“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name.”Ezekiel 36:22
God is love. What a truly astounding statement. In three short words John has snatched us up out of our seats and lifted us high, even to the very heart of God. Yet these three words make up one of the most misunderstood phrases in all of Scripture.
First, John does not say that God is only love. Scripture also tells us that He is gracious and merciful (Deuteronomy 4:31) as well as a righteous judge (Psalm 7:11). Neither is God primarily or mostly love. In fact, if Scripture highlights one particular attribute of God, it is His holiness. “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!” (Revelation 4:8; cf. Isaiah 6:3).
Second, just because God is love does not mean God must love us. We greatly misunderstand the doctrine of the love of God if we think in this way. That would mean love controls God, which is just another way of saying Love is god. This makes God’s love cheap. He owes us nothing! It is we who owe Him! But the wonder of it all is that God does love us, and He has shown us great love in His Son, Jesus.
God is not only love, nor is He mostly love. The God who is love is so much more than love itself.