There is no greater love than God’s love! As we move through Advent season headed to the celebration of the coming of Jesus into the world, let us not forget that this season is about God’s love for us. Perhaps, no one has expressed this better than John the Apostle and devoted follower of Christ.

John indicates four characteristics of God’s love in the following verses. First, God’s love is personal. 1 John 4:7-8: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” The overriding concept of these two verses is that the love of God is personal. God’s love causes us to know Him, and Him to know us. One of the most powerful messages that Christians can take to people today is that God loves them. Every individual person is important to God, and He loves each one. We must realize that in God’s view, all people matter. You matter. I matter. Jesus came to save us all! He offers salvation to all who will trust and obey Him, those who will follow Him. In John 14: 23-24, Jesus says, If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

Second, God’s love is proven. In 1 John 4:9-10, we find these words: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into this world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” God’s love for us was “made manifest” or proven to us, through the life and death of his son Jesus Christ. Love is not about how we feel, but what we do. It’s not about what you tell me, it’s about what you do! Love requires actions; it is demonstrated through behavior, and the love of God is no exception. Remember, Jesus said in John, 15:12-13, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” What a proven friend we have in Jesus when we love as he has commanded us.

Third, God’s love is perfecting. 1 John 12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” In other translations, the word perfect is used for complete. Nevertheless, the ultimate focus in this text is God’s love and not the world’s love. The world without Jesus is very confused, hopeless and without perfect/complete love. Jesus is the complete expression of God in human form, and he has revealed God to us. When we love one another, the invisible God reveals himself to others through us, and his love is made complete. This should be every Christian’s goal.

Fourth, God’s love is preserving. Perhaps 1 John 4:14 says, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” God sent Jesus into the world to die on the cross to offer the world salvation. God’s love for us is one that wants to preserve us, to save us and to bring us home. God wants every person on earth to be saved. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God’s greatest gift to all of us is his love through Jesus Christ who saves and preserves!

Furman Miller is pastor of Weston Chapel A.M.E. Church in Greenwood and a graduate of Erskine Theological Seminary with a Master’s of Divinity degree. He can be reached at 864-344-3517.