
Love is not rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged

Berean Standard Bible
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs

NASB 1977
Love does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It isn't rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs…

REJOICES NOT IN INIQUITY
INIQUITY, noun.

1. Injustice; unrighteousness; a deviation from morally correct behavior and thinking
2. A particular deviation from morally correct behavior and thought; a sin or crime; wickedness; any act of injustice.
3. Original want/lack of holiness or depravity.

  • Divine love does not rejoice in crookedness, hypocrisy, corruption, favoritism, injustice, violence, condemnation, moral evil, taking bribes, and works of self-righteousness.
  • Iniquity is a deviation from how existence is designed to operate.

Love REJOICES IN TRUTH
TRUTH, noun.

1. Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be.
2. True state of facts or things.
3.  Veracity; purity from falsehood; practice of speaking truth; habitual disposition to speak truth;
4. Fidelity; constancy; honesty; virtue.

  • Divine love rejoices in the true state of reality in how existence is designed to operate.

Love BEARETH ALL THINGS
BEAR, verb.

1. To support; to sustain; as, to bear a weight or burden.
2. To carry; to convey; to support and remove from place to place; as, 'they bear him upon the shoulder;' 'the eagle beareth them on her wings.'
3. To keep afloat; as, the water bears a ship.

  • Divine love never gives up even under the hardest circumstances.
  • Divine love is always supportive, sustaining and carries the heavy burden.

Love BELIEVETH ALL THINGS
BELIEVE, verb.  To have a firm persuasion of any thing. In some cases, to have full persuasion, approaching to certainty in others when doubt is implied.

  • Divine love is firm and fully persuaded to believe in us, even when we don't believe in ourselves.

Love HOPES ALL THINGS
HOPE, noun. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good;

  • Divine love has the attitude of hope as it refuses to give up on us.
  • Divine love has confidence in us with the highest degree of expectations of our good.

Love ENDURES ALL THINGS
ENDURE, verb.

1. To last; to continue in the same state without perishing; to remain; to abide.
2. To bear; to brook; to suffer without resistance, or without yielding
3, to support without breaking or yielding to force or pressure.
4, To bear with patience; to bear without opposition or sinking under the pressure.
5, To undergo; to sustain.

  • Divine love never quits, it never surrenders.
  • Divine love has the same mindset of love regardless of the pressure or force it encounters.
  • Divine love endures through the hardest conditions.
  • Divine love is completely under control so that it does not change its principles.

God’s Divine love is called Agape

  • It's perfect
  • It's unchangeable
  • It's unconditional
  • It's the core of His essence
  • It drives His character, methods and principles
  • Is based on principle and not feeling

God's love is:

  • Absolute patience
  • Makes me of supreme value
  • Isn't disgusted with me
  • Is not exalted over me to embarrass me
  • Is not inflated with ego
  • Doesn't act inappropriately
  • Doesn't take my sin as a personal offense against Him
  • Considers me more important than it considers Himself
  • Perfect, unchangeable self-control
  • Thinks no evil towards me
  • Does not rejoice in iniquity
  • Does rejoice in our decision to walk in spirit and in truth
  • Never gives up on us
  • Always hoping in us
  • Always believing in us
  • Always carrying the heavy burden

God’s love often gets confused with human love. And since humans are sinners by birth, no human is capable of projecting divine love on their own.

Human love

Human love is based on the world's standards.

1 John 2:15 -16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Human love is based on

  • Attitude
  • Position
  • Events
  • Opinion
  • Situations
  • Outward beauty
  • Possession

Human love is based on worldly standards placed on you by what you do and not who you are:

  • I love you because you love me
  • I love you because of what you do for me
  • I love you because everyone else loves you
  • I love you because you have some quality I admire or value

Human love is

  • Superficial
  • Conditional
  • Selfish
  • Unstable
  • Limited
  • Unforgiving
  • Unsettled easily

Human love dries up:

  • I don't love you anymore (the love is gone)
  • I don't love you because you don't love me
  • I don't love you because you don't give me what I want
  • I don't love you because no one else loves you

Human love is based on feelings which are created by circumstances. Human love needs conditions to love, and when those conditions aren't met, there is no more love.

  • Human love flatters, it competes, it forces.
  • Human love uses power and fear to control others
  • Human love collapses in the face of stress and trouble
  • Human love is limited and not for just anyone

Human love is a corrupted form of God's agape love. Sometimes when we are receptive to God’s spirit, we channel His agape love. But cut of from God, it becomes Satanic love, which in its most hardened form is the opposite of God’s love: totally selfish and dominating.

Fallen Human love is Satan's counterfeit love, which is actually iniquity.

When you compare human love with divine love, you see they are two different things.

  • Divine love "agape" is a life-giving principle
  • Human love is a life-taking principle

God’s love is for everyone:

John 3:16 for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son…

  • The “world” that God loves is all of mankind, without limits or restrictions

You can always read John 3:16 through divine agape love

John 3:16 for God considered the world more important than He considered Himself, that He gave us that which He loved most: His only begotten son.

Romans 5:8 God demonstrated his love for us that while we were yet sinners, Christ gave His life for us

The Bible says to call no man unclean, or not loveable to God

Acts 10:28. God hath shown me in vision to call no man unclean/unlovable

The life of Jesus reveals how God truly treats sinners

John 14:9. If you have seen me, you have seen the Father

Christ's entire life on this earth was a revelation of God's love in character, methods, principle

  • When Jesus was people's feet, He revealed that the Father is a foot washer
  • When Jesus ate with sinners, He revealed that the Father would eat with sinners
  • When Jesus healed, restored and uplifted, it's because the Father heals, restores and uplifts.
  • When Jesus forgave those who spit on Him and killed Him, that's because that's what the Father would have done too.
  • The life of Jesus is the ultimate revelation of the agape love of God.
  • Notice Jesus never killed, never punished, never condemned, never judged – that's because the Father never kills, never punished, never condemns, never judges.
  • Jesus would allow men to see what would happen to us if we didn’t listen to Him – that would be our punishment, which He gently oversees and bears the brunt of so we would not be overwhelmed by our bad decisions. (Galatians 6:7-9)

1 John 4:18 – Perfect agape love casts out/removes the idea of fear, because fear has torment [direct physical punishment from God, that He could at any time harm us. We believe this because we think we are fine doing our own thing and this fear of harm troubles us, when in reality God is protecting and taking care of us at all times].

  • Love removes this fear and torment because we know what God is like; He is like all the characteristics of agape in 1 Cor 13. To not know what love is as God defines it leaves us feeling insecure about how He will act towards us.

Agape carries the punishment that Satan created for sinners upon itself.

We think people should die for doing wrong, so to satisfy that thinking, Jesus died – then we could believe we were forgiven and forgive each other.

Romans 5:6 - For when we were yet without strength {being unable to love and to forgive}, in due time Christ died for the ungodly… For if, when we were enemies (we were enemies with God because of our wrong understanding of love), we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Jesus died for us, showed us we were forgiven, and then from His life we see how God wants us to live – a new life of divine love, not human love. We have a new mind.

Revelation 12:11 – they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony.

God's children overcome Satan by the life of Jesus and the truth about God they have experienced themselves.

When Jesus gave up His life on the cross, that was not a sacrifice to an angry God. It's a revelation of what Divine love is willing to go through for our salvation.

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

  • We were the children of God before sin, we are the children of God after sin. But sin causes to reject/not believe we our His children, so Jesus had to break through that unbelief.

1 John 2 9-11 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

It is this hatred that we have for our brother that causes Jesus to need to die. When we see how much Jesus loves us, without any hate, then we will also love our brother without hate.

  • Light is love
  • Hatred is darkness

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

  • Jesus reveals that in the Father is no darkness at all.
  • Jesus reveals that in the Father is no hatred at all.

If we believe the testimony that Jesus gave us about the Father as being pure light/love and that in him is no darkness, no evil, no iniquity, then we will have a revelation about the truth of God's character being pure divine agape love.

If we believe this, we will believe God will save us from the lies of Satan.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

  • Jesus is like a magnet

A magnet has both positive and negative aspects to it.

If we view Jesus through the lies of Satan, we will be drawn to Jesus in a negative way, with ideas of fear and torment and reward and punishment.
If we view Jesus through agape love, we will be drawn to Him in a positive way, with ideas of love, safety, compassion, hope.
Divine love attracts us to Jesus in a positive way, that compels us to obey out of love.
The lies of Satan attract us to God in a negative way, that compels us to obey God out of fear.

  • Looking at agape love you see God as He truly is, the Father of all.
  • Covering us, protecting us…
  • In the most difficult times God has not left us nor forsaken us.
  • We can trust Divine love.
  • We can believe Divine love.
  • We can hope in Divine love.

Because it believes, hopes, and trusts us, with a perfect unchangeable love.

- Bradley Mock