The Apostle John was called by Jesus a “Son of Thunder” because of his temper. But after being with Jesus he was transformed and would later in his Gospel describe himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”.
In his epistle he would then focus on the love of His Saviour and how we should love one another in God’s powerful love:
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. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the 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.
(1 John 4:7-10).
First John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.” Never was a more important declaration made than this—God is love. This is a profound statement. God doesn’t just love; He is love. His nature (and essence) is love.Love permeates His very being and infuses all His other attributes, even His wrath and anger. Because God’s very nature is love, He must demonstrate love, just as He must demonstrate all His attributes because doing so glorifies Him.
The question is often asked: Why does God love us? This short question is among the most profound questions ever asked. And no human would ever be able to answer it sufficiently. One thing is certain, however. God does not love us because we are lovable or because we deserve His love. If anything, the opposite is true. The state of mankind since the fall is one of rebellion and disobedience.
Jeremiah describes man’s inner condition:
The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?
Our innermost being is so corrupted by sin that even we don’t realize the extent to which sin has tainted us. In our natural state, we do not seek God; we do not love God; we do not desire God.
Paul clearly presents to the Romans the state of the natural, unregenerate person:
There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.
How then is it possible for a holy, righteous, and perfect God to love such creatures? To understand this -- we must understand something of the nature and character of God.
Since it is God’s essential nature to love, He demonstrates His love by lavishing it on undeserving people who are in rebellion against Him. God’s love is not a soppy, sentimental, romantic feeling. Rather, it is ‘AGAPE’ love, the love of self-sacrifice. He demonstrates this sacrificial love by sending His Son to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin (1 John 4:10), by drawing us to Himself (John 6:44), by forgiving us of our rebellion against Him, and by sending His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, thereby enabling us to love as He loves. He did this although we did not deserve it:
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s love is personal. He knows each of us individually and loves us personally. His is a mighty love that has no beginning and no end. It is this experiencing of God’s love that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. Why does God love us? It is because of who He is: "God is love."
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
(I John 4: 9)
The greatness of God’s love is shown not only in saving us from the judgment we deserved, but also in wanting us to live through Him. Do we live through Him? This is a great way to define the Christian life -- to live through Him.
God has sent His only begotten Son: This shows the love of God, because love gives its best. There was nothing better God the Father could give to lost humanity than the gift of the Son of God Himself. As Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 9:15, Jesus was the Father’s indescribable gift.
He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins: This shows the love of God. It might have shown enough love that the Father sent the Son, and not some lower-grade angel; but He sent the Son, not on a fact-finding mission or merely a mission of compassion – He sent His Son to die for our sins.